Tuesday, 30 January 2007

One day left

Tomorrow is the final filing day for tax returns for the tax year 2005-2006. If, like me, you haven't started yours yet - you'd better spend the day today making sure that it's done!!! I wonder how long it's going to take me?

I dislike the tax man almost as much as I dislike traffic wardens. Other people/organisations that I dislike intently are....British Gas (think of a number and then double it, double it again and send her the bill - ha ha ha) Petrol stations (daylight robbery) staffed by ignorant folk who won't look you in the eye as they swipe £50 off your switch card...so rude!, NPower (3 days to get through - always held in a queue listening to crap music...."your call is important to us but we are currently experiencing delays. Please hold......") Whoever it is that runs the speed camera network, and snotty show secretarys at show jumping and dressage events (most of them are lovely but there's one or two who get power crazed when handed an entry list and a ball point pen). I also dislike pensioners, and mums with small children in supermarkets - especially during the lunch hour rush or after 6pm..they have all day to do their shopping so why are they meandering round when people who work nip in during their lunch hour or after work? and finally cheeky people on the roads who "nip" out in front of you from a side road when you are in a slow queue...if they wait patiently I will let them out but if they poke their nose out and inch forward I shout at them and don't let them out!!!!

That's all I can think of on my list of "people I dislike as much as the tax man" but I'm sure there's more. Anyway, can't stop, got a tax return to fill in and send off!!!

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Just for Christian



It's a Range Rover Sport (Diesel) and if you look very carefully you can just see that it has the trailer attached (which I just managed to hitch up all by myself). As you can see the car is verrrry dirty! That's because it is a working vehicle and it goes to the farm every day. No gold shoes round here!

A New family Member

We have a new addition to "La Familia". My cousin Jeremy and his lovely lady Liz are pleased to announce the birth of their first son. He was born just after midnight on Thursday morning. Apparently the labour was long and difficult (ouch) and it was very stressful for both Liz and Jeremy.

When I spoke to my Auntie Mimi (proud Grandma) on Thursday the little tot hadn't been given a name...so I don't know yet what he's called.

Congratulations Jeremy and Liz!!

Saturday

I am pleased to tell you that the new vehicle is absolutely covered in dirty filthy sticky yucky mud. I am thinking of cleaning it today - but as I'd rather sit on my backside and watch TV - it'll probably stay dirty. It's better that way - because I would hate to look like one of those wealthy Weybridge housewives who have a huge monster car just to take the kids to school...the closest they get to off-roading is when they park on a grass verge!!! Mind you - I dare not add up what I have spent on fuel this week - that car drinks diesel like the late great George Best used to drink booze! And when did the price of diesel become higher than the price of petrol? the last time I looked it was half the price!

Yesterday Gabby, Emma 1 and Rebecca from the yard went to Guildford to take part in a dressage competition. They needed someone to 'read' the test for them and help with fetching numbers from the secretary etc - so Emma 2 and I went in the big car with the heated seats to help out. It was really nice to be able to go and watch without having to worry about riding myself - or trying to sort out a stressed Dan and Bugsy (she is in Prague this weekend - probably freezing to death!) We had bacon butties and hot chocolate (it was verrrry cold) - watched the ladies warming up their horses, and then watched them ride the test. Gabby's horse "Noble Dream" was very good and found a new gear from somewhere as he is normally so laid back! Emma's horse "Rosie" went really well - but poor Becky's horse "Megan" was nothing short of 'Equine bitch from hell'. At the end of the test - when you perform the perfect square halt you are meant to smile at the judge....well, I've never seen so many 'strained' smiles!!!! Hilarious!!

We had a lovely morning out - then Emma and I went to the big tack shop next door as I wanted to browse the riding boots. Unfortunately I couldn't find anything I liked....so came home empty handed.....Yes, I went to a horse shop and didn't spend any money - Bizarre!!!

Later in the afternoon I had a riding lesson - which went well - we are struggling with our downward 'canter-trot' transitions...I almost went straight over her head!!

Today I am taking the trailer to an industrial estate (if I can find one) to practise reversing. All by myself - yikes!!!

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

It'll be a bit longer until I get the hang of reversing!!!

I've just woken up to see a blanket of snow...yikes...it's about 3 inches thick!!! Our drive is incredibly steep so I'm very glad indeed that I have the new car to get up the drive - because my little Mazda Mx-5 (which is sitting ignored on the corner of the drive) simply wouldn't be able to get to the top.

Yesterday I went with Adrian to have my trailer towing lesson. Forwards was no problem at all - you just need to keep over to the centre white line as the trailer is wider that the vehicle, and obviously go quite a bit more slowly (30mph on ordinary roads and no faster than 50mph on dual carriageways and motorways). You need to brake more carefully - beacuse obviously you don't want to throw the horses around in the back. When turning out of a junction - you just need to go a bit further into the road before you start the turn. Last year I drove a lorry and it's a bit like that...easy peasy!

Reversing, however is a whole other story!!! We got asked to leave a Golf Club car park (they had some very nice white lines to practise going straight!) You turn the wheel to reverse in a certain direction and the trailer goes the opposite way...a bit like trying to rub your tummy and pat your head at the same time. I was fine if I turned round and looked behind me - but using the mirrors was so difficult. Also if you move the steering wheel more than a gnat's cock - the trailer exagerates it massively. So you have to hardly move the steering wheel at all.

After about 3 hours my brain was tired and we had to give up - but I half-way got the hang of it, and Adrian has left me with 4 cones and instructions to find a deserted industrial estate car park on Sunday...and practise, practise practise!!!

And to answer Victoria's question - I DO NOT DRIVE MY CAR WEARING GOLD SHOES!!! Au contraire, I was wearing muddy boots as I am a real countryside girl and therefore should have a 4-wheel drive! It is not a "Chelsea Tractor" - but a very useful tool which we need to be able to get the horses to competitions. The fact that it has heated leather seats, and a 6 disc interchanger is totally irrelevant!!! I'll tell you what though, people stay right out of your way when you're driving it!!! Other vehicles wait patiently and give way to me all the time - it's great!!!

Sunday, 21 January 2007

I have to learn a new set of skills!!

Last year Dan asked her Dad for a trailer and 4 wheel drive car so we can get Bugsy to competitions. We've had the trailer for 9 months but have had no 4 wheel drive. So we have a very nice man called Adrian who tows the trailer (with the horse inside) to competitions. We go somewhere at least once a week, so he's become a family friend.

On Friday I finally took delivery of the 4 wheel drive so now I have to learn to tow the trailer for myself!!! Adrian has agreed to teach me on Tuesday. Watch this space!! I'm sure it's not going to be easy!!!!

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Result!!!!

Driving home from work late this afternoon through the traffic during the very strong winds. Traffic warden walking along the pavement. Strong gust of wind....traffic warden's hat blew off...I drove over it, and crushed it to death.

RESULT!!!!

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Great Day

Today I had my windows repaired - the hinges were sprained back in October so I haven't been able to open them since then and I love to sleep with the bedroom window open.Lots of fresh air tonigh - yippee!!! (doesn't take a lot to keep me happy!)

Tomorrow I'm off to meet a gentleman for coffee (I'll let you know how it goes, of course) and tonight whilst riding Phoebe after weeks of trying for "Shoulder-in" we finally got it right - and it felt great!!! For those of you who want to know what "Shoulder-in" is - click here for an explanation. Basically it's an exercise to encourage engagement and give lightness to the horse. I nearly cried when we got it right as it felt wonderful. Next thing to learn is "Traverse". A boring management meeting was cancelled this afternoon so that meant I could go home early...yippee - free time!!!

So all in all not a bad day. Oh yes, and then tonight I watched "Judge John Deed" which I love!!!

Saturday, 13 January 2007

Night Night

Today I have cleaned my car...it was very dirty as the lane to our stables is quite muddy and I drive a bit too fast!!! Not ten minutes after I put the bucket and sponge and jet wash machine away, a great big bird who had clearly been eating lots of purple berries did a big purple "bird poo" all over it...typical!!

I also rode Phoebe tonight in very breezy (gale force 10) conditions - but no drama stories to report as she was as good as gold (such a sweetheart). She has been out in the field today, but no longer gets covered in mud as she now has a "Snoogy Hood" body - basically a big lycra body suit which covers every part of her apart from her legs. It's not very flattering - lycra rarely is on a woman of her advanced years, but it does the trick!!!


Oh yes, I've also had a message from a nice man called "Simon" from Guildford - he seems nice, so I might reply tomorrow!!

Then after dinner I fell asleep on the sofa and have just woken up in the middle of an old episode of "Baywatch"...salute the Hoff. Off to bed then - tomorrow may be more exciting!!!

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Too much rain makes too much mud

It never stops raining these days and as a result our pasture is muddy. The actual grazing fields are ok but the path between them is awful. There's thick gloopy mud which sucks your wellies off your legs. On Sunday afternoon Dan and I had to go down to the field to poo pick (you have to collect the horse poo so that the worm burden on the pasture is reduced - very technical!)

Anyway, my wellies got stuck, I tried to move my legs, nearly fell over, and I grabbed the electric fence for support! Zap Zap..scream scream....zap zap...heart attack...scream...zap...fall over in six inches of gloopy mud. Daughter laughing hysterically.

Can't wait for the summer.

DIY Stable Matting

Yesterday my new stable matting arrived. But the numbskull delivery driver took it to next door (riding school) where some stupid employee signed for it - despite it having my name and the wrong address on it. This meant that I had a half ton pallet nowhere near where I needed it to be!!! So I had to go and unpack all 6 sheets of 2 inch thick rubber - each one measuring 6' by 4' and weighing a ridiculous amount, and very floppy, and bring it on a wheelbarrow round to our stable yard. This took about 2 hours, it was chucking it down with rain (water shortage? you're having a laugh aren't you?) I only swore a few times, and not very loudly. Then it had to be fitted. When I ordered it, I measured my stable floor and gave the exact measurements and was assured it would fit - but hey, what's an extra 12 inches of rubber between friends? 6 Hours, 3 stanley knives and much wailing and gnashing of teeth later Phoebe's stable had a lovely new green rubber floor. She came in fronm the field, took one look and at first refused point blank to enter the stables as the floor had changed colour, then she spotted the food in the corner and there was no holding her back. Of course, the floor now has added "bounce" so that was quite funny as she discovered the new feeling beneath her feet - but the food won - and she walked in eventually!!!

Her face was a picture as she explored - snorting and blowing and generally stressing about the new green bouncy floor!!! I could do with rubber matting of my own because I could not get my sore back out of bed this morning, and typing this is difficult as my right hand has permanently taken on the grip required to hold a stanley knife.

I think next time I'll get a little man in.

Saturday, 6 January 2007

Message from Man on dating website.

This is a message I received from somebody who had seen my profile on a dating website. I feel really sorry for the guy but let's face it....I'm not THE ONE for him, am I? I have enough trouble with my own hips - ask my riding instructor!!!!

Description:

Balding , bespectacled, friendly, an introverted extrovert . Interested in the cinema ,theatre watching ARSENAL FC , WATCHING AND FOLLOWING county cricket. Enjoys eating out( mainly because I CANNOT COOK. I HAVE NOT BEEN INTIMATE WITH A WOMAN FOR 15 YEARS . I HAD A DOUBLE HIP REPLACEMENT WHICH MADE THINGS A BIT AWKWARD. READY TO START A FULL RELATIONSHIP AGAIN. any red blooded woman out there?

Shopping in the Sales

Please don't be confused and imagine for one minute that I have braved the High Street, or the out of town Shopping Mall (Meadowhall? Ugh!)...No, No, No, I have been busily spending my Christmas Bonus on things for the neddies (well, Phoebe anyway) and being a modern woman I have been doing this on-line. So far since Christmas I have ordered and have had delivered some new dressage stirrup leathers (single thickness for extra leg contact...don't ask!)and some trimmers from "Ride-away", two books about equitation from Amazon, a three-part DVD and book about the perfect "seat" and some rubber matting for Phoebe's stable floor (that's being delivered on a pallet on Monday).

I love shopping on line - because you get two "highs" instead of the normal one when you get things from a shop. You get the first "hit" when you place your order, and then you get the second "hit" a couple of days later when it is delivered. There's also something wierdly anonymous about it too. The company gets an order, not knowing anything about the person who has placed it, and then they send out the stuff, not knowing who it is going to! That appeals to me for some reason which I do not understand!!!