Finally, the day I have been waiting for, came yesterday, for two reasons:
1. We rode. At last. It has been killing me not to go out. We had to stick to the main roads, as a lot of the side roads are still snow covered or icy. We went up Birkin Lane, which confused the horses, as we've never done it before, but I knew there wouldn't be much traffic. It turned out to be a lot more hilly than I'd expected. I was planning to either turn round and come home, or see if we could get up the Manor bridleway, but there was a sheet of ice in the gateway, so we decided not to risk it. Max has a total panic if he slides on ice, and I didn't want to be on him if it happened. We decided to go on a bit further, then when we'd had enough, to turn and come back home. I was expecting Max to try a canter on the way home, as it would all be steeply uphill, but to my surprise he went straight into canter up the first hill, facing away from home, and was off. I shouted to Mr O to stop, which he did, in the nick of time, and Max managed to stop himself without crashing into Barnaby, but he was in a bolting mood. I shouldn't really be surprised, as they're on half-day turnout, plus an increase in feed since the weather became ridiculously cold. Plus we are riding them straight from the stable in the mornings, whereas at Lorna's we would have turned them out for an hour before riding them. I desperately need to take Max somewhere to let off some steam, even if it's in a large menage. I might book myself in at the riding school, just to let him have a blast round without getting out of hand.
2. We came back and mucked out and I blitzed the house, and before we knew it, it was time to set off for Abby's. It is strange to see that as soon as you come out of Derbyshire into Nottinghamshire, there is no snow at all. It's quite surreal. I had rung Abby to ask, "Did I say I would bring something?" and she said, "Yes mum, a pudding." Gasp. Fortunately her Tesco was open, so we performed an emergency manouvre and went in to buy a chocolate gateau, a lemon cheesecake and a trifle. Yummo. I still had that strange, "David isn't here," sensation, which I don't like at all. I miss him so much.
Then it was time to play Santa Claus with the grandchildren (and the children, for that matter). We got Ebony a Pepa Pig house, which she loved, and a cuddly Pepa Pig. We got Ben 10 things for Christian, cars for Jake and sleepsuits for Caelan, as he is too young to know what's going on really. He is a very contented, smiley baby. Oh, and guess who forgot to take the camera? Gutted.
Abby gave us a beautiful photo of Ebony. I will have to find a lovely frame to do it justice. Lisa got me a jewellery set, which was a total surprise. I realised I wasn't wearing any, so put it all on, there and then.
Christian sat on my lap nearly all afternoon, playing with his DS. It amazes me how capable such young children are on this little computer. Six is the same. I am so glad I knew what Christian was talking about, as he played Mario Kart, and I renewed my relationship with Mario and Luigi. Christian was his usual chatty self. I just find him totally adorable. He is so bright and funny.
Lisa got Ebony the Disney dressing up outfits, for Snow White, Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and Cinderella. She looked absolutely stunning in them, hence my misery at forgetting the camera. It was quite funny to see the stroppy side of her, as when we go, she is normally on her own, but she is two and Jake is three, and they don't always see eye to eye, and Ebony doesn't always get her own way. Her frowny face is very cute, she so reminds me of Catherine and Rachel when they were little.
Christian had sat with me the whole time, quite contentedly, then suddenly announced, "I don't love you, you know!" He likes to see what effect this will have. Unfortunately for him, I have had a hand in raising numerous children, and have been around the block a bit. I said, "That's okay, actually, because... I have enough love for both of us!" and started tickling him. He seemed more than satisfied with this as a response. Then he said, "I have another granny, you know." I said, "I know, but she's not as nice as me, is she?" He didn't know what to say. I said, "For a start, she's not as tall as me, is she?" He thought about this. Then I said, "Anyway, if she's any good, tell her to bring it on, I'll arm wrestle her any day." He looked highly amused at the prospect, then challenged me to an arm wrestle, not really knowing what it was. I laid down on the floor with him and showed him what to do, and beat him hollow. I may as well, while I can. Then before I could get up, Jake came and sat on me, saying, "You're my horsey!" I said, "Well if I'm a horsey, I'm going to buck you off!" and tipped him onto the floor, which he found hysterically funny, and got back on for another go.
By then, fortunately, it was time to eat, so we all went and helped ourselves to the lovely buffet Abby had prepared. I collapsed back onto the sofa. Sadly, soon it was time to go. Ebony never wants us to leave, and followed us out of the door. She is so sweet.
For some reason, I was absolutely exhausted by the time we got home. I can't think why. It's not like I'm sixty or seventy, is it? Well worth it, though, I love days like this.
My response to Warwick Schiller's solution and CMO
17 hours ago