Last sunday I had a great day planned, going to The Movies with a group of friends for a matinee showing of "Black Swan" followed by dinner. Jolanda was sleeping over with a friend, and they were going on to the manege later, so I was having a rare day off.
As I was enjoying a lazy morning coffee my mobile rang.
"Jane, I don't know how late you are coming to the manege today, but you had better get here soon, we've had a leak and your horse 's stall is flooded."
My lazy sunday stopped, and I pulled on my oldest clothes and drove down to find Ulo knee deep in wet, muddy sawdust (we use sawdust for bedding as its better for horses with lung problems).
I hauled her out and washed her legs, which seemed swollen, then began emptying my stall of soggy sawdust and *@!#. About an hour and a half and ten wheelbarrows later I was finished, and after a cup of coffee - brought by John who came down to offer moral support, filled the stall with nice clean sawdust and popped Ulo back in.
After cleaning myself up, I got myself off to Amsterdam, and joined my friends for the meal. I'd missed the film, but no matter.
Two days later, on Tuesday morning, I got a call: "Theres been another leak, and the stalls flooded again!"
I drove over with dread, to find Ulo tied at the saddling area, looking fed up, legs still swollen, and her stall a pool of muddy water. It was decided that we could not use the stall again until it had been raised, as our stall was the lowest point in the row, and all the water ran towards us.
Ulo got a temporary home amongst the precious grand prix horses, (she didn't like it - I think she found them a bit snobby) and I was assured the work would be organised. Later that evening, I got a text to say there was noone who could do it at short notice, and if I could organise something, that would be great.........
Since then my whole week has been spend on the internet looking for patio tiles, and tilers.
I was told to check the internet for tiles people wanted removed, as you can often get them for nothing. By thursday I found an advert for some unwanted patio tiles in the same village as the manege, which was great, and we could collect them on Saturday. Great!
Getting a tiler was a different matter, as every time they heard it was an emergency, and for a horse stall, they thought we had loads of money, and asked ridiculous amounts.
By friday I was really desperate, and saw myself laying the tiles alone, especially as John is not strong enough to do it since his last back operation.
But I am so blessed to have great people around me. A friends husband sent a text on friday evening, and said he would do the work on saturday at 5.30!
Saturday was a whirlwind of activity organising John, trailer and Jolanda all to arive at the house in Broek that had the tiles. It was a big job to get them into the trailer, but we did it and drove back to the manege.
We were busy moving sand into the stall, when Ben arrived. He's a young, strong, tall dutchman, who worked at a fantastic pace, first with the sand, and then laying the tiles. John took Jolanda off home so she could get something to eat before she went out for the evening (another story) and I stayed to help Ben.
By the time John got back, he was just in time to help us plan the most efficient way of laying the tiles, and within 3 hours the whole stall was done.
Sunday morning we were able to fill in the gaps around the edges with bricks, the new stall was ready to receive fresh sawdust, and a very relieved Ulo, who looked happy to be back home!
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Ben you are a great guy!