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Sunday, 21 December 2008

hold that blog

For the time being this blog is 'on hold'.

Monday, 15 December 2008

teen nest update

Nothing much changes then! You follow the trail of clothing to find the youth, who will probably be sleeping. He played hockey on Saturday in the pouring, freezing rain, and was chilled to the bone after 2 hours in it, and then trained for rugby on Sunday on a waterlogged field, again in the cold. Therefore I am reluctant to chase him about his nesting habits for now, but thought they might bring a bit of amusement into a cold winter's day for you. Will bring news of difficulty when we have something positive

Friday, 12 December 2008

Skipper's cheerleader team

These are all Skipper's current girls watching him work out this morning. Still too icy to ride out, so after a week of inaction we have had a bit of a trot and canter around a field area set aside for the purpose. The girls proved to be a tiny bit distracting, but not too bad. As you can see they all have something in common, and I am told that their progeny is much in demand. Not by me. They are, however, steady as rocks, and so quiet you have to see it to believe it. Skipper thinks they are all absolutely gorgeous. Having a quiet day at home today, received some serious family news so taking some time out to adjust.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008


Here's the car roof and window-screen yesterday morning. What an artist! I certainly can't compete. Yellow horse enjoying an unexpected rest due to extremely icy roads, so have emulsioned a bedroom and painted a seascape with all my spare time! As a result of the decorating have also managed to kick out a chair and shoehorn in a new double bed for the spare room. so plenty of room for visitors over Christmas. Limbering up for some real cupboard clearing during time off work over Christmas and New Year. Where does all this rubbish come from? Someone must have brought it into the house and filled all the cupboards with it - and it wasn't me. Anyway, black bags at the ready, and its all going in the next two weeks...

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

we wish you a merry christmas!

We wish you a merry Christmas! Hoping the yellow horse will take the hat off when we go out in public. Loving the cold weather, and hoping for a bit more snow, despite inconvenience on the roads and the fact that at the sight of one flake the schools all close. Still painting woodwork at work, but nearly finished, on final property of this round of decorating. Star grading lady came yesterday and re-awarded our 4 stars, which we are pleased with, though there are quite a few things about the system that we disagree with. So looking forward to a bit of time off.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

traffic control dog outfit

The traffic control dog kindly accompanied the yellow horse for 4 miles this morning, weather conditions were appalling, a freezing steady rain and terribly muddy roads. Nevertheless traffic control dog stayed cheerful, did a great job with the speeding cars (and tractors/transit vans) and kept up for the entire outing. Her high viz coat with its two repairs is absolutely covered in road splash, and the only consolation is that had she not been wearing the coat, the splash would be all over her belly, and now all over the kitchen floor. Horse was a bit miserable, he hates the wind, and driving rain, but trotted around the route in a well behaved and admirable manner. We stopped to say hello to some friends and the horse reversed nicely out of their drive, just could do with a reversing warning alarm. Working on that. Smallest boy had cancelled hockey yesterday due to weather, but played rugby game away today, and lost 17 - 30. IN the wind and the rain and freezing mud that's pretty disappointing. He is now listening to Harry Potter read by Stephen Fry whilst in the bath, and its so loud we are all enjoying the story.

Friday, 28 November 2008

farrier photo

THought you might like to see Skipper having his nails done by the new farrier, and held by Hugh which was jolly obliging of him as its freezing cold today, and this farrier takes about 1 hour 40 minutes from start to finish which is a L O N G time. I took the horse trailer in for a quick service today to the suppliers, about 30 miles away. It was thick fog and freezing on the roads so was one of the most unpleasant journeys I have made for a long time. After my stolen day off from work yesterday I feel like I'm having a bit of a holiday, still two days of the weekend to go! Getting a hair cut tomorrow and visiting the dreaded supermarket before we all starve to death. Things so bad on the food stocks front that we are all going to KFC for our tea tonight before seeing Frankie Boyle at the Theatre. What poor parenting!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

thursford christmas spectacular, Norfolk

Here are a few of the 25 or 30 coaches I could see when I left the above show tonight. I thought I was going, with a neighbour on SATURDAY to see this Christmas Spectacular in deepest Norfolk, in an agricultural shed. However, it turned out to be today, so at very short notice we made our way to Norfolk. She is a regular visitor to this extraordinary and unexpected Christmas gem. I couldn't believe the size, number of performers, professionalism, number of cars and coaches, and efficiency of the whole operation. Absolutely amazing. Would highly recommend to anyone prepared to make the journey, though you have to book early, as all shows 8th November to 23rd December, twice a day, are always sold out! Taking horse-box for a service tomorrow morning, rushing home for the farrier, and another show tomorrow night. Worn out with all this gadding about!Don't believe have any committments for Saturday, so may be able to catch up with all stuff which needs doing at home...

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Skipper & Mary

Here is Skipper wearing his best winter coat, and a bit of mud, talking to his favorite girlfriend Mary. He spends hours and hours just looking at her. Except sometimes, if she has been cool with him, he pretends she isn't waiting for a chat and completely ignores her, grazing on the other side of the field with his back to her. He loves her, in a platonic, gelding kind of way.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Lakeside misery

Every year I go on a christmas shopping coach trip with Primary School. This year's destination was Lakeside in Essex. What a miserable, grim, soulless experience it turned out to be. I don't need to go shopping there again. How those staff all survive with never a breath of fresh air or glimpse of sunlight puzzles me very much. Boys out at Pigeon Detectives concert in Grimsby tonight, all very exciting. Horse well, though a bit chilly in this exceedingly cold snap. The snow was just wonderful last weekend and meant roaring fires and very warm coats. Still painting at the salt mines, it seems never ending, though I think we are making progress. I am certainly thoroughly covered anyway...Going to the theatre again this weekend, this time to see Frankie Boyle, whole family plus one extra, so hoping he's as funny as Dara Obriain. Will let you know. Getting photos together for next post - keep watching

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

two horses shot...

Very serious and sad news. 8 mares have been here on grass livery for 3 weeks now. Its their third winter on the same 20 acres, and they come in the Autumn, grow more pregnant, and go home in Spring to foal. Yesterday Hugh noticed that one was sitting up (like a dog) This is a sure sign of digestive problems in a horse and the owner was contacted immediately. He drove over (about 10 minutes) and called out the vet. By the time the vet got here the mare's anus (sorry about that) was poking out like it was a bit prolapsed. The vet gave a thorough inspection including hand into both body cavities and diagnosed chlostridium difficile and shot the mare. All others very carefully inspected (including my Skipper who lives through the hedge from these girls) and pronounced okay. Never seen it before in a horse, but often in sheep apparently. Vet set off home, only to be called back almost immediately by owner who now noticed that another mare, who was fine 20 minutes earlier, looked uncomfortable, and her anus was poking out slightly. Vet returned - and, to cut a long story short, shot her too. Insides rotting away in front of our eyes - unbelievably quick. Telephoned my own vet to ask about Skipper. All mares and skipper injected with 2 giant jabs, thought not to do any good at all, but worth a try (penstrep and Flunixin). Horse specialists in Liverpool and Newmarket contacted by attending vet for advice and guidance, apparently also astonished that this should be seen in two perfectly previously healthy horses. You can imagine how terrible we all feel. Just dreadful. Apparently this bug is environmental (soil, mould, grass) not airborne. But NO-ONE knows what can possibly have caused such a catastrophe. Other mares (and Skipper) seem fine today, but being watched closely. Because its too late to isolate haven't split them all up, but will keep Skipper away from other people's horses until feel more confident. Vets assure that this was/is a 1 in a million misfortune. The mare owner is absolutely devastated. He lost a foal with peritonitis three weeks ago.

On a lighter note, youngest gone to try playing hockey for Boston Men's tonight for the first time (there's no hope for his teeth as he plays rugby too) and eldest moving turkeys around for serious Christmas fattening. Vegetarians look away now - we shall be eating one of his turkeys and several of his young cockerels over the festive season - excellent.

Christmas presents all wrapped and sitting upstairs waiting for their special moment to shine before the paper ripped off, and I'm going to enjoy a days shopping near London on Saturday with nothing to buy for anyone else except ME!!!!! I need a new ball-gown/cocktail frock for the christmas season so I can coffee & cake & try on dresses to my hearts content.

After arguing with local land rover dealer have now put works land rover on ebay to see what happens. Will keep you posted. I would have to practically give it away to do worse that the land rover dealer's offer. Name and shame? Duckworths.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Dara O'Briain - hilarious

JUst got in after 2 hours of irish humour in little local theatre. As Dara O'Briain predicted, will always be remembered because half way through the second half he split his trousers and flashed us all with his underpants until a kindly audience member advised him that his backside was hanging out! He was utterly fab. If you get the chance to see him would highly recommend. I laughed so much I ached.

just a brief note

Went to Art nightclass last night after a break of 3 weeks, and it was lovely, very refreshing, though the piece I have begun may well be a failure. My lovely little horse has been a star since returning home. I don't think he liked being away. He has managed to be an absolutely perfect dobbin every time he has been ridden - I cannot give him higher praise. Not everyone's cup of tea, but certainly mine. Been busy at the salt mines, painting, paying bills, maybe trading in landrover for new one if there is a good deal to be had. Going to see Dara O'Briain tonight at local theatre, hoping to spend at least two hours laughing my head off - best medication money can buy. And guess what? All my Christmas shopping done...doesn't that just make you want to be sick?

Friday, 7 November 2008

a few more photos

If you click on the photos they miraculously get much bigger and clearer. From the top: flooded welsh lowlands, bouncing pebbles down a welsh river in the rain, welsh hills, old woman running up woodland steps (note extremely grey tied back hair...), big boy gainfully employed in pub, baby boy also, yet another irish castle especially for Janet. Honestly the photos really are rubbish, these are slightly better than the rest. Fetched the yella horse home this afternoon. He has had a good time, with the company of other horses, though hasn't been ridden since Monday, and has apparently looked after a 12 year old rider during his first week. This was a surprise to us, as we didn't know that's something he would be doing during half term week. A novel experience for him anyway. He's all tucked up in bed now, and there are 12 mares to keep him company when he gets out into the field tomorrow. The mares are here for winter keeping again, so he will be able to chat them up through the next few months. Luckily his two critical bits were nipped off when he was a youngster (an operation called gelding) so he doesn't need to strut and shout as a stallion would in the presence of all those females. The weather forecast is absolutely horrible with wind and rain for the next 5 days at least, so I don't know when I will be able to ride him, but its good to have him home. We were asked if we would like to loan him out to the 12 year old girl who rode him in our absence...I don't think so! When we go away next Spring the big boy is staying home alone, and he will be able to see to the horse, which will be better for us. The little boy is going skiing with school, and the old people are going to Bath and Stonehenge WITH NO CHILDREN AT ALL. Scary thought. Can count the nights away with no kids during the last 18 years on two hands with fingers left over. But, with University looming for the big boy, and last year at school for the baby boy, we old people will be home alone before we know it. Now salt mines have closed to the public we are able to have a few weekends off, and I am really looking forward to it. On good weeks that means Friday, Saturday and Sunday with no toiling at the salt face, EVERY WEEK! Until March. Yippeeeeee

Monday, 3 November 2008

Some Irish photos (and a Welsh beach paradise!)

Rubbish photos, weather frequently overcast, so light poor. However, the squirly patterns were all over the Newgrange Neolithic tombs, if I had known they would turn out so clearly I would have taken hundreds. They, and the tombs were fascinating. Newgrange is the funny looking white edifice. Sadly reconstructed (probably wrongly) on the outside, but the inner passage tomb is a joy, and made me feel 'all funny'. Look it up on google, a burial site (with its neighbouring tombs) of international importance, and pre-dating the pyramids by eons. No-one, not even the academics, know what the builders were thinking, how it was planned, how materials assembled from miles around, how it was used, it will remain a mystery and I find that really exciting.
The boys and I are sunbathing in the beach photo at Tenby, Wales, so sorry to be flashing so much flesh!!! Not. Gorgeous place, and I would like to go back there.
All in all, much history absorbed, wiser, poorer, and 1000 miles at 51 miles per gallon added to car. Big boy did quite a lot of the driving, and his parents tried not to nag too much (its very difficult) and hope he learned at least a little bit about safer driving techniques. Disaster struck in our absence: electricity main trip failed, and freezer defrosted...Aga failed to light properly and gassed us all for the day yesterday (engineer required). Little horse still on his holidays, coming home at the weekend, hope he's had a good time and made lots of new friends.
Horrible dog seems to have missed us, goldfish had gone all sedentary owing to severe drop in water temperature due to lack of heating in house. Water now warming up and their appetite returning. Bit of a chicken cull on our return I'm afraid, big boy searching out all non-layers - oh dear. Little boy grew at least another inch while we were away, he spent about 12 hours in every 24 asleep, and the other 12 eating...
Both boys a bit home-sick and delighted to be back, difficult age to be stuck with old people, they did really well, and might even look back on trip with kindness by this time next year. Sadly, no weight lost on trip, so came home carrying more than memories...

Thursday, 30 October 2008

news from Ireland

STaying in a hostel, though very upmarket. Access to internet free! Better than at home. Just so you know, southern Ireland frighteningly expensive, for everything, especially feeding hungry young men. And drinking. Am cultured out, though tomorrow looking at a fabulous burial barrow/tombs from neo/mesolithic? period? Anyway, really excited about it! Sad huh. Southern Irelanders at the end of their tether with high costs, economic downturn, they have to pay a fortune here just to visit their GP, free helath care taken from old people, only good thing seems to be slightly cheaper fuel. We are travelling through an incredibly cold and unseasonal cold snap, snow here yesterday! Its absol;utely bitter, but not raining at least. If you like castles and caves though, here's paradise indeed. Boys astonished by Irish ability to talk, talk, and talk, the cultural exchange has been marvellous indeed. Travelling home shortly - looking forward to my own bed, and toilet.

Thursday, 23 October 2008


I saw this bag and knew that I needed it. You know how it is. So, next time I am going away for the weekend I will be recognisable by the fact that I am carrying a bright orange and completely frivolous overnight bag (with handle and wheels of course) which can been seen from about a mile away. Its price was such that I have not dared to take it out of the car boot yet, but every time I look at it, it gives me a warm feeling....
Hugh has been kind enough to drop the yella horse off for his stay in livery, this morning. Horse very excited to have a change of scenery, I am sad and anxious already. Worse than sending a child away to school, packed his coat, food, tack, bucket, headcollar etc, etc and he won't be there when I get home. Hoping Jess will teach him a bit more dressage whilst he's at his boot camp, missing him already.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

health & safety haha

Health and Safety Inspector visited yesterday to review our arrangements at the salt mines. Luckily it was my day off. Sister passed with flying colours, and we have been downgraded to very low risk. I could go on forever about small businesses being sitting ducks, too much red tape etc, etc, and it was a good job I was not here. Sis did really well though (its all her work), and is suitably proud. Blood test has provided the information that I am both anaemic and possess a very low white blood cell count. Another test required. Trying not to worry. Reason I have not heard from Physio about some help with trapped nerve is...Doctor forgot to refer. Hopefully some help will now be arranged. I sound like a health obsessive, but am not, try to stay away from Quacks, but shoulder problem, and tiredness, a bit irritating, and would like some help resolving both. Iron tablet prescription in car. Gorgeous day, horse getting his bags packed for his holiday, and we beginning to think about what we need to take with us on tour of Wales & Ireland (probably wellies and brollies). Really excited to be getting a break. More retail therapy on my day off yesterday, which was very, very nice. I tried on about 100 different garments, and though I only bought a waxed jacket I really enjoyed myself! I never take anyone with me clothes shopping, ever, so I never have to worry about how long I have been, or how boring it is for anyone else. Its just me and the coathangers! Don't need to try on anything else for about 12 months now. Maxed out, but oh what fun! Horse's undercarriage looking good as far as I can see. Have now been able to inspect one side of it completely, but haven't yet worked out how to hold onto his long bits, and walk around the other side to see it from the other angle....perhaps I need a volunteer...or to dive under his belly, swinging on his bit as if it was a bell rope, and surfacing on his other side, eyes bright and ready for further close inspection? Too, too tricky.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

yella horse's private parts!

Farrier found something unsavoury in horse's sheath on Thursday, quite by chance. As a result am trying to 'catch' horse's 'undercarriage' when he lets it down to pee, to apply some sheath cleaner/oil to it. Hmmm. Makes my menfolk squirm, and I'm not too excited about it either. Apparently you can put your hand right into the 'cave' where it retracts, cop a hold, and drag it don't fancy that. This morning he half let it down, whilst peeing, and I casually caught hold of the end, and applied a bit of freezing cold KY jelly to it. Hoping to make a better attempt when next have the opportunity. All too, too grim! Otherwise, had saddle on and out on the road by 7.30am, this despite a night with no sleep. Eldest boy brought some friends home after an 18th party, and they were flapping about until 3.30am. Burning toast at 3.15am set off smoke alarm, and girl being discreetly sick shortly thereafter brought down irate mother and 'enough is enough' speech. They were repentant. This morning it emerged that from the 10 bottles of wine in the fridge my son chose the only really good bottle of champagne as an after party tipple, and so these 5 teenagers quaffed a £40 bottle of bubbly at 2am. Oh no! Hard to be cross when I like the kids so much, and they had not idea. They thought that as it was the plainest bottle and label, it must be the cheapest plonk. It was right beside a £4.00 bottle of Spains finest gut cleaner, which, owing to its very flashy labelling was passed over! There must be a moral to this tale, but I'm too tired to think of it. Just trying to keep my eyes open at salt mines until 2pm, then its nap time - hip hip.

Friday, 17 October 2008

beautiful day, again!

Almost freezing temperature this morning, but blue skies and still atmosphere - perfect. All packing up at salt mines for end of season, sad, but looking forward to 2009. Still got guests though, those hardy and intrepid few who holiday in England out of season. Must have inner central heating. Horse smashing, car serviced and repaired (temp sensor) at enormous cost of over £300, boys teeth serviced (retainer check) £200 and shoes serviced for yella boy £50. Pockets now to let. Keep digging salt. Trapped nerve in right side of neck causing some pain today, all down arm and into hand, which is very frustrating. Going out with ladies tonight for food, drinks and gossip, can't wait. Whilst right arm can still lift full glass things not too bad. Big boy shooting with his Uncle again tomorrow which is a high treat indeed then rushing off to another 18th birthday party chocs in hand. Other boy celebrating 17th birthdays left, right and centre, as all his friends begin to learn to drive. Big boy would like big 18th with family & friends so plans afoot for all that's necessary. Thinking pig roast and band (know someone who can...). Lots to look forward to, just a little sleep needed between now and then...

Monday, 13 October 2008

god going at salt mines

Good day today, two gigantic, brand new caravans pushed onto plots, and one geriatric rusting old unit pulled off. For our tiny band of labour this constitutes a super-human effort, and a real sense of achievement. The biggest unit sank like a stone when it hit the green stuff, and had to be jacked and propped until it could be got onto 'tracks' to enable progress over the grass. Much chuffing and puffing ensued, but all was well, and only one more to go. Luckily, I am the tow vehicle driver and so miss out on all the struggling and sweating at the sharp end. Pity. The yellow horse continues fine and dandy - doing loads of miles on the road steadily and sweetly. Neighbour's ten year old even rode and steered for a bit yesterday. Small black dog now accompanies on the road, wearing her own yellow coat, as we have discovered that whilst motorists will often not slow down for a horse, in any circumstances, when they see the horrible black dog in the middle of the road they will slow down in a bid to avoid squashing her. This has made riding on the roads MUCH safer for me, and when the dog is eventually flattened by a supremely bad driver she will be replaced with another dog to do the same job. Sad but true. Every time we go out I feel sure she has saved me from a serious accident. This does mean that I find myself being a great deal nicer to the dog, as I am very grateful. She has a whale of a time running beside us for mile upon mile, still finding time and energy to chase all neighbouring cats and dogs, roll in everything unsavoury laying by the side of the road, and crapping in new and interesting gardens. Then she gallops along to catch us up, and find the next piece of wickedness to indulge in. For an old lady (she's about 13) she maintains the pace very well. Day off tomorrow - marvellous. Nap imminent!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

weather & hair

Its a BEAUTIFUL day, following a glorious day yesterday - marvellous. Here's the salt mines when its not raining, still not pretty, but blue sky - how novel. And this is youngest in desperate need of a hair cut, which he has just agreed to submit to. He had let me put the bobble in his hair to see what it looked like, and to show him how horribly long it has got. One more week before the scissors. Broken bone improving, eldest digestive problems also improving, horse out for 6 mile hike last night - alls well with the world.

Monday, 6 October 2008

weekend of the bucket

Eldest boy, not to be outdone in the sympathy stakes, suffered sudden onset, in the middle of the night, of violent (very violent) sickness and dia(however you spell it). Poor bugger was up all night on Saturday night vomiting either into the toilet or the bucket by his bed, and by Sunday was absolutely exhausted, and also dehydrated. Spent Sunday lying on sofa, sipping water, and happily, this morning, not well enough for school, but certainly improving. Hugh just recovering from same thing, but not so severe. I beginning to feel like last man standing, and really looking forward to short touring holiday (WAles & Ireland) in few weeks time. And its been raining, again. Day off tomorrow, and I think some retail therapy is required to assist in my own recovery from the strains of nursing! The broken finger is bruising up nicely, and proving to be a real badge of honour...

Saturday, 4 October 2008

skipper's circus tricks

When I bought the yella horse I was aware that he had begun training to be a show/circus type horse for a Western riding display, for county shows etc. Mostly he doesn't need to use these tricks, and I hope one day he will forget them...but I now doubt that's going to happen! We have seen evidence of his nodding, stealing things from your pocket, stealing hair bobbles, stealing paper from your hand (all taught) but until this morning I had not seen his most scary trick. His trainer told us he would rear, to order. I particularly desired neither to see this demonstrated, nor to learn the cue for it. Its a very dangerous habit in a horse, and never to be encouraged. Circus horses do it I know, but not my Skipper. For almost a year now I have seen no signs of it, BUT this morning I turned him out, as usual, and I did something I don't normally do - I'm not telling what it was, but his tiny brain clicked into gear, and he gave it a moment of consideration, and he then politely and in an organised manner stood up on his hind legs!!! I nearly laid an egg. He dropped back to all four feet, looked at me to see if that had been the required performance, and then wandered off to eat his grassy breakfast. My heart was beating like a drum, I can tell you, because a horse of 16 hh striking you with a rearing forefoot (and this does happen) can kill you. I know exactly what action was the cue, but still can't believe it happened. I now can't decide whether to check this really happened by trying again, or never doing what I did again in his presence. Just goes to show that horses have a long and accurate memory for their training, and when a horse has come to you from someone else you never know what they might have learned. Scary.

Friday, 3 October 2008

the hand!

Left hand ring finger - he's so proud! And it hurts...

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

some holiday so far!

Briefly, my 4 days R&R turning into a bit of a marathon. Spent one day out with father (always tricky) - spent two days running up and down to local market town sorting out replacement fire grate, spark guard, - this afternoon finally settled down for much needed napping and so forth in front of freshly lit fire on new grate, candles, mood lighting the lot. Boy returns from school 30 minutes later and says: "I think my finger has been broken at rugby today". Into car. Off to hospital. Finger indeed broken. Xrays forwarded to bigger hospital for later in week, another appointment to see expert, might need pinning.Weather horrible, horse unridden, and, I regret to say, much chocolate consumed...oh dear. Tomorrow am chillin' come what may...because its back down the mines on Friday. That went quickly. (Photo of mood lighting/candles before broken finger episode, Artwork eldest boy GCSE piece I really like, and the bracelet arrived in post (internet purchase) to cheer the week. I love it. ) Sinusitis worn off, visit to quack required for more drugs. Kitten begged and delivered to friend, dentist visited (highway robbery legalised), shopping, washing, ironing and cleaning underway. Need to get back to work for resting to take place.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

holiday, holiday

On return of sis from US yesterday I having a few days at home. AFter 3 weeks going in to work every day wake up this morning to enjoy R&R, but with horrible sinusitis - aaarrggghhh. Full of drugs and pain killers (hopeless), now going to lay down. Damnit.

Friday, 26 September 2008

some customers never satisfied

Phil, who comes to help with bins and grass cutting on Mondays reports that this Monday a guest looked out of her unit when he emptied her bin, and she said "What, checking the bins again? Its terrible, you're always checking the bins and emptying them!" She was grumpy about this service. I can only assume from this that she would prefer to have her bin flowing over onto the grass, making a picturesque scene for everyone...

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

woodpecker ahoy

Yesterday morning we saw this young bird, who had mistaken the telegraph pole for a tree. He gave the top a very good pecking, and then flew off to nearby trees. It was, I assure you, very exciting at the time! Don't see too many woodpeckers, though can hear them quite clearly. Electrical problems at the salt mines, solved by Sparky thank goodness, and beautiful weather disappeared as usual. Yella horse stopped limping without treatment, he's a puzzle, see when it happens again.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Fab, fab weather - at last

Frankly, busier than a busy bee at salt mines, falling down into bed at night exhausted. But what joy - the sunshine!!! Brought out holidaymakers in droves, flocks, crowds and herds. Even sold a caravan (yippee). Only cloud on horizon is yella horse - terribly lame hind leg, he is such a wimp. Vet to come again next week - horse a complete albatross - but handsome with it!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


Aide memoire to self - saddle fitter postulates today that Skipper's intermittent lameness is hind right (looking at him from tail end). Bad today circling with that leg on inside, sound other direction, and sound trotting up road. Saddle had tiny amount of flocking added on left hand side to balance, though common sense dictated other side. All very complicated. All professionals seem to agree that at some time Skipper has probably suffered a major trauma in the pelvic area, or high hip, leaving him slightly unbalanced behind through imperfect healing. Doesnt track up perfectly on that side, and that hind leg often looks slightly stiff as he moves off. Neither muscular nor skeletal manipulation able to perfect pelvic position. All guesswork, wait until he permanently unsound before pursuing, as it may never deteriorate further, with good luck & a following wind. Interesting. (Read expensive). As he's going to stay with me until he dies, and we shall grow older and stiffer together it doesn't really matter to me, but its a pity. Its something I have been monitoring more or less since I got him, and it became apparent that he wasn't altogether sound working on the road consistently. Poor purchasing judgement in first place...but its a learning curve, only myself to blame!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

10am - wet bed

Guest just been in to confess wet bed - 'nuff said.


Been so busy down salt mines no time for photos, updates or anything away from salt-face. Have found time to take Skipper for couple of spins in new shoes...he's so excited I can hardly do anything with him. He rushes down the drive, runs up the road, and takes about one mile to settle into a reasonable pace. Last night, got him nicely settled then galloped down a huge stubble field, he exited the field like he had a firework up his bum, and spent next ten mnutes looking for place to do same again. Don't know what has brought on this intense excitement for outings in the horse, hoping familiarity will breed contempt and bring his relaxed, ambling self back. Otherwise I shall have to dope him, or something. I'm too old for excitement! Hoping for a quieter day at coast today, as it should be my day off its only fair, so telepathically contacting all guests so that they know not to bring their problems and complaints through the door today. Yuckily, yesterday new arrival returned a freshly laundered duvet cover saying it wasn't clean. I was most put out, and asked her to show me: she held out the edge of the cover with the biggest, most horrible, pile of brown "stuff" stuck like glue near the seam. Hard and stuck fast something like chewing gum, but not chewing gum colour, I was mortified. Obviously gave her new one, couldn't clean off the "brown stuff" (what can it be?) so its gone for burning, and another bottle of wine in hands of guests as apology. Nearly end of season....

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Vets & vaccinations

Skipper booked for flu & tetanus annual booster vacs. today - Vet Alistair expected in afternoon. He phoned last night to ask if he could come at 7am! Yes it was a bit early...but on the plus side, Skipper so bemused to see Vet so early, accompanied by me in my coat and pyjamas - needle in and out before eyes properly open! Things so busy in animal kingdom vet has to start that early to squeeze all calls in. No credit squeeze there then...

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

four new shoes hit the road!

New farrier, who seems to have missed all the lessons about not being punctual, and ignoring clients' calls, has been today. He arrived early, having called beforehand to ascertain all details. Worked carefully and patiently, and WAS CHEAPER! Hooray for 4 shoes on horse. Skipper should be back to roadwork tomorrow weather permitting - but that's another problem...

Monday, 8 September 2008

weasel corpse

big boy and I were walking up the field to pick some apples and blackberries for a crumble this evening, and we stumbled upon this tiny corpse. Its a juvenile, about 6 inches nose to tail, and had quite obviously just been killed by something, giving it a sharp, and deadly nip at the neck, as you can see. Its a handsome creature, though big boy glad to see it dead, as he has often lost chicks to predatory weasels. Brought it back to house to photograph - that's dedication. Crumbles in oven now, its years and years since I picked brambles into a plastic bowl, quite excited about results! How domestic.
Poor horse fated in the shoe department. Found new farrier, prepared to come tomorrow, just texted to say van broken, try to rent new one tomorrow. Uber-disaster, horse feet desperate for help. Original farrier not responding to phone, presume still hospitalised. AAARRRGGGHH

Sunday, 7 September 2008

laundry lows

Presenting: one sheet (on right) and one matress cover from below the sheet (on left). Now what are you doing in your holiday bed, that makes a bright coral coloured stain, which has resisted all washing techniques, said stain running right through the sheet onto the plastic matress cover below? Not blood, not nail varnish, not make-up. I cannot think what activity may have taken place to make these terrible stains. Of course, I am putting the linen straight in the bin, but it makes me really cross. And here, for the uninitiated, is a lot of washing. Bored already.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Unsurprisingly its been raining. We left the dog shut in yesterday, and she doesn't like storms. There must have been a small storm over the house, and in her agitation she dug all the shoes out of the shoe cupboard, along with my sewing bag, dead spiders etc... Today youngest son stayed with her (everyone else went to salt mines) and he managed to surprise the dog cuddling up with her mortal enemy the cat. Just shows what she gets up to when she (thinks she's) alone. Mucky ducky departures today, yuk, yuk, yuk.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

apple slobber

Just so you can see for yourself: limit of 6 fruits per sitting, for fear of colic - boy does he love 'em.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

more tesco terror

Just watched local news (Look North) and another mum with her 15 yr old daughter turned away at till of Tesco. (Brigg branch). Friends keep phoning to say 'did you see the news, same as you!'

Had three days off from salt mines to gather strength for absence of other two full time staff for 3 weeks on holiday, they depart imminently. Doubtless I shall be dragging people in off the streets to help with the workload if things get really bad! Happens every year, and makes me crabby as a box of crabs every time. During the last two days I have washed, ironed, cleaned, tidied, cooked food, shopped, changed beds, vacuumed, in fact, everything I can think of to ease the next month. Am trying to convince menfolk that they would like to take over food duties for 4 weeks, but not well received.

Skipper still missing front shoes, Farrier stood us up again, although he appears to be in hospital so he does have a reasonable excuse. Hoping for next week? Skipper in fat, idle heaven doing so little work.

Whilst tidying my clothes, and throwing some out, I couldn't help noticing that the older ones all seem to have shrunk at exactly the same pace. Uncanny. What happens to clothes on their hangers? Is there some sort of shrinking dust in the air? Luckily, new purchases have more space in them so tightness not an issue. Its a sad truth that my shape seems to have morphed from the equivalent of a stiletto heel into a rather comfy old shoe. At the same time hair colour has altered from mousey blonde to 'white blonde'! When I look around I see that almost all women over the age of 30 dye their hair! Why do they do that? I can't decide whether I should continue the graceful descent into full whiteness, or fight and dye.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

barn owl beauties

Especially for the Blacklog, and particularly Nicky - here are Skipper's companions, just chillin'. Every day they swoop and hunt over his field, and the meadow next door, if you stand really still they come really close, there is ever the hope one will land on an outstretched arm, but not so far.

Old People doing it too

Old People's night around the fire pit - campers welcome! One couple (who are about to be married), turned up with the wooden steam engine trailer aged nearly 100 pictured above! That was a surprise. They even claim to have slept well in their tiny bunk beds. A beautiful piece of history being sympathetically restored. Festivities commenced at 7.30pm and at 3am as I was making my way across the circle surrounding the fire pit (to finally go to bed), the whole pit jumped up and leapt into my path, causing me to stumble into and across the fire bed, and fall flat on my (drunken) face on the other side. I was wearing the new pair of white linen trousers in the top picture, which I had managed to keep relatively clean until this unfortunate incident. When I had picked myself up from the floor, and dusted off my dignity, among other things, I realised that the entire floor was not very stable either, causing me to walk quite crookedly and unevenly to the house, and my bed. Today I have some bruising and an unexplainable headache and sickly feeling in my stomach. Must be something I ate. 40 or so old people came along to pretend to be young again, and drink warm wine/beer, and eat smoky food, and become liberally covered in wood ash, as there was quite a strong prevailing wind. Even asked to do it again next year. If there is a repeat performance must make sure to anchor down the fire pit to stop it tripping up unsuspecting passers-by.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

invisible farrier

to put the cap on a less than brilliant 24 hours the farrier (£60 for 40 minutes work) failed to turn up today. Waited 2 hours this evening, but no show, no call - this I believe is part of farriery training and an established part of farrier etiquette. Ho hum. Skipper still shoeless and my temper hovering around red again. At this rate I'll be booking onto anger management course! Shopped alone in Morrisons tonight, surprise, surprise, no problems regarding alcohol purchases, I must look more than 21, how can that be?

Another rare bird sighting Lawnmowing teenage bird

Spotted in the garden yesterday - nap disturbing, but very welcome, Lawnmowing Teenage Bird, in full summer plumage, and friendly, cheeky attitude. When it emerges from its nest (see earlier post) it can be a very useful addition to the garden, though it is a voracious feeder, and is sometimes moody/reclusive...

tesco titters

In local Tesco last night, with two boys, and a trolley packed with goodies for a grown-up party. Boys kindly agreed to come with me to do all the heavy lifting. Marvellous. At the till the cashier said she couldn't ring my trolley through, because she believed I was buying alcohol for minors. She called for help, and an officious little git entered stage left and asked my boys for age ID. I said, no, no, these purchases are for me, my boys are not 18, they are here to help me. I have a painful right arm, and am not lifting weights at the moment, thankyou. He said, no we can't sell, I must see ID for these boys. I said, if you don't ring this trolley through I won't be shopping here again. He called for more assistance (duty Manager) who was accompanied by security and two other members of staff! Now 5 staff lined up within my own comfort zone, trolley blocking till aisle, and boys agog at developments! Same story - these goods are for me, my boys are my sons, they are not 18, they are helping me etc etc. No go. In a flaming temper I cried 'leave it boys, we won't be coming here again' and we stalked out of the shop with what dignity we had left. A calmer phone call later to the same Duty Manager when I said we would be making a very formal complaint. Bit of internet research today shows Tesco implementing their own laws regarding sale of alcohol to families and people accompanied by minors, which I had no idea about. Embarrassment and intimidation factor very high. No shopping for party achieved. Disaster score off the scale. Late night visit to Asda 15 miles away looking likely tonight...(without wicked underage boys obviously). I need to get a grip of my temper that's for sure...

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

day off fun & frolics

Yippee, day away from the salt mines, a nap beckons. Excellent.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

bank holiday woe

Bank Holiday Sunday, biggest & best weekend of the coastal year, and here it is, pouring with rain (again). Bus broken down at drive entrance (convenient for campers), and guest just been in clutching: double duvets x2, duvet covers x2, mattress coverx1, double sheets x2, and says his tiny daughter had a small accident or two in the night could I change all these for new ones. This after just two nights in the unit. I replaced all at no charge, but grin is very thin today. Traffic appalling as every single coastal camper gets into car, rather than walking. You know what, be glad when Bank Holiday just a distant memory. Both boys struggling with very heavy head colds, so all grumps at home too. Ready for a holiday... On plus side yellow horse very happy walking around meadows last night because of lack of front shoes, and very excited to be taken out on a date, with me, to self service apple tree bar. Happily and briefly stuffed his face with sweet red apples and made contented journey back to his own field, face and ears smeared with apple juice bubbles. Wiped his face clean on my bum as we walked. Lovely.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

exam results!

Very happy boy, results better than he hoped. Also got his fixed dental braces off yesterday, so blinding everyone with big smile. Results also almost identical to his brother's last year, so no opportunity for "I got, you got" etc (as if they would). Yellow horse managed to pull off both front shoes last night all by himself, so has made himself unrideable on the roads until farrier visit next week. Looks smug. Has not affected apple eating skills.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

yellow horse tests pockets

Just realised that in the next 3 weeks yellow horse booked for: dentist (yes really), farrier (new set of shoes), vet (annual vaccinations), back lady (remains of firework injuries) and saddler (refit saddle). Ouch. For October half-term he must go away to live with someone else whilst we look at Wales and Ireland. Perhaps they should keep him while I still solvent...

can I canoe you down the river?

three boys (only one mine, one a nephew/cousin, and one friend) had fab afternoon canoeing up and down the river, and then all diving into the river for the complete 'wet' experience. Brought home in horse trailer wet, cold, shivering, happy, tired, elated and very, very hungry. Eldest boy too sensible to join canoeists! All this after sleepless party night and 4 mile walk home this morning.

Monday, 18 August 2008

V festival survivors return to base

many thanks to very good friends for making sure boys had a great time at V2008! So tired they could only eat and talk when they walked in. However, youngest has now headed off to a sleepover party (girls involved) though legs can hardly carry him. Eldest watching clock for respectable time to retire to bed. They have had a great time, much to tell, and biggest driving experience to date. So pleased to get them home safe. Apparently Little Man Tate are the greatest - I can hear the words but I don't understand their meaning...

Sunday, 17 August 2008

sunday bloody sunday

8.15 am Sunday morning HIGH SEASON famous british tourist resort, sea front area. Not many visitors taking early morning constitutional to enjoy sunshine, as you can see. It's raining torrents. Yellow horse ran out of open gate last night and cantered over to 40 acres of meadows in pitch dark. Off he went, in high feather, across the green fields and far away. Eldest son set off with lead rein and torch, I said just close gate and let him have night out, but horse cantered over to my big boy at far end of field, and said to him, in horse language "I thought it looked exciting, but i've had enough now, and its quite dark and scary, can I go to bed?" Big boy clipped on lead rein, and they sauntered back to shed like nothing had happened. Another exciting event in the life of the yellow horse anyway. Both boys set off early hours this morning for V Festival, carrying golf brollies, pack-a-macs, wellingtons and several fleeces for under the plastic coats. Apart from me being worried witless by all the driving big boy going to do - they very excited and completely casual about journey, weather, safety & risk factors. Oh to be young...