Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Breakfast meeting

And so the winter morning routine begins. I crawl out of bed at 7am. Mr O has already brought me a cup of tea and gone to work. Tessa accompanies the tea upstairs and galumphs onto the bed for her morning snooze. I find some clothes and pile them on, then stagger downstairs. I call Tessa. Sometimes she leaps off the bed, today she opens one eye and looks at me as if to say, "You go, it's only horses, after all."
I don't need an alarm clock. I have a half tonne horse outside who is kicking his stable door, complaining that breakfast is very slow in arriving.
I open the kitchen door, stick my feet into patiently waiting wellies and carry my tea with me. I walk through the garage and turn right, and Max, my horse, is there, wearing his best smile because he knows breakfast is imminent. He is not the door banger. I have never failed to bring him breakfast, and he trusts me. I dish out the first meal of the day, and all horsey heads vanish into their feedbuckets. Peace at last.
Then the job I hate most. My key fob no longer works and so I have to use the handle to wind the shutter doors up. It takes ages, and my arms feel like they are going to drop off. I remind them that the day is just beginning. I love it as the door slowly rises and there is immediately a pet exchange. All the cats that were outside rush in, whereas Tessa, and a random cat, who has been inside, runs out. I have no idea why this is, but it seems an important ritual to them.
Then it's time to swap the horses' stable rugs for turn-out rugs. Barnaby (the door banger) has to be done first. He insists on it. I tie him up so that he can't barge out past me (I learned that from last year, and he seems to have remembered, too). Eventually all six horses are rugged up against the elements (5 degrees this morning) and Barnaby is first to go out (I see a pattern developing here). It gradually dawns on Max that he isn't going anywhere. He is miffed and throws his haylage up in the air to show his annoyance. He shoves me just to check that I really do want him to stay in and it's not just an oversight on my part. Yes boy, I am going to ride you.
I go and let out 'the ladies who lunch'. They are up and discussing last night's episode of Coronation Street as I approach. Their coop is raised up on concrete blocks, and I open the hatch. Roxy looks out, the chickens' equivalent of Barnaby. Where he is a leader of men, she is certainly a leader of women. She jumps out of the coop like one jumping out of an aeroplane, and lands in a very dignified manner on the floor. The other members of the WI soon follow. Their day has begun, and so has mine.

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