Tuesday, 23 December 2014

One Year...

Last December, I went to Totnes Christmas Market and got £20 from the cash machine. It gave me 4 very crisp, freshly printed £5 notes. It's not often that a cash machine gives out fivers so I was quite surprised and who doesn't love a new note?!

They were so crispy, I couldn't bring myself to spend them and for some bizarre reason, I've been carrying them around in my purse ever since! I don't even know how I haven't spent them in the last year.

When I went to Totnes Market a couple of weeks ago, I realised I still had them in my purse and that I was a complete saddo to have still got them a year later!

I wonder how long I can keep them in there for...


Monday, 22 December 2014

Brown Horse goes to a Gymkhana

On Sunday, my Riding Club held its annual Christmas Gymkhana. A Gymkhana is a series of different games/races played on horseback.
There were only 4 of us on horseback but there were quite a few spectators.

Everyone get all dressed up and humiliates their horses by dressing them up too!

Antlers and Fairy lights!
BH had his antlers on and fairy lights in his mane. I just had my red velvet hat cover and a Christmas jumper on. The lady that won the fancy dress painted her horse's hooves with sparkly red hoof oil and it was covered in tinsel and she was dressed as an elf.

Christmas Gymkhana
I like to say I just go along for fun but I definitely find myself getting over excited and rather competitive! This excitement transfers to the horse and it gets really exciting and a bit out of control then!!

 The games we did were:

The bending race - you have a series of cones or poles and you have to weave through them up to the end, turn round and weave through them on the way back. 
BH thought this game was great and he managed to win it although he was enjoying himself so much he didn't really want to listen to me telling him to steady up and slow down!

The potato race - you go thundering up to the far end or the arena where someone is standing holding out a potato. Try not to run the person down as you go round them and dash back to the start and drop the potato in a bucket. First to get their 3 potatoes in the bucket wins.
BH got way too excited at this one and nearly ran the poor helper over a couple of times and then trampled the bucket so I couldn't get the spud in it!
We didn't win this one because it ended up as a demolition derby and I can't remember which place we got.

The potato and spoon race - exactly like the egg and spoon race... but on a horse... at speed...
This is quite tricky to keep an eye on your potato and spoon and try to steer and control a horse that is enjoying himself way too much!
We managed it though and just scraped a win by a nose!

The sack race - race up to the far end, come back halfway, leap off your horse, climb/trip/fall into the world's smallest potato sack and leap down the arena and across the line.
I kept getting the heel of my boots caught on the bag so wasn't very quick! I think we might have come second but I wasn't keeping track of the scores. I was having too much fun!

Chase me Charlie - this is a game where they set out a single jump and everyone jumps it once then it goes up a notch. It keeps going up and up until there is only one person left in. If your horse refuses or knocks it down, you're out.
I had intended only to pop it a couple of times as BH isn't really supposed to jump due to his arthritis. He was absolutely flying and he felt so good. We got very competitive and ended up coming joint first at a height of around 3 foot! Oops! But it was so much fun! BH has done some really small (max 1ft) jumps over the summer but he hasn't really jumped for about 4 or 5 years so to have him flying something huge was amazing!
I will now be monitoring his arthritis closely with a view to letting him perhaps do a little bit more jumping next summer. He is a bit wild so I'll be keeping it to a very low level and preferably in a contained area!

We had a great afternoon and will be back next year to defend our title!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Pictures from my iPhone

I've been taking quite a few pictures on my phone whilst I've been out and about recently so I thought I'd share some of them here!

Tree in the garden that looks like it might not last much longer!

Leaves in the garden. 

Pretty leaves and scruffy dog

Lovely autumnal colours in the garden

The pond in late afternoon sun

Ombre tree in the garden

I don't even know...

This dog is weird

Brother's car in Hope Cove - Dad and I borrowed it

Hacking down our lane

Lovely crisp morning on a bridleway

Stream crossing ahead!

Nice horse, nice view!

Can't beat a crisp winter morning ride!

Woodland dog walk

River in the late afternoon sun on our woodland dog walk

Reflection in the river on our woodland dog walk.

Health and Safety?! This is how we do it in Devon!!

House in the village. Raises hundreds for charity every year.

Spot the pathetic dog...

The view from our barn at work. Not bad... not bad!

This dog has no respect for my personal space...

Office dogs under the desk.

Really bright moon

Cat pretending to be a dog...

The dogs are terrified of this!

First Aga fatality of the season. Very well roasted vegetables!

Beautiful December sunrise

Stunning December sunrise over the horses' field.


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Don't mention the C-word!

Don't say it... 
The C- word... you know... Christmas 
Oh OK... as it is now December, you can say it!

No one is allowed to mention the C-word until December. I don't understand people who go crazy in November... seriously people.... get a grip!
It bugs me that the shops put Christmas stuff out in September when it's still sunny and warm (usually!)

We don't do Christmas in a big way at all. We'll go and dig the tree up around the 21st or something this year I expect. 
We usually get a big real tree that goes in the hallway by the stairs.
One year we didn't get a tree or do Christmas so I dug out my horrible little artificial tree from when I was at uni and set it up in the hallway where the tree usually goes. It looked pathetic at about only 3 foot high when we usually have a huge tree! but it was quite funny! That year I also got a "Happy un-Christmas" card from my best friend.

Mother's birthday is on Christmas Eve so it's pretty rubbish and very stressful for her! I always threaten to buy her a pair of boots or something and give her one on her birthday and make her wait until Christmas Day for the other! My best friend has actually done this to her mum whose birthday is on the 17th December haha!!

Every year, I put antlers on the horses' bridles which amuses me and makes people laugh at them when we're out and about!
They are good for getting traffic to slow down as well!
Fern the reindeer
BH competing in a Christmas gymkhana
Last year was our first Christmas with the dogs so they got a Santa outfit and a reindeer outfit. This year they have got actual Christmas jumpers that I found in Peacocks! I was looking for an outfit for a posh dinner but came home with just these instead!
Christmas jumpers! 
She hates it
Christmas Eve this year will be spent (weather permitting) riding the horses and walking the dogs. 
Late afternoon on Christmas Eve there is a carol service in one of the churches in town. It is not a religious service and it is just a really good sing song! It is so popular, you have to get there about an hour early to bag some seats!

We have a bit of a get together at our house on Christmas Eve with all of the neighbours and we get very er... merry(!!) There are only about 6 houses in the hamlet we live in so it's nice to get everyone together. We'll cook a big lasagne or something and obviously there will be a selection of delicious puddings!

House in the nearby village. He raises thousands for charity each year doing this.

Christmas Day will be like any other day. I'll get up and go and feed the animals and ride the horses. Weather dependent, I might go to the beach but I imagine it will be far too busy and I will just go a different route instead!

Bh with lights in his mane and all dressed up.
We will try and take the doggies for a nice walk somewhere. If I can get the horses ridden in time, it would be nice to go up on the moors but we shall have to see!

Mother and I are off to a local hotel for Christmas dinner this year. We went last year as it was just the two of us and it was amazing! 7 courses or something ridiculous and only £30 a head!

We are very much looking forward to that again this year! Mother has declared in an exasperated manner that she cannot go all day on Christmas Day without drinking (I know...) so that means I will be driving.

We will probably open our presents when we get back from dinner as I suspect we will probably be busy running round feeding the animals and getting clean and ready to go out for dinner beforehand!

Boxing Day will hopefully be bright and lovely and I will go hunting for the day. We meet in the town centre and I usually go crazy and put fairy lights in Fern's mane as well as her wearing her antlers. I don't rate tinsel unfortunately. It looks naf and the colour comes out when the horse sweats (as I have discovered in the past - oooops!)

We don't get into Christmas too much and there's no Christmas spirit in our household (except the alcoholic variety of course!)

We will snooze in front of the fire and watch trashy telly but that is probably only because there's nothing else to do and we don't want to disturb our friends when they're spending the day with their families haha!

Do you go crazy for Christmas?? 

Bah Humbug!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Cut off...

Mother and I took the dogs to the beach on Sunday for a nice walk. 

There were too many people down there, it was hellish - just like summer! Gah! I do hate that!
It was a drag getting down there due to the number of cars coming in the opposite direction and when we got down there, the car park was full! 
It was a Sunday and the weather was quite nice but still... bad choice for Mother and I who hate busy places!

We got onto the beach and it seemed that most of the people were in the sea (crazy fools!) and it wasn't too crowded on the beach luckily.
The dogs ran around like crazy things and we played a bit of ball.

Over the summer, a sort of sand bar/island has been created on the beach between the main beach and the sea. It's been made by the movement of the water, not man made or anything. 

At one end, I could see the surfers wading through the channel about waist height to get to the main surf. At the other end of the island, there was no water, just sand so we walked over onto this sand bar/island. 

On the mini island, near the bigger island!
As we were walking along towards the deeper end, the dogs were playing in the surf and the little waves were trickling in. One wave came in and it seemed to come in a good 2 metres further than the previous one which I thought was really strange and we could see all the air bubbling out of the sand.
I just happened to look back to the other end of the island where we had joined it to see no sand... just water.. and a lady wading back to the main beach trying not to let the water over the top of her wellies!
Crap! Seriously... Sh*t!

We quick marched/jogged back to where we had joined the island where we knew it was shallow and started wading back to the main beach which was a bloody long way away.. or so it seemed!
I took my phone out of my pocket and held it thinking how people fall over with drinks in their hand and don't spill their drinks - if I stack it, hopefully I won't get my phone wet!
The dogs has to swim and the water was over our wellies about knee deep... all in the space of 5 minutes!

Dixie hates water so having to swim was the most hellish ordeal for her... She swam over to me and nearly tripped me over as she wanted picking up but I was just thinking "save yourself, dog!" hahaha!
Don't worry, she was perfectly safe and she's just a wimp. I wouldn't have let anything happen to her. 
Monty of course, just got on with it and swam back to shore.

Once we were back on the mainland (!!) there was a lot of relief and the dogs went charging off to dry off and warm up. 
Some people had seen us wading back and said they were worried they might have had to come and rescue us!

We emptied our boots out and squelched back along the beach trying to get our heart rates and adrenaline under control again.

I'm sure it wouldn't bother most people but I'm not a fan of the sea really, it's very powerful and very scary... as was proven on Sunday!


Monday, 24 November 2014

Doggy Fat Fighters!

Poor little Monty is on a diet.
He is not happy about this and it is so hard when he stares at you through the furry fringe with those lovely brown eyes like we've totally betrayed him.

We have increasingly been receiving comments on how fat he is but we didn't think he was that fat. He's fit as a fiddle and doesn't always eat his food and he doesn't get many treats. They get plenty of walks and nothing has changed in his routine.
It is since he was given the snip earlier this year and it is a well known side effect that they tend to get a little erm... portlier!

We have been having a "guess the weight of Monty" with people who come round.
My vet nurse friend got closest. she guessed 11.5kg and he was 11.4kg when I weighed him last week.
We want him to be around the 9-10 kilo mark so we've got a little way to go!

That makes 2 of us on a diet then! Maybe Monty and I will have to have our weekly weigh in on the same day!


Friday, 21 November 2014

Wintery Beach Walk

A couple of weeks ago, I finished work about an hour early and was able to make the most of the time by taking the doggies for a walk in daylight!

We headed down to our local beach which we haven't been able to go to since before the summer season.

The doggies were so excited and Monty was whining while I was driving across the car park. I wasn't l letting him out quick enough!!

We strolled onto the beach and Dixie went streaking off as fast as lightning and Monty just tried to keep up!

They had a lovely time racing about playing and chasing each other. Dixie got scared when a big greyhound decided he wanted to play too. She's fine as long as she wins. If she can't win then she gets scared and hates it. She came running over and hid behind my legs... What a wimp!

We walked along to the far end of the beach saying hello to the few other dog walkers that were enjoying the late afternoon sun in a break from the awful weather we've been having recently.

Monty managed to find someone's lost tennis ball so we had to have lots of games but it unfortunately meant I had to touch a wet soggy and most importantly sandy ball! I hate sand! Monty had a nice time though so it was ok.

We just enjoyed our stroll on the beach and the dogs had a great time and a really good run.

We got home just in time to feed the sheep and the horses while it was still light so my helpers erm... didn't really help but they came and got in the way as usual!

We will be looking forward to many more refreshing beach walks over the winter!


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Power, Light, Sound... and toilets!

I have spent the last 2 weeks trying to get organised for the next wedding season... 

Basically, I have been booking toilets, generators, sound systems and lighting rigs for all the events. My job is just too cool sometimes! 

I can tell you all about the different toilet options on offer and am on first name terms with all the local hire companies.

Thankfully I have got to the end of my list of loos and generators and just need to sort out the slightly less important hires....

A good job jobbed and I can now keep on top of the new contracts that come in over the winter and fingers crossed next season goes without a toilet related hitch! 

Do you have anything particularly super cool about your job?!


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Take That!

I have just bought tickets to go and see Take That at the O2 Arena in June next year!!

I know they're only a threesome now but I have seen them live on their last 2 tours and they always put on the most spectacular show so I have high hopes!
Gary Barlow on The Circus tour
I might even have to see if we can fit in a visit to the Olympic Park and the Dalston Yard Street Feast while we're there.... Hmmmm

Lots of planning to do!


Life Lately

Well I've been ticking along, busy as ever.
Nothing much happens but a few things are worth mentioning....

  • We have booked our horsey camp again! So excited for August 2015! It is nearly a whole year away so we are having to control ourselves but we do get very excited every time we think about it!!

  • I am doing a photography course with a local camera club. It is so difficult not using the "auto" settings on my DSLR! I have got a few good pics though and I'm experimenting with all the different settings.

  • Learning to use Photoshop Elements - I can now change the size of an image! Go me!
Reflection in a puddle on Dartmoor
  • Visit to London to the Tower of London - beautiful poppies and super sparkly crown jewels! Up and back to London in a day from Devon is very tiring though!
Amazing poppies
  • Catching up with a friend I haven't seen for months. She cracks me up and we had a lovely walk followed by the biggest cream tea in the most lovely hotel.

  • My friend's 30th Birthday party - planning what to do for mine next year.

  • Hallowe'en at our neighbour's house. The dogs got dressed up and came with us!
Yeah.... She hated it!
  • Hunting! I have subscribed to a local hunt for this season and must make sure I get out a bit more to make the most of my membership.
Hunting on the moor
Dartmoor is the most stunning and beautiful place. I rarely ride up there so it is amazing to be able to ride there. I wouldn't want to be up there on a miserable day though. I imagine it is very scary then!

Barren landscape!
  • Work has gone nice and quiet now so I can finally catch up and get ready for next wedding season! I am ploughing through the big pile of documents on my desk!

  • My friend has just taken over tenancy of some land for her horse. She's bought a little pony called Paddy to keep Zak company and he's super cute!

I had the tour of the "estate" and we were getting all excited and making plans!

  • BH's rider has given up which is such a shame as she got on so well with him and took a massive load off my shoulders.
I am on the search for a new rider for him to help pay the bills and keep him ridden and happy.
I can't sell him as Fern needs company and also... who'd have him?!

  • These awesome Disco Beads my friend got me. They have magical properties I'm sure!

Magical Disco Beads!

So what's new with you?