maandag 21 juni 2010

Snuffie 2002 - 2010

Snuffie was an elderly rabbit, and became less and less active. She eventually got an infection which was made worse by the hot weather in the last days. The vet was very good, but it was clear there was nothing he could do, and she had to be put to sleep.
There is a empty place in our garden where her hutch and rabbit run was, and I'm left with a feeling of guilt that I did not do enough for her.

dinsdag 15 juni 2010

the waiting is over!

There was a still expectancy in the air over the last weeks, as the Netherlands team prepared for the world cup - the supermarkets were giving away flags with every 10 euro of shopping, and you could buy orange trumpets on every street corner.
The first match was on a monday, in the afternoon. Schools rearranged their timetables so children were out early to get home and watch; big screens were set up in offices, bars stocked up with beer, people took the day off work! Around half an hour before kick off there was a mass movement of orange clad and painted people throughout the netherlands, all homing in on TV screens.
And then the hush descended.
If you were not interested in football, you enjoyed a serene and traffic free afternoon, if you were engrossed in the match, you were treated to two goals and a display of Dutch football skills which has put them at the top of their group.
Today there is a feeling of quiet confidence, and arrangements for the next match on the 19th against Japan are in full swing. I love how the Dutch embrace this competition!

donderdag 10 juni 2010

of trailers; tests and triumphs!

After last months post about loading Ulo into a trailer for the second time in her life, you would have thought we would steer clear of them for a while; but no - John and Jolanda went out shopping without me on Saturday and brought back a brand new trailer - to match the land rover, as Jolanda said! I should not have let them out alone, but I was back at the stables waiting for the farrier.... who is the sweetest man, and great with the horses, but is the worst time keeper in history, but thats a story for another time.

So there I was hanging around having one of those waiting sort of days, and receiving text messages every few minutes from not only Jolanda but also the farrier, which only gave me half the story every time. But it was a sunny day, and there were lots of people to talk to, so it was not really a hardship.

Eventually everyone arrived in the correct sequence, ie Jolanda and John with trailer, followed by Evelien who was there to give Jolanda a private lesson, followed by the farrier who was able to shoe three horses in less than two hours; then we all went home for tea!

The reason for the haste in buying a trailer was that Jolanda had another competition last Sunday, and we bravely decided to take the oppertunity for Ulo's first trailer training. John and I were looking opon the experience as you do a trip to the dentist! However, when we were ready to load, we got a amazing amount of help from another family at the manege, and Ulo was introduced to the trailer in a calm ordered way. Robin was an absolute star, and gave her plenty of time to sniff around and get used to the ramp then gently encouraged her to put her feet one by one on the ramp and eventually into the trailer! It was a treat to watch, and gave us confidence that she will be easy to load if we give her the time.

Once loaded we were off to the competition, with plenty of time to spare. Jolanda rode two good proofs, and was awarded two winst punten - which was what she needed to go upto the next level, so we were thrilled with that. Whilst she rewarded herself with a packet of chips, John and I (with the help of Robin's mother, again) decided to load Ulo up to go home. this time John took her in, and she calmly walked up the ramp with a look at him as if to say,
"nice trailer boss, pleased you realised I deserved something a bit classier than that wreck last month!"

The end to this trailer story is a little less upbeat however; I was scheduled to take my trailer driving test on monday, the day after the competition, and set of in good heart to start the training at 8 a.m. After driving for six hours, with an instructor who was very able to explain every fault I made after I had made it, I went into the exam completely demoralised and exhausted. Needless to say I failed spectacularly, as the trailer almost jack knifed as I reversed around a corner! I will take the test again, but I'm changing my instructor; never spend more time than is absolutely necessary with someone who generates negative feelings!

donderdag 3 juni 2010

L is for Legs, the long and the short of them!

We see them on advertising hoardings, on televison, in films, legs that go on for ever, and are smooth tanned and shapely. Legs to dream about ...... a perfect pair of legs.
Its a fact of life that my legs are short, they will never be longer than they are now, and I just have to live with it. I have lived with them all of my life in fact, coping with always having to have six inches cut off any new trousers, struggling to find a pair of knee high boots that will fit round my calves, not even contemplating buying skinny jeans, or skirts above the knee.
But long or short, they get me around, I cycled miles with jolanda when she was a toddler, getting her to and from creche, baby sitter, swimming lessons and gymnastics. In 2005 they took me on a 35km walk to Weesp as part of Monnickendams
mediaeval festival, although truth be told, no one saw them because I was wearing a frock!

I still manage to ride Ulo at least once a week, and those legs get me on and keep me on - even if she pulls one of her "Oh my god, thats really scary - I think I'll bolt" antics.
So I decided to treat my legs to a new pair of riding britches, and splashed out on a lovely navy blue pair, with a suede seat (it helps keep you in the saddle - something I may need!)
Put them on for the first time, got ready to mount - and found the suede did not stretch enough to get my foot in the stirrup!
Trying not to laugh, my second attempt was with a mounting block and managed to get half way up, only to find my short leg would not go over the saddle!
Finally landed, with Ulo patiently waiting for me to settle myself, and realised that the stirrup leathers were TWO holes longer than I normally ride!
The reason - my 13 year old daughter has legs longer than mine, and I need to shorten the stirrups every time I ride now.
Its a fact of life that my legs are short, they will never be longer than they are now, and I just have to live with it. Sigh.