Thursday, 31 July 2014

A weekend in London

Yes... This weekend I am going to be a tourist in LDN!

I haven't been to London since March when I went to the Harry Potter studios with my best buddy.
This time we're going to Buckingham Palace
 Buckingham Palace (Source)
My best buddy got me an amazing Harry Potter Film Wizardry book for my birthday so I wanted to get her something brilliant for her birthday. She had mentioned about going to Buckingham Palace so, with the help of her Mum, we have organised a weekend in London and a trip round the Queen's house! 

She was so excited when she got her invite. Phew! All the planning was worth it!
Our Mums are coming too so it'll be a nice little getaway.

I went to the Palace last year and it was great. The tickets are around £20 so not crazy expensive.
The gift shop and cafe are expensive though!!

We're also planning to go to the Street Feast as recommended by Alice and Bess and we're hoping to fit in a visit to Vauxhall City Farm as well - you can't take farmers to the big city and not visit a city farm!  

I'm really looking forward to it!


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Review.... The RAC

My car broke down on me on Saturday.... I hate cars...

I was sat in traffic on a boiling hot day and I went to pull away from the traffic lights and had absolutely no power. My car was doing about 5 mph... great... it's gone into limp mode...

I crept along the road and into an industrial estate where I was off the main road and safe. I was in Plymouth so nowhere near home.

First port of call.... ring Daddy...
He was busy... great...

I have been a member of the RAC for about 5 years (since I've owned this car) and have used them several times. I'm on first name terms with them...

I rang them and was on hold for about 15 minutes before they answered...... could have been worse I suppose...
I told them what was wrong and where I was etc and they told me it would be about 1 - 1.5hrs until they could get to me.... They usually tell you this so I always hope they'll get there quickly.

The first time I had to use them was when I used to work in Plymouth. I'd managed to get my car to work so rang them in the afternoon so I could get home.
They answered immediately, the mechanic was there within 30 minutes and the recovery lorry was about 30 minutes after that and I was on my way! Seriously impressed with the service!

Sadly, since then, the service hasn't been quite so good!
I can't fault their staff. The call centre are always lovely, the mechanics are lovely and the recovery lorry drivers are lovely.

The length of time I have had to wait has really tarnished things for me.

The last time I broke down was last winter. I was 10 miles from home, it was absolutely freezing, pitch dark and my alternator had gone which is the bit that charges the battery. I had no lights, no power and very limited steering. 
I rang them and told them it was the alternator and then had to wait around 2 hours until a mechanic arrived. He tapped the alternator with a hammer and told me my alternator was dead. I KNOW!! The car told me and I already knew it was on its way out!
He then had to arrange for a lorry to collect me and it was another 2 hours before that turned up as they'd sent it all the way from the depths of Cornwall. 70 miles away! What a joke!
I was so cold, a female on my own, on a pitch black country road. Not impressed!

This time, having been told it would be 1-1.5 hours wait for a mechanic, I then got a call after the 1.5hrs had gone to tell me it was going to be another 2 hours until they could get to me. That's just to diagnose my car... what if I needed a lorry home again?! 
At this point I was in tears on the verge. A boiling hot day, needing to get home to my animals and it was just tears of pure frustration because I couldn't do anything about the situation.

I got on twitter and ended up in touch with their customer care centre.
They seemed to be concerned and tried to find out what was going on.
In the end I spoke to them again on the phone and told them I needed to get home for some medication (slight lie... but I was desperate) and funnily enough an orange van appeared within 15 minutes!

He plugged his computer in, cleared the error messages and I was on my way within 10 minutes. 4 hours from breaking down to getting home - not very impressed!

I must mention here that one of my best friends dropped everything and drove 30 miles out to rescue me. We were going to just go and have a coffee or something but she arrived at the same time as the RAC man. She followed me home and we sat in the garden for a bit.
She's a great friend and I'm very lucky to have her in my life.

Apologies for the massive rant! I hate cars....

In conclusion.... 2.5 out of 5.....

Their customer service is great but the waiting times are much too long. I know they prioritise people but if you tell me one time, stick to it! I am a reasonable person and although 1.5 hours is annoying, it's bearable. 4 hours is not acceptable.

I will be shopping around at renewal time and see if I can get a company that will guarantee they can get someone to me within 1.5 hours or better.

And I'll also be looking for a new car....


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Sometimes I do wonder....

Why I have horses!!!

My babies
On Sunday they were testing my patience and being little monsters!

I wanted to take Fern up round the village for a quick spin around some stubble fields.
I didn't bother bringing them both into the yard so i just took my stuff in the wheelbarrow to the field.
I had to con them into coming over by waving their dinner bowls at them to catch Fern.
I managed to brush her and saddle up fairly easily. BH was trying to wind her up by nipping her over the fence. He's so annoying!

Fern knows how to stand alongside the gate so I can climb up and get on but this occasion she was being very naughty and kept swinging her bum out so she was 90 degrees to the gate so I couldn't get on. It took nearly 10 minutes of discussion with her for me to eventually scramble on. What a madam!
She was then on her toes as we quick marched up the lane. Normally she's happy to just mooch but she was on a mission! 
I have come to the conclusion that she forgets what the outside world looks like if I haven't ridden for several days. 
She was scared of a lump of bracken that was hanging out of the hedge so we had to do a wall of death past it whilst she was snorting and farting... *rolls eyes*

We got up onto the main road ok but she then decided she wanted nothing to do with the road markings or the vehicles parked on the road so we had a dance and a prance along the road. Thankfully the traffic could see I was struggling a bit so they gave us plenty of space. Thank you good people! 

We got to the stubble fields and just had an absolute blast! We love those fields and I've been keeping an eye out for when they started harvest so I could ring the farmer and ask permission to ride around them. I always ask him every year as I think it is good manners, rather than just assuming I can.

Fern went like a little rocket! You can forget about how frustrating horses can be when you're galloping flat out with the wind in your face on a beautiful summer's evening.
There is absolutely no better place to be in the world!
In the stubble fields last summer
She was all excited then so we had to jog all the way home which is ok for about a minute then it gets annoying. Just walk dagnammit! 

When we got back, I put all my stuff back into the wheelbarrow which BH then tipped over from the other side of the fence...... *siiiigh*

He's such an ASBO horse sometimes! 
I then put what was left of their fly rugs on and put Fern back in the field.

I was being watched by Monty the whole time from the top of our driveway....

BH is already in his spare fly rug because he ripped his other one badly and now he's ripped this one as well!

*siiiiigh* Fly rug number 2 bites the dust

Fern's has got enormous rips in so I will have a fun time stitching them all up at some point...... *siiiigh*

More rip than rug!
Another massive tear in the neck cover...
They'll no doubt end up with new ones for next summer but they're going to have to stay in these ones this year. I'm not made of money! 

Their other favourite hobbies that make me question my sanity are:

- Breaking the fence (Fern with her giant bottom)
- Getting stuck in the fence and needing to be cut out (BH)
- Not wanting to be caught. Just letting me get close enough and then galloping off when I extend my hand towards them. Gits!
- Not coming when they're called. They're on 17 acres of grazing so I prefer not to tramp around trying to find them!
- Trashing the stables (Fern mostly)
- Switching the lights on and off (BH)
- Jumping across the road because they've seen their shadow following them along the hedge (Fern)
- "helping" by tipping things over, pulling rugs off the doors etc etc (BH)
- Not going in the trailer (Fern - but she's getting better)

Bless them! They do push my buttons sometimes but I love them really and I can't imagine life without them. It would be very dull!

Sun down over my stables


Friday, 25 July 2014

The Summer Tag

I have been so busy recently, I've been struggling to sit down and write some decent blog posts.
I've been managing the pretty uninteresting day to day bits and bobs but nothing interesting for you!

Work is crazy busy at the moment and I spend all day sat in front of a computer and the last thing I want to do when I get in, is open up my laptop!
I like to go and sit in the garden and potter about. I rarely watch TV (except Commando School... seriously... watch it... especially episode 1... you'll thank me later!) I'd much rather listen to music while I do other things.

On Wednesday, I spent the day in Plymouth on an Emergency First Aid course. Those dummies are the creepiest things but it was in an air conditioned room and it was very interesting and we had a few laughs.
My Pony Club bandaging badge stood me in good stead!

First Aid training...

I also decided (stupidly) to put my car through the car wash on the hottest day... No windows open, no fan blowing... I was sweating and the windows steamed up! 
My car hasn't been that clean for years though! 

Car Wash!

Car wash
Last night I got in from work, popped into town for some bits then sat in the garden in shorts and vest! I had my dinner al fresco and read Harry Potter on my kindle.
I took the dogs over the field to feed the horses which then turned into an hour of hunting for both horses fly masks!
I then retreated back to my comfy seat in the garden with a pint of Pimms and read HP until it got dark.

Yesterday I was reading Michelle's blog and discovered she'd tagged me in The Summer Tag so here goes!

1. What's your favourite thing about summer? 
Probably all the local events that are on. There's something to choose from pretty much every weekend! The local music festival is always good and I love a local fete with a dog show or something. I'm looking forward to the vintage rally in August.

Late evening walk on a quiet beach
2. Do you have a favourite summer drink? 
Cider! Preferably Rattler though. If it's during the day and alcohol is not appropriate... lemonade or orange squash.

3. Is there a location you prefer to go to in the summer?
 Anywhere where there are no or minimal numbers of people. Most places are swarming with grockles and brats so I usually don't go anywhere in summer because I have a very low tolerance of morons and arrogant people who think they own the place because they have a holiday home here they visit for a couple of weeks a year. (Blood pressure rising just thinking about it). Don't even get me started on their driving! I turn into a bit of a hermit in summer to save my sanity!

4. Favourite makeup look for summer? 
I don't wear makeup. You're more likely to find horse fly repellent and horse slobber on my face!

5. Dresses or Skirts? 
Neither - Shorts, cropped trousers or jeans. If I'm in a dress, I'm going to a wedding or something.

6. Sandals or Ballet pumps? 
Tricky one... I usually wear trainers or riding boots and sometimes even wellies! I do own ballet pumps and deck shoes which I usually wear for work. I'm actually currently wearing sandals but it is rare because they are not practical when you have over half a ton of metal shod animals stomping around you! 

Inappropriate footwear for being around horses!
7. Do you prefer to wear your hair up or down for summer? 
My hair is always up... 24/7. I can't stand it flapping around my face and because it is so darned curly and fine, it gets in a massive knot so I keep it tied up all the time. I only usually wear it down if I'm going out somewhere where I have to make an effort!

8. Deep smoky eyes or bold lips? 
Neither because I don't wear makeup. Red, itchy, puffy eyes from hay fever are all the rage in summer though!

9. Favourite perfume for summer? 
Eau de equine fly repellent or eau de cheval! 
No perfumes for me unless I'm going out somewhere and even then I usually forget. I have Avon Scentini Plum Twist which is nice and light and doesn't linger too long. Overpowering perfumes make me feel sick. I also have some Fragonard perfumes which are lovely but I always forget to use them. I'll probably still have them in 20 years time!

10. Last but not least, favourite music for the summer?
I like most of what's on the radio. I love Pirate FM down here because they play such a huge selection of brilliant songs. 
It depends what mood I'm in really. I like a bit of Jack Johnson, Ben Howard (often seen in a nearby pub), Bruno Mars etc. My iPod is on shuffle all at the moment so I'm listening to all sorts!

If you want to take part in this tag, please do! It's been fun, although you now know that I'm a total antisocial pleb. I'm rubbish at being all girly and I'm all about practical!

Leave a link below if you do this tag!

Monday, 21 July 2014

A very British weekend!

The first part of my weekend was Friday evening. I went to the Royal Marines 350th Birthday Proms in Plymouth.
Sooooo many lovely young men in uniform!! 
We went with our friends and neighbours and had a picnic on the pitch (it was at Plymouth Albion rugby club).

Starters were individual, foil wrapped bowls of carrot sticks, hummus and smoked salmon and a bag of crisps... Interesting!

My other neighbour is an excellent cook and a real feeder and oh my! She didn't disappoint!
She had made us each an enormous pasty. Apparently they were medium size!! It took up the entire plate! They were nice and hot too. Yummy.
We had taken a big roasted vegetable couscous salad for sharing which always goes down well at picnics.
For pudding, we had a huge bowl of strawberries and an obscenely large dollop of clotted cream with a bit of cake.
We weren't allowed to take glass in so all our alcohol was decanted into water bottles beforehand. Classy!
There was also tea and coffee and yet more home made cakes and biscuits.... we could barely get out of our seats we were so full up!

The Plymouth Military Wives choir sang and they were great. Sadly no Gareth Malone though!
Plymouth Military Wives Choir
There was also a spitfire flypast which was so exciting!
The marines did a demonstration of their fighting which was scary! They are so tough! 
The RM band was fantastic and we enjoyed some brilliant music, traditional as well as a bit of Queen! 

Corps of Drums
The highlight for me was the saxophone soloist. Wow! He was brilliant!

They showed videos on the stage screens during the music from War Horse and it really was quite emotional and really brings it home how many people sacrificed so much for our freedom and how brave they were. Incredible people.

A light sprinkling of rain made everyone don their coats and ponchos but thankfully it didn't come to anything worse.

There was lots of Union flag waving, and it was brilliant! A thoroughly enjoyable evening with great friends.

Saturday morning was really lazy. I didn't get up til 9 and then just dossed about until I went to meet my friend and her little boy for breakfast at a local cafe.
When I got back, I brought the horses over and took Fern out for a ride. I discovered she had a loose shoe which is really frustrating as the farrier was only here on Thursday to shoe BH. She's not due until 1st August but my farrier is a gem and he's coming on Wednesday to shoe her.

On Saturday evening, Mum and I took the doggies for a walk on the beach which was lovely in the evening sun. Monty had a lovely time swimming and chasing Dixie about at 90mph!
Dixie managed to miss a stride or tripped over a hole or something but she face planted in spectacular fashion! It was hilarious!
Monty also swam out to a kayaker on the river when we had our backs turned for a minute! Little monster!

Sunday morning started bright and early because I was heading off to a Riding Club clinic with Fern.
Unfortunately, her shoe hadn't come off overnight so Dad and I had to get some tools on it and remove it because it would have been too dangerous to have it loose while jumping. 
The jumping clinic was really good and although Fern wasn't being overly cooperative because it was rather hot, I did feel we achieved quite a lot and I've got things to work on now.

In the afternoon, Mum and I popped down into the village to visit an open garden. It's not something I would normally do but I'm glad we went. All money raised was going to The Cinnamon Trust which is a great charity.
Their garden was beautiful, right next to the river with lots of different little areas. They had 2 donkeys and various chickens, ducks and geese. The doggies were fascinated by all these strange creatures!
We sat on their lawn and had tea and cake in the sun. Lovely!

Mum and I took the dogs to the beach again for an evening walk and they blasted round like loonies and slept in the car all the way home.

I have had such a British weekend, proms and picnic in dodgy weather, tea and cake, strawberries and cream, plenty of cups of tea.... How bloody British can you get?!

How was your weekend?

Friday, 18 July 2014

Happy Friday!

I hope you've all had a good week!
I have had quite a busy and mixed week.
Work has been busy which always makes the time fly.
Here's a quick roundup of my week:

I had the vet out for Fern's annual vaccination. BH loves the vet (he's weird) and the vet likes BH as well. I don't know many people who don't love that furry idiot though!
How could you not love this?!
BH had his shoes done in the morning. I had to dash off for work so missed out on the latest gossip and banter!
We got all the hay in and the last bit was baled and stored. We ended up with over 800 bales in the end!!!!!!!!! 
We were only expecting about 200! Even the contractor was surprised at how much we got. We'll look forward to his bill now...

One of my best friends sadly had to have her elderly pony put to sleep. It made me think a lot about all the fun we used to have together on our ponies when we were younger. We lived next door to each other so we used to go out riding all day long, go racing along the beaches, go to Pony Club camp and rallies. We didn't have jobs and bills to pay then so we were care free!
Bobby a few years ago
I lost my old pony Bertie at Christmas 2011 so I've been having a little reminisce. It's the end of an era now Bobby has gone to join Bertie at the Rainbow Bridge.
Bert in 2010
Today I'm off to Plymouth with my neighbours and Mother to go and watch the Royal Marines band for their 350th anniversary celebrations. It should be great! The Military Wives Choir are performing as well.
Fingers crossed it doesn't rain - we've not had the heatwave everyone else has had this week!!

This weekend I don't have any interesting plans but I am taking Fern to a Riding Club jumping clinic on Sunday which I was asked to at the last minute.

Have a good weekend!
let me know what you get up to!


Monday, 14 July 2014

Supporting local events

I always think it is so important to support events organised by local people in the community.
They work so hard to organise the day and pull it all off so it is important that we go along and spend some pennies and support the cause.

As I live in a very rural area, we have lots of little village fetes and fun days going on over the summer so there's always something to go to.

At the weekend, the 2 villages I live between held their village fetes on the same day at the same time. Typical! I was going to have to split my afternoon between them both.

The first fete I went to was on the Vicarage green and there was a cake stall, tombola, greasy pole, BBQ, splat the rat, pony rides, pets corner, bouncy castle and a kiddies entertainer amongst other things.
I was able to take the dogs so they enjoyed trying to drag me near to the BBQ and sniffing about for any dropped crumbs near the cake stall!

We had a mooch around the different stalls and Dixie got scared of some little boys running round with their balloon swords and then the doggies eyes nearly fell out of their heads when they saw the ducks and chicks!
WHAT are they?!

It was lovely to bump into lots of people and have a chat. The atmosphere was great and it was particularly geared up for kids.

We left this village and went up to the next one which also had a family dog show as well. 
I took Monty last year when he was about 14 weeks old so he was a super cute little ball of fluff.
We just about managed to catch the last two classes - Most Appealing Eyes and Fancy Dress!

Monty went in the first class and there was at least 10 dogs in there and he won! I did give him a brush that morning so you could actually see his eyes through the fluff!
Dixie went in the fancy dress as Batman and came 2nd to a greyhound in a sheepskin rug (Wolf in Sheep's Clothing apparently!!)

We had a lovely afternoon and brought a couple of lovely slices of cake home with us so we did well to support 2 separate events and the doggies had a great afternoon out.

Scruffy little urchin!
First place for the most appealing eyes!
Eating his rosette is much more fun than posing!

We are looking forward to the next day out!

What local events do you support?


Friday, 11 July 2014

Happy Friday!

The weekend is here at last!
This week seems to have gone fairly quickly but work has been pretty busy this week which helps!

This picture has made my entire week:

Seriously.... Zac Efron... on a horse... cantering through the water... This is the stuff of dreams!!
(Let's forget about the female he was actually with at the time though eh?! Don't burst my bubble!)

So here's a quick rundown of my unexciting week....

Nothing interesting happened. The hay was cut in the first field.
It rained - not good when you're making hay!!
Had a nice thank you letter from someone very well known who we did a job for recently. 
Took the doggies to a local beach for an evening walk at low tide then followed with fish and chips in the local pub. 

Paddling puppies
The hay was cut in the second field. 
Boot Camp after a week off... tough! am still feeling the burn in my thighs!
Went for supper at one of my friend's houses and cuddled the 2 remaining fat labrador puppies and watched show jumping on telly. It was great! sadly the puppies wouldn't keep still long enough to get a piccy.

Went for a nice ride with a friend after work. We decided we neeeeeed to do a pub ride soon but the only pub suitable is the local pub so we think we'll maybe call in one evening on our way back from a ride for supper and a bevvy. It probably won't go as well as we hope but I'll keep you updated!

The view on our evening ride
On speaking to BH's rider, we discovered that some weird stuff has been going on with the horses' rugs - buckles that shouldn't be able to come undone being completely undone. Same strap on the rugs, different horse, different days.... This is not the first time there have been odd goings on so I have alerted my neighbours and we're all being extra vigilant again. 
If someone wants to steal my horses, I'm fairly sure they'll bring them back pretty quickly when they realise what a pair of [insert suitable insult here] they are!

Nothing interesting. I trekked around the field trying to find 2 lost fly masks but only found one. The other will probably turn up in a bale of hay over the winter or something. Typically I found the crappy 3 year old one that's falling apart and not the expensive nearly new one!

The best friend's birthday! We're off out for supper tonight at her local and I can't wait to give her her pressies!
Hopefully the hay will be baled today and tomorrow which means I will spend the weekend lugging it about... yay... We're not expecting to get the usual 800 bales but I reckon there'll be around 100 - 200. Feel free to guess the number of bales and I'll give away... nothing... I have nothing to give you except kudos! haha!

The weekend:
I live in between 2 villages and they both have their village fetes on Saturday at the same time... On purpose?! Who knows! One has a dog show and the other has got more to see. I might see whether I can go to both!

How has your week been?

Thursday, 10 July 2014

This dog...

Dixie is just mental... It can be a glorious sunny day when the door is open all day and everyone else is lazing in the garden but you can guarantee she'll be snuggled into her bed!

We bought them a big bed so they could share it but Princess Dixie has taken it as her own and has a Disney Princess duvet in there. 
During the day we stack the Glee duvet on 'her' bed so it takes up less space but that just means she has 8 layers to bury into!

Here's a selection of photos from my phone of the various times I've discovered Dix cocooned in her bed:

She is so pathetic! People think we've made her into a total pansy but honestly - this is all her!!
I have been sniggering whilst looking through all my pictures of her in bed.

Monty's face says it all... He has to put up with Princess Dixie being a total brat all the time. Bless him!