Saturday 30 December 2006

The bit in-between

This week between Christmas and New Year is always a bit strange - it's like being in nowhere land!!! I've really enjoyed it though - no work, no teenage daughter, no stress!!!

My Christmas day was lovely - Jo came round for breakfast and we enjoyed smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, with Champagne of course!!! We opened our pressies and I got some lovely gifts...a soft and fluffy throw (to wrap around me when I'm laid on the sofa watching TV) and a massage voucher from Dan, a scarf from my Dad, a lovely jumper from my Mum, a new filofax (southerner!!!) some socks and undies (always welcome) perfume, new gold earrings, books (about riding of course - regarding finding your 'centre' and therefore improving your core balance - oo er!) a crystal ladybird of friendship from the lovely Jacqui, and of course lots of bath smellies!!!! I am a very lucky girl!!

On Christmas day afternoon I went and rode my horse, she was peaceful and calm, and so was I !!!

Then I had my lobster dinner - which was fantastic. Followed by a nice bath, clean pyjamas, and an early night in clean bedding - bliss!!!

The rest of the week so far has been taken up by washing my car (I bought a power-washer - I love my power tools!) and generally chilling out. (Busy doing nothing!)

Phoebe's legs are very much on the mend and yesterday she went out in the field for the first time in over a week.

I have really enjoyed my week alone, in complete peace and quiet - but all good things must come to an end, and I have to go back to work on Tuesday!!!

Happy New Year everyone!!

Sunday 24 December 2006

Christmas Illnesses

Phoebe's legs are on the mend - after a day of intensive nursing - much hibiscrub, many clean towels, hot water and lots of pampering.

I, on the other hand have the Christmas Flu. Well, actually it's just a bit of a bad cold but I can't breathe and my fillet steak wellington dinner was rather tasteless...I had better be feeling better tomorrow to enjoy my lobster. Pass me the "Night Nurse" please!!!!!

I've got my Lobster

Well, that's it then - all the xmas food shopping is done. M&S opened at 9.15 for people to load up their trolleys, and I was 1st in the queue when the checkout opened at 10am. I was waiting 15 minutes before the till opened, but was chatting away to a very nice man in the next aisle as he waited also!!!

Then I braved Tesco for cough medicine, sudocreme (Phoebe's legs) and sponges (clean one required every time you bathe her poorly legs). Actually it wasn't too bad and everybody was being really polite with their trolleys - no trolley rage stories for you today!!! the checkout queues were long - but the staff were lightening quick, and they had packers on each aisle to hurry things along a bit.

All in all then, nowhere near as bad as I thought it might be. I even managed to get a parking space quite close to the doors!!!


Fighting in Tesco

I haven't seen any fights in Tesco yet - but there's bound to be some today!!! I have to go there today, and M&S of course to get my festive food. I'm hoping to get a lobster for my xmas dinner, but when I went to M&S yesterday they didn't have any, and the young girl (obviously Xmas extra staff) looked at me blankly when I asked if they'd be having any more in. This morning will see me parked up outside at 9.30 waiting for them to open at 10am. I was hoping to avoid the Tesco store today, but seeing as I have woken up with a sore throat, runny nose, tickly cough (isn't this holiday all about winter illnesses and half price sofas from DFS?) I will need to go in there and purchase numerous cold/flu remedies to see me through (and maybe some immodium!!!)

I may also have to call the vet, as poor beloved Phoebe has the worst case of Mud fever that anyone on the yard has ever seen. Mud fever is caused by a nasty little bacteria which lives in the mud and thrives in wet conditions. The wet weather weakens the skin around the horse's heels and tiny scratches allow the bacteria to enter. Once the infection has taken hold, it creates swelling, nasty scabs, and great discomfort. The hair tends to fall out in clumps too - very nasty. Poor Phoebe has legs like an elephant, and now requires the hair shaving off and careful washing with Hibiscrub, careful drying (it must be kept dry), and then treating with sudocreme or some such preparation. It can take weeks to heal and careful twice daily nursing is required. Sometimes the vet needs to administer an antibiotic injection, Sunday / Xmas Eve call Vet call-out charges will apply, and that will mean the end of my Christmas bonus!!!

Our Office Christmas party went well on Wednesday night, and the family xmas dinner on Thursday (the one with the chef) was lovely. Mind you the Chef and butler were decidely lacking in humour, and looked quite scarey, especially with carving knife in hand!!!

Dan set off for Sheffield on Friday and the rest of the tribe are leaving today. Yesterday my brother and his girlfriend arrived back from Thailand, and called to collect their car before heading back to Nottingham.

I'll let you know how I get on at Tesco this morning, and I'll keep you updated on the Phoebe / bad legs / will she call the vet? scenario. Mind you the vet is rather dishy, but even I realise that he's a bit young for me. .......It's coming to something when the vets are 20 years too young.

Ho hum......

Wednesday 20 December 2006

List of things to do today!

1. Wrap remaining presents (about 15 to do)
2. Buy sellotape (Before no 1)
3. Ring Jo and ask for new printer cartridges from office stationery room
4. Select and print lots of photographs to make photo album for Dan's Dad for Xmas Present
5. Laundry - washing and ironing
6. Burn CD for a friend
7. Clean car (inside and out)
8. Muck out both horses, make feeds, change rugs, wash legs
9. Be at home when alarm engineer comes (time?....anytime between 9-5...yippee)
10. Carefully iron new dress for Xmas party tonight
11. Do manicure and pedicure (oh la di bloody da!)
12. Pay credit card bills (yikes)
13. Get address for party venue and pray that Sat Nav is working
14. Start getting ready for Xmas party at 5pm - ready to leave at 6.45
15. ??? there's got to be something else but I can't remember...doh!

Didn't someone say that Christmas is a time for rest and relaxation?

Monday 18 December 2006

'twas the week before Christmas'

Busy week ahead. Tonight Dan, myself and our very good friend Nicola (lovely horse-riding lady from our may remember she came to watch me do my first dressage competition) are off to Olympia to seethiswhich we are very excited about - some of the show jumping has even been on the BBC this weekend (wonders will never cease). We can't wait - and there's a huge shopping village as well so I'm expecting to give the old Visa card a bit of a hammering. Tomorrow I'm going to work, and may go in on Wednesday as well. On Wednesday night it's our company Christmas Party - which is a very posh black tie affair. Then on Thursday it's our family Christmas at home (the one with the chefs) then on Friday, Dan heads off to Sheffield on the train to go home for Christmas - leaving me here to look after the neddies (and to get ten days peace and quiet!)

Today I've got presents to wrap, and food to buy, and cream tea to make to we have something nice to eat before we head off into town for the horse show this evening. I'm quite excited and looking forward to the week. I'll let you know how it all goes!!

Friday 15 December 2006

Small improvements

I decided after looking at the photographs from the dressage at the weekend that the saddle fitter may need to adjust my saddle (I know, a poor workman and all that...) anyway he came on Tuesday and altered a few things. The result is that (the technical bit) my position is now straighter and my lower leg is more secure (no flapping about). I have a lesson booked today for 1pm, so I'll let you know if the improvement makes any difference.

Last night we rode in the menage with our good friend Emma and her horse Sovereign, who threw her on the floor on Saturday - so she required a nanny!!! Sovereign is like a male version of Phoebe and the two of them really like each other. aaaah bless!!! They have their stables opposite each other and are always whinnying and snickering to each other.

Now I'm more confident in the cantering we keep doing it all the time and Phoebe is a bit confused because previously it was just a few strides and then we'd stop and go back to doing something more sedate. Now we just keep going!!! She wants to stop because she's tired and I just keep kicking her forward. Will wonders never cease?

Thursday 14 December 2006

Update on Christmas Shopping

A couple of days ago I was saying that I hadn't started my Christmas shooping - well all that's changed now. Yesterday morning I dropped my overcoat at the office and set off at 9.20am like a woman on a mission. By 12 noon everything was bought, wrapped, and packed into a big box, which was then wrapped in brown paper, and the box was sitting at reception waiting for the TNT man to collect it and take it to Sheffield.

So that's 2 hours and 40 minutes to do the's that for speedy?

Now I've had about 6 people asking "can you do mine?" ....the answer is a definite NO!

Tuesday 12 December 2006

Dirty Girl

I suspect that after her finest hour on Sunday, Phoebe decided to celebrate yesterday by having a mud bath. She came in from the field last night absolutely "clarted" (yorkshire word) in mud from head to foot. She has got wet sticky mud absolutely EVERYWHERE. This morning I have to get her clean enough to ride, as the saddle fitter is coming at 11am to re-adjust her saddle. I wouldn't mind but she goes out in a horse-wardrobe of clothes, including overcoat, head cover etc etc that cost about £300. My coat cost twenty-five quid in last year's H&M sale and I've never got a speck of mud on it...what's that about then?

Bugsy on the other hand is such a gay-boy that he never even gets mud on his legs.

Thirteen days to go

It's thirteen days to go and I still haven't bought a thing. THIS year was going to be different. THIS year I was going to get it all done by the end of September. Mind you I say that every year. I am of course, too late now for ordering most stuff on-line which is another thing I was going to do for the first time this year.

What makes it worse is that I'm not going home for Christmas, so what I do buy has to be wrapped, parceled and posted!!!! Of course all the shops are horrifically busy now, there's queues everywhere and people meandering about as if they have all the time in the world! EEEEEK. Oh yes...I completely forgot to mention that I have no money...I hate Christmas...bah humbug.

Our Christmas trees went up yesterday here at the house, and already there's pine needles everywhere, and I suspect that Malcom will be round later to erect the huge inflatable Santa, Reindeer and sledge that goes on the roof!!!

Dan's Dad and the boys won't be here for Christmas so we're having our family Christmas lunch on the 21st. When the idea was first mooted I did panic thinking I would have to create a Xmas lunch fine enough for a king, but then, when the look of horror on my face was noticed, I was reassured by being told that the "Chefs" are coming to do that is the way to do a Christmas lunch!!! They even do the washing up...yippee!!! Apprently it's a team of three lovely gentlemen who come with everything, cook and serve it all, wash up, then leave!!! Fabulous!!!!

Now I've just looked at my present list (I have done that!) and there's only 33 names on it - that won't take me too long...will it?

Sunday 10 December 2006

Picture of me and Phoebe during our dressage test

here and then page using the arrows through the next three or four because they're us too!!!


Today has been just about the best day ever. I took my lovely Phoebe to a dressage competition at Merrist Wood in Guildford. After last time I was a bit nervous about loading her onto the trailer, and even more nervous about the dreaded cantering.

This week I have had some lessons from Angie, and Emma, 2 trained instructors who keep their horses at the same yard as me. Our usual instructor has broken her ankle after falling down a flight of stairs (drunk?)

Well, I can't begin to tell you the difference they have made to my riding and my confidence!!! It's been fantastic. A few simple hints and tips to do with the thighs (honestly!!!) and my cantering is transformed. It's now rythmical, and more importantly I can control the speed and the downward transition to trot - which previous was a complete shambles and invloved me nearly going straight over Phoebe's head.

We did a lovely test and I scored 0.8% of a mark less than Dan!!! I'm usually about 20% behind her. Of course - she said it's because Bugsy wasn't feeling his usual self etc etc (excuses). I didn't come last - in fact I was nowhere near last, and I am absolutely as pleased as punch. Dan isn't!!! If you check back again tomorrow I'll put a link to the photos of me and Phoebe in our finest hour!!!!

Afterwards I tied Phoebe to the trailer and she just stood there munching her way through a haynet for 2 hours until we were ready to go home. She's such a good girl.

I'll say it again - the more time I spend with my horse the less I like people!!!!

Monday 4 December 2006

Denzel does it again!

Following on from yesterday's post regarding the movie we watched last night.....due to the bad wind storms on saturday night we have no sky service and our dish still hasn't been sorted.

Off we went to Blockbuster to rent another movie. Tonight we watched this
Another great performance from Denzel Washington, and this time with Clive Owen (yum yum) Jodie Foster and Christopher Plummer, and directed by Spike Lee.

Another very good film that I can highly recommend.

Sunday 3 December 2006

A rather nice weekend!

We have had a lovely weekend. My cousin Richard got married to Julie on Saturday, so on Friday my Mum and her twin sister, Marguerita, and her husband, David came down. They called for lunch before heading up to Islington. Joseph came to stay for the weekend too, and then on Saturday afternoon my brother Frazer arrived. On Saturday night we went to the wedding party and a jolly good time was had by all. Much champagne, dancing and merry making was enjoyed!!!!

Today I enjoyed a riding lesson given by my friend Emma (who recently had a daughter and named her Phoebe, after my horse!!!) My usual instructor, Danny, has broken her ankle after falling down a flight of stairs whilst drunk!!!

Because of the storms last night our SKY isn't working and so tonight Dan and I watched this on DVD. The film was excellent, and starred Denzel Washington who is one of my all time favourites. I thoroughly recommend the movie, and if you can rent it from your video store it's well worth watching. Don't be put off by the rather naff title.

I'm also rather looking forward to a visit on Wednesday from my other brother Russell and his lady, Sarah, who are coming to stay for 48 hrs on their way to somewhere exotic via Gatwick for a well-earned pre-christmas holiday. (If they leave their car at our house they don't have to pay airport parking charges!!!..only kidding Russ!)

Beautiful New life