Tuesday, 29 April 2008

The New Arrival

Well , we succumbed . Who wouldn't looking at those eyes ?

his name is Jack ( Gentle Jack according to the greyhound stud book ) and he's absolutely gorgeous , even if he does have a plastic fetish. Not a single plastic currycomb remains with a handle. Come to think of it nor does my dustpan any more. However, everyone adores him, Tali calls him 'My darlin' ' and Aarons most common word at the moment is 'Yac !' Bless him. He runs like the clappers, and my brother managed to get a picture of him as you can see, which would make most turn and run ! Most of the time he's a rather large couch potato, who has so far managed to get himself a double size dog bed , topped with a king size duvet. He has a more comfy bed than me !

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Hanging by a thread .....

In the morning , the first thing I do is go out of my back door usually in my Marks and Spark's fluffy (off ) white dressing gown , across the terrace , under the archway of the stable yard and give the horses their breakfast . As it is a gravel pathway, they hear my footsteps crunch , so before I'm even halfway to the yard , the imperious whinny of Abbey , my first and oldest pony is directing me to her stable Immediately , claiming by right of being Senior Equine, to have her muesli before anyone else . The others always join in after . Bo , Zac's pony , has a very high pitched 'Wheeeeeeee! ' at me , knowing that she's second in line to be fed , mainly as she's next door to Abs. . Lastly , there's always the deep grumble of Remus , my dressage horse with delusions of royalty . As he has a crown and a wave branded on his rump , he feels thoroughly entitled to staff , and only tends to get up just as the breakfast is being brought to his door. More than once , he's eaten it still laying down .

But not today . Today , I get the first yell from Abbey , the second 'Wheeeee !' from Bo , but nothing from Remus . Not only is there no head over the door , but not a sound . This is not a good scenario .

Ignoring the other two , still clad in the fetching white fluffy number ( and suede slippers !) I go to his door , and look over , to find Remus dangling from his haynet by a front hoof . Somehow , between 11pm last night , and 7.30am today , he has decided to wave a front leg in the air , and managed to get it suspended in the strings of his haynet . Not only that , but the breakable string it was tied to , that is designed to break in just such emergencies , has not in fact broken, so I now have a ton of Danish Warmblood hanging by a thread , and looking at me as if to say 'Ooops ' , whilst balanced on the remaining three legs .

Had I been in normal yard attire , I would have had my pocket knife in my jacket , but noooo of course not in my pyjamas. To make matters worse, now he's seen me, he's decided to panic , and try to hop over for some reasurrance , which leads to him using the timber stable wall to take his weight, and which starts bowing out in an alarming fashion . Thinking that there's going to be Danish all over the yard any second , I holler to Ian to get me a kitchen knife , which , bless him , he immediately does , no questions asked , and I slice through the net , releasing his leg to the ground . The string has cut into his hoof , so I call the vet as he is also now horribly lame . Of course , now he's also starving , so I get barged aside in the rush for his breakfast , and decide to get dressed . The slippers are ruined , and the white gown is now splattered with goodness only knows what ..

The vet arrives half an hour later , and pronounces him a lucky boy . As he has very narrow feet , the nylon string had found a crevice in which to wedge itself and caused only minor friction injury . Had he had normal wide feet like most , he probably would have sawn part of his foot off . Two jabs later ( tetanus and his annual flu one which was due anyway , might as well try and save money , hahahahaha ) the vet leaves , telling Remus to be more careful . He grumbles under his breath , flicks an ear in a disdainful fashion , and goes back to his hay , which is now in a pile on the floor .

All I have to do now is await the bill !

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Warmth at last !

It's been six weeks since my last post , and I can't believe how the time has flown. Ian is injured for the foreseeable future, with a frozen shoulder which is going to take the next two years minimum to recover, and means that all the heavy work (no , on second thoughts, just make that the work) is left to me . I haven't had time to do as much as sit down lately, and the only time I've stopped has been when I was sleeping. But griping about it gets me nowhere, so I try not to. It just reminds me of how discontented I should be .

On a lighter note, Tali started nursery, and now bursts into the room every morning with all the savoir faire of a debutante . She hands me her coat, and rushes round the nursery, bestowing hugs and kisses on all the teachers and her best friends, who tend to be frankly bewildered by all this early morning bonhomie. The teachers however are enchanted, which has to be a good thing.

And finally, our annexe , where the puter is stowed , got a Christmas present all of its very own . Heating! At last I can sit here past 3 in the afternoon, without having to resort to three jumpers, a coat , hat scarf and fingerless gloves , to stop my hands resembling claws . 2008 is going to be a very productive year. In fact , I can feel it hardening into a resolution as I type .

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

A smile in the rain

It seems it's been a while since I was here last . Despite my best intentions , life has a habit of barging in and taking over my time - either it's school runs - to three different schools now, since Tali has started at her nursery, or endless mounds of washing - 10 loads today so far ! BUT . I have now got a plan. When Tali goes to nursery, Aaron now goes to sleep , so I have a whole two hours to myself . I had such plans for this time . I was going to have a bath , read a book, even dare to play with my purple friends . So what did I find myself doing with this oh so precious time this morning ? Mucking out three stables and walking round the fields looking for a swan I thought I'd seen which was injured .

As I was meandering round the boundaries , it started raining . Not hard , just a little , and with the sun still shining . The horses had retreated to the field shelter ( Zac's Welsh Mountain pony is the biggest wimp ) and were peering out from under their hoods to see what on earth I was doing . The local RAF's finest Tornados were playing games in the sky above my head , and I had one of those moments of sheer happiness that come along so rarely , and usually in a completely unexpected fashion. There really is nowhere else I'd rather be .

It seems the swan was not injured after all, but exploring! I discovered its mate and three cygnets in the river behind the back field . I wonder if it'll stay ?

Saturday, 29 September 2007


My dad was a practical man. He'd planned his funeral for years, ever since I was about nine years old in fact, so we were left with absolutely no doubt as to exactly the way his send off was to go . The difficult part of it, or so we thought , was going to be getting his wishes carried out . He required nothing less than a cortege of breakdown trucks, ( he owned a breakdown recovery service) , a New orleans jazz band , none of that , in his words 'gloomy music ' , a wicker casket ('I want to sleep in a laundry basket! ') and sunflowers. Lots of sunflowers . Oh, and some smiley faces balloons . And no one to wear black . This was going to be a very tall order.

Or so we thought.

Over the last fortnight, my mum, brother and I have been consistently amazed by people's support. My brother rang each of the local recovery firms, not often known for their goodwill, and each and every one of them provided their cleanest, shiniest and largest truck. It was utterly incredible. The funeral directors were superb, and said 'Leave it all with us ' . I even rang the local police station about parking arrangements , and their reply was ' Do what you need to do, and don't worry '.

The day dawned. I left Norfolk at 7am, in order to be able to see him beforehand, and drove the long haul to Surrey. As I hadn't seen him since he'd gone, I hadn't said goodbye. I went into the chapel of rest, and there he was , tucked up in his laundry basket, wearing his favourite shorts and slippers, white socks pulled neatly up to his shins as they always were , hair flopping over his forehead in the same slapdash fashion, and the pictures of us all tucked carefully under his hands . My brother and I on my wedding day, my mum , Ian , and all the grandchildren , keeping him company into the hereafter . I held his hand, oh so very cold, called him a daft old bugger, and then burst into floods of tears, which is where my brother found me, walking into the room a few minutes later.

Once back at my mums , we found the lawn covered with flowers. So many people he'd known had sent them; rival firms , all the neighbours . The cars turned up, and we climbed in. My mother, dad's two sisters and his last brother, and Jodie . It was only when we passed the breakdown trucks, that we realised what they'd done . Each and every one had a sunflower . They all joined the cortege, and as we turned round to watch, my mum burst into tears and I started to laugh. The road menders, heads bowed ,had stopped all the traffic , and single handedly, my dad had managed to bring south west London to a grinding halt . It was the most incredible thing I have ever seen. Everyone stopped and stared at us, as lights flashing, we trundled gently through the streets to our final destination. Even when one of the company drivers pulled across a main road to ensure the convoy stayed intact, the police going past stopped, and made sure we didn't need a hand.

After the service , which ended in typical Dad fashion with the song 'Don't worry, be happy !' , the smiley balloons were taken from his casket , and placed on the sunlit lawn outside . All the kids each cut a string , sending a smiley face skywards , and we all waved to the heavens .

I think he would have approved .

I love you dad xxx

Thursday, 20 September 2007

My dad .

I was on night duty on Saturday . I got home from work eventually , after a train/bus trip that was reminiscent of Disney's 'Incredible Journey' - visiting places that I've never been before , and have no desire to visit again , just to get the elusive train from Cambridge to home, and fell into bed . 'At last ' I thought 'some decent sleep' .

Two hours later, Ian burst into the room . 'What ? What's happened? ' I mumbled . Waking me from night duty sleep is usually best done from a distance, and using a long stick , you see . Then , I saw his face . Tearful .

'Nik , I'm sorry , I'm so sorry ' he kept saying . My heart stopped, and all I could do was stare at him . ' He's gone. Your dad's gone ' .

For one mad moment , I almost said 'Where? To the shops ?' but then I tried opening my mouth , and found I actually couldn't say anything at all . I was literally speechless . He'd been in hopital with an infection for the last ten days, but had seemed to be getting better . Then , that morning , his breathing had got shallower and shallower, and by the time the hospital rang mum and she'd got there, ( ten minutes ) , he'd simply stopped breathing .

We drove down to Surrey , half an hour later, in silence . Five children in a car , and barely thirty words exchanged in a three and a half hour trip .

I think I'm still in shock . He was supposed to be getting better and now this . Sixty one is no age at all these days is it?.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

That was the week that was ..

I am apparently on holiday until next Wednesday - have been for almost a month in fact , a perk gained by working twelve hour shifts which then means I get 43 extra days off a year . Complicated I know , but ultimately worth it ! So , why then do I feel so worn out ? I asked Ian this last night , and he looked at me with that old fashioned look and said ' Are you potty ? ' On Monday , you drove to Surrey at fifteen minutes notice , visited your dad ( admitted to Kingston Hosp with a raging infection ) and drove back again , via IKEA at Lakeside ( wasted trip , grr) , Tuesday you took Josh and Jordan to school , did 3 loads of washing , labelled and packed Zac for his first day at high school plus all the usual stuff , Wednesday took Zac to school ( cried all the way home ) , went to an auction as EDF had kindly turned our electric off to do some work , spent some money , Thursday the woodchip delivery turned up , so emptied two stables and cleared yet more washing , and Friday the hay turned up , so stacked all that and yet MORE washing . And you wonder why you're tired ?? '

I thought today I'd have a rest instead - only the washing to do today. 3 loads down - 5 to go !

Tomorrow I'm definitely going to have a day off - we're going to the game and country show at Sandringham , which should be fun . Wish me luck !
The picture above is the view from my front window by the way - apparently the front field may well come up for sale , so we're saving our pennies just in case ..