John decided to ride Zak first thing yesterday morning, so he tacked up and set off. After last week's episode I thought I'd let him go by himself, and boy am I glad, as on the way back he kept leaning towards the grass verge and once he got a foot on it, he bolted. They always tell you, if your horse bolts, to haul on one rein and turn the horse in a circle. That's all very well if you're in an open field, but if you're on a narrow track, what are you supposed to do? The bad thing is that Zak didn't stop at the top, but shot across the crossroads. Thank goodness there were no cars up there, as it's a 60mph road. John just hauled on the reins and finally got him to stop. Add that to our episode last week, and I am not impressed. Fortunately John was unhurt, just badly shaken. We think Barnaby and Max are fast, but Zak moves at a phenomenal speed, and you've got to have your wits about you. But on the other hand, you can't ride a horse once a week and expect them to be immaculately behaved, can you?
We went and bought two new batteries for the lorry, after John managed to wrench the old ones free after a great deal of struggling. I can't even tell you what the new ones cost, but it's not what we need just before Christmas really.
But then, the highlight of my day, spending the evening with my eldest daughter and son-in-law, and their three wonderful children, Christian, Jake and Caelan, as it's Jake's third birthday. It's a fair journey back to Worksop, so we can't go very often, and I haven't seen the boys since Caelan was born in September. I realised how much I missed them as soon as we walked in the door. It was a house full of energy and excitement, and it was wonderful to be amongst it. Lisa made us a wonderful meal as well. It was such a lovely atmosphere.
Jake liked his birthday present, which was a Thomas the Tank Engine train track with a shed and a tunnel. Christian seemed quite keen on it, too.
But the most wonderful thing was, Lisa has made me a cross stitch picture of a chicken.
Here it is. She is very talented at this, and entirely self taught. I wouldn't know where to start. I can do tapestry, which I thoroughly enjoy, but tapestry is difficult to frame, whereas this is just laid inside the frame. I am delighted with it. A chicken is the perfect thing to give me, isn't it? Really she ought to go into business doing it. I'm sure even our shop in the village would take them off her hands. I am looking for more of a hobby this winter, and cross stitch may be just the thing, although I'll have to start with the most simple ones.
My son-in-law is a butcher, and he has prepared a whole lamb for us, to go in the freezer. It weighed a tonne. We have enough meat to last us well into the new year now. L has also given us a chunk of venison, so I will have to find a good way to cook it. We never look a gifthorse in the mouth here!
When we got back, I let Tessa out for a run round, and she came in with snow on her back. I stared at her in astonishment. I had to open the door to check I wasn't imagining it, and sure enough, there was snow on the floor. Good grief, it's only November!
We were supposed to have gone on a pleasure ride today round Shipley Country Park, but I just didn't have the strength, I don't know why. It was pouring with rain, which didn't fill me with enthusiasm. L and A went and said it was really good. Of the 40 who entered, only 20 did it, so lots of others were obviously put off by the weather. This is the last ride of the year, and they had sherry and mince pies afterwards, lucky things.
BUT we went off to Chatsworth in the fog and rain to do some Christmas shopping, and I'm so glad we went. Last week we looked at Christmas decorations in the Co-Op, but they were very expensive, which put us off a bit. I gave all my tree decorations to the children when we moved here, as although I could just about squeeze one in, we don't really have room for a Christmas tree, without it being in the way. I'm on a mission to find nice decorations that won't break the bank, and don't take up much storage space, as they will have to spend the rest of the year in my keepsakes box which is pretty full already.
So I've bought some beautiful little things, sticking to a colour scheme of green, red and white, and will put pictures on here to show you. I've also bought my sister's Christmas present, which was the real purpose of the visit, but I can't tell you what it is, as I know she reads this! (You'll have to wait and see!)
I think last year we were still bowled over by being here, and getting used to doing things, to join in much with festivities and goings-on, but I am much more with-it this year and intend to make the most of the celebrations, although it has to be said, after much dithering, we are going to spend Christmas Day by ourselves.
We went down through the fog into the village to go to the pub. Jack Russell was there with his two dogs, but more importantly his three hawks sitting on the backs of chairs dotted round the pub, scruitinizing you with their beady eyes. Two let you stroke them, but one definitely doesn't. It was a good job we didn't take Tessa, who likes to join us and have a packet of pork scratchings, as it was like Crufts in there, two Jack Russells, three spaniels, a very fat pug and a miniture Schnauzer. You could hardly move for wagging tails and dog leads. This is the world of the Old Poets Corner, a true english pub that sells real ale. We sat warming ourselves by the open fire, and had a curry which made us even warmer, and sat relaxing, soaking up the atmosphere. Fully replete, we dashed back to the car in the freezing cold and rain, and made our way back up the hill in the fog again. If there were no house lights on we wouldn't have known where the house was. As I got out in the dark to open the gate, I got a tremendous sense of wellbeing, and thankfulness for what we have. I gulped in the night air and went and got ready for bed. An excellent day.
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