vrijdag 20 februari 2009

Duinrit in Egmond aam de Hoef

We decided to treat ourselves this week, inspite of the horrible weather, and booked a hack at a manege I had heard about from another mother at our manege.

This manege specialises in hacking in the Noord Hollands dune nature reserve, and is about a half hour drive away. We got there, and found a very clean, well managed, professional and welcoming manege which immediately put me at ease, as its often a problem if you have to organise two kids and yourself with tack, mounting etc.
We had loads of help - and I was even provided with a mounting block (thank god) to get onto my very large pony. Once mounted, we were sorted into order in the paddock, and a string of 13 of us went out onto the hack. We only had to cross the road, and we were immediately on a side road heading for the dune area two minutes away.
We negotiated a gate and after that it was all bridle paths, through a varied landscape of wooded areas, and open places with gorse and shrubs. The dunes are the only areas in the Netherlands which are not flat, so it was a treat to negotiate hummocks, and slopes, and not be able to see the whole area at one time, but rather have it revealed in stages, as we rounded corners, or emerged from the trees.

We got in a few good canters, and the horses were very fresh, so it had its exciting moments. I was riding behind Jolanda's friend Eva, so had a few anxious moments stopping my Dalfy from flattening her much smaller Twiggy. Jolanda was riding a horse called Ukkie (which means small in Dutch) but it did not look like a small horse to me! Here's Ukkie back in her stall!
We arrived back after two hours, and were able to get a coffee and sandwich in the really nice cantine, as well as use the spotless toilets before driving back in the rain which had held off until we dismounted!
B.T.W. the first photo is from the website of the manege, I did take one, but its out of focus, and just as I got ready to take the second, we went into a canter, and I had to switch the camera off, put it back into my pocket, and make sure my pony didn't run unto the kids in front of me!

zondag 15 februari 2009

This weekend I didn't go to Berlin

I hope the party was great, and the dresses fabulous, and the table centre pieces inspired!

Not going to Berlin had me remembering the many parties I've been to at my sisters houses over the years.

Driving to Durham, when she was an undergrad, for student binges which lasted the weekend, then dashing back to work on the monday morning.

Driving up to Alnwick for mega parties, which were so brilliant we braved extreme weather conditions. I battled through a snow storm one weekend for a binge at the Duchess School, and another time, we went up the A1 togged out in fancy dress, and stopped for petrol at a lonely pump station in a gale. As we were paying at the kiosk the wind lifted the roof off the forecourt and it sailed over the fields into the darkness. The guy at the kiosk watched it go philosophically!

Flying to Madrid to sample Spanish night life, and realising I was getting too old to party until 4.00 a.m.!

Coming over from Amsterdam to Tynemouth for the party at Birtley Avenue the night before my brothers wedding, when she spent the whole of the evening cooking sausages, and forgetting to eat any herself, which left her in a decidedly delicate condition for the wedding the next day!

Having a memorable Christmas dinner at Tynemouth, with snow falling, and a great turkey dinner all served on our grandmothers dinner service which must be over 80 years old!

Going over to Orlando, Florida, for her wedding to Detmar, which was probably the smallest party Penny has ever given, but very beautiful, and romantic (we won't mention the food-poisoning!)

Then there was night before New Years Eve, when we drove over to Berlin, to be telephoned en route with the news that Penny's plane from England was cancelled, and they would not be there to meet us.

We got the keys from the neighbour, and the next day followed her instructions on how to set up the party to the letter, welcomed the guests (none of whom we knew - and all of whom were German) and had everything running smoothly (apart from the red wine blooper) before they walked in at 9.00 p.m!

So I hope the party was great, and you had as good a time as you always do, and I'm thinking about you!