It is traditional that the British always talk about the weather. All I can say is, if you've ever wondered why, come and live here for a while, and the reason will become obvious. Yesterday it snowed every hour, on the hour. In between it was brilliant sunshine. I got the horses in at 1pm as it was blizzarding. But today was the first really sunny day since I-don't-know-when. Spring is in the air, and not a moment too soon.
Yesterday I had Seven and Nine before school, so Pongo could take Missis to the station. Because of that I was late doing the horses, and it seemed to take me forever to muck out. It always does on the first day Missis is away, I wonder why that is? (Answers on a post card!)
I also had the boys after school and in the evening so Pongo could go and play tennis, so I ended up babysitting until ten o'clock.
I did get to do some sewing, though, and started a new cross stitch, which is quite cute. Plus I managed to watch 'Becoming Jane'. Somebody should have told me James McAvoy is in it. If I'd known that I'd have watched it ages ago. Anne Hathaway is very good as Jane Austen. Her accent is quite good. But the real scene stealer has got to be Julie Walters as Jane's mother. You can see if her mother was really like that, that she would be her inspiration for Mrs Bennett. But James McAvoy...
I managed to be a lot quicker today, largely due to the fact that Mr O fed round before he went to work, so I just had to swap rugs and put all the horses out. I was, in fact, so much quicker that I decided to do some 'work' with Max in the afternoon. I set out the obstacles in the lunge pen and took him in (after a good groom, and general smooching around). He had one look at the sacks-on-sticks and went, 'Oh yes, I remember those,' and put his head down for some serious eating. I had him on the lunge line and picked his head up and we started weaving in and out of the sacks. Last time I just made him walk past them, this time we walked in between. He had a little look, but didn't really hesitate. It was a bit windier today than it was last time, which was handy, as it flapped the sacks about, but Max didn't care at all, and stood eating the grass about four inches away from them. Not too stressed, then?
I put two buckets in front of the rubber matting (buckets are very contrary - on the surface terrifying, but could contain food) and walked Max in between. He didn't hesitate. We went round and round, pausing every so often to snatch some grass. Horses are said to be 'trickle feeders'. Max thinks this is a highly overrated concept, and prefers scoffing as much as possible, in the shortest possible time, so he did.
In the end I asked him to walk onto the rubber matting, which he did. Then I halted him, and asked him to step backwards off it, which he also promptly did. I was thrilled. It was such a sunny afternoon, I decided to go for a walk with him, so we set off up the road. We passed a big lorry with a hi-ab on the back, parked on the lane. Max walked past without a hint of spookiness whatsoever. Don't forget this is the horse that passed two fire engines, an ambulance and an over-turned car a couple of weeks ago, not to mention the helicopter. You never can tell with horses.
We walked up to Terrifying Rock. I gradually moved him closer. He didn't take any notice of the rock. I nudged his head towards it. He was inches away. I said, "Look Max, Terrifying Rock!" He said, "Yes mum, very nice, but it's right next to Delicious Grass!" He ate grass. We strolled home. I still love him.