When I was about 14 I did needlework as a school lesson, and hated it, and was hopeless at it. To this day I can sew on a button and repair a hem that's come down, and that's about it.
Anyway, we had exams when we were 14, to help us decide which subjects to do for 'O' Level, so sure enough, the inevitable needlework exam came around.
To my surprise, and joy, the exam took place in the needlework room, where there were helpful and informative posters all around the walls, with diagrams showing you how to thread a sewing machine, etc, and it transpired that just such information was required in the exam, so I merrily copied everything off the walls onto the exam paper.
I can't recall what my record was up until then, but imagine my teacher's surprise when the exam results showed I'd got 100% and she felt she'd discovered a heretofore unrecognised star in the making.
After that, she consulted me regularly, with such questions as, "Do you think the girls would enjoy making this, Jane?" to which I desperately wanted to reply, "Don't ask me, love, I wouldn't have a clue."
I never found out what her reaction was when she found out I'd decided to take up Geography instead ...
- O -
Mr O and I walked the horses through the snow yesterday, down the hill to the riding school, for our lesson. The track down to the school was extremely icy, so the instructor advised us to walk slowly and carefully, as we might slip. The words were barely out of her mouth, when 'Crash!' there I was, lying on the floor. I landed on my hip, and that familiar burning sensation began immediately. It was almost worth it just to see the look of astonishment on Max's face. His blue eyes were very bright, and he seemed to be saying, "Blimey, I didn't know she could do it all by herself!"
I managed to haul myself into the saddle, once we reached the arena, and the lesson began. Our teacher soon fell into the trap of admiring Barnaby's way of going, and general showing off, so not to be outdone, I actually heard Max squeal, "Hee-hee!" in a high pitched voice, before leaping three strides forwards, doing his 'airs above the ground' again. I managed to halt him before too long, though, and get him under control.
Then we had, "I want to be with Barnaby!" and more leaping about, head between his knees this time, but I got the better of him again. What fun these lessons are turning out to be, such a wise investment.
Anyway, he did settle down after a while, and put in some very nice work. I also remembered to put the stirrup straps on, which were amazing. They hold my legs totally still, and further back than I would normally have them.
Barnaby was a bit naughty cantering on the wrong leg on the right rein, but it has to be said that Mr O's riding could have done with a bit of spit and polish. I know why. It's because when you school your horse, you decide where to ask for canter, but when somebody tells you, "Canter between H and C," you panic, because you know the jump is coming, and you must be sorted so you can get some canter strides in before the fence, and it just goes to pieces. He never has that problem out hacking. But this has made me realise that I am going to have to school Barnaby at least once a week, as well as Max, so I hope the weather improves soon.
Mr O was pretty tired afterwards, which shows I am fitter than I give myself credit for. I managed to get back up the hill without incident, and we were home in time for tea and medals.
- O -
And now for my second confession of the day. There is no way I can soften this, deny it or pretty it up, so here goes...
We have lived here for just over a year, and I haven't been to a dentist in all of that time. There - I've said it! It wasn't too painful, unlike the dental treatment I've just received, which was very painful indeed. The nice Spanish lady in the white coat wanted me to bite down on a piece of plastic, so she could take an x-ray of my wisdom tooth. These pieces of plastic presumably only come in one size, and this one was miles too big for my mouth, so biting on it caused it to cut into my gum, causing the most excruciating pain. Obviously the dentist looked at me as if to say, "What on earth's the matter with you, silly child?" and strolled outside to take the x-ray, savouring every moment.
I must just digress here for a moment to ask, would you ever invite a dentist to dinner? I certainly wouldn't. I could imagine their looks of admonishment at every course, "Well that'll give you cavities!" How could you sit and enjoy your gateau after that?
So now they want me to go back next week to have the tooth extracted. I am none too keen on this idea at all. It seems quite happy there, why upset it? I am hoping Missis will be able to take me, otherwise I shall have to walk down, which will take roughly a week and a half.
We whizzed off from there to Tesco, where I found March's issue of Your Horse, and sure enough, I am in it, a minute picture of me and the Boy, on page eight. But the most brilliant thing is that there is a picture of my new penfriend Trudi on her horse Starlett over the page, so now I know what she looks like. I must tell you, she is 69 and still riding (a very lovely horse). If I am still riding at that age, I'll be amazed.