Don't you just love it when nice things come through the post? I give all the bills to Mr O, and keep all the goodies to myself! It is catalogue season, so my new Robinsons and Ride Away catalogues have arrived. They sell horsey stuff, and I promised myself I wouldn't look, but the pages have been calling me, calling...
I actually need a pair of green jods, as the ones I have are fading fast. I have had them since my college days, so they've done really well. Unfortunately green seems to be out of fashion at the moment, and I can't find any anywhere. I want bottle green, not khaki, and not the slightly gruesome pea green ones on sale at Thomas Irving. Thank goodness they didn't have my size. We went in looking for jods for me and came out with a jacket for Mr O. How did that happen?
We've had some entry forms through, one for the Barlow Hounds Hunter Trials and one for the Chatsworth Sponsored Ride. I'm not sure if we'll do the Barlow Hounds, as I've done it twice already. It is good fun, though. I was exhausted walking the course, let alone riding it. Mind you, Max wasn't as fit then as he is now.
We will definitely be doing the Chatsworth ride, though, as it's a superb place. All four of us did it last year (Pongo and Missis came too) but they will be on holiday this year, but we'll still be going. And if we have to gallop blindly past Chatsworth House, well we just do.
I've found a very good website at Framecraft who sell lots of things like trinket boxes, rulers and keyrings that are suitable to add cross stitch designs to. I ordered a pen pot and a paper block. I've been stitching a little cottage, which I finished yesterday, and it's the perfect size to go in the pen holder, like this.
There are two more cottages to do, so I'll do them next week and put them in the other two sides. As I said before, I've got a thing about houses (and architecture generally) and I think it will take a while to get the whole 'Home Sweet Home,' theme out of my system. I may as well indulge it for a little while longer.
Just to re-cap, for people who are new to my blog: We came here originally to do Missis' horses two days a week while she was away. At that time there was another woman here as well, and we were going to split the work between us. This woman complained constantly, and in the end Pongo and Missis asked her to leave. Before they did so, they obviously came to me and asked if I'd be able to do five days a week on the rare occasions it would be required. Bearing in mind we only had 2 horses here, and so did Missis, I said yes. Four horses is well within my capabilities.
Then last November the whole family went away for a weekend, so Mr O and I did the horses (by now increased to six). We thought that was fair enough.
Then this year we've had the stint where the whole family went to London for two days during half term, so I did all the horses. Then Pongo and the children came home, and Missis flew on to America, but Mr O and I mucked out that weekend while Pongo was in bed. Hmmm. Then Mr O had a week off work, and helped me muck out for the whole of the following week, do you remember? So altogether I did nine days without a break (although I realise I had help for the week Mr O was off.)
During that week, as well, Pongo seemed to be under the impression that I would have his children every day after school, even though he clearly told us he didn't have any clients in the afternoons (he is an accountant), so he could come home. He seemed very put out that I had a dental appointment one day and we went to Worksop on another day, but I don't drive, so couldn't waste an opportunity of Mr O being home on a week day, to take me.
Bear in mind, we don't get paid to do any of the mucking out or childminding, and we pay a decent rent to live here, we aren't staff, we are tenants.
So last week Missis mentioned that she'd be in Canada this week, which is fine, I don't mind doing Monday to Friday, even though I don't have the strength to ride my own horse once I've mucked out all six stables every day. Then she let it slip that she wasn't coming back until Saturday night. I discussed it with Mr O, who wasn't happy at all. He works five days a week in his own job, and quite rightly, I think, doesn't see why he should work during his time off. I think this is going too far as well. If we agree to do any more weekends, Missis will think we're obviously willing and start asking us all the time. We are Christians, and not shirkers, and quite willing to go the extra mile, but enough is enough. I lay awake three nights in a row, worrying about how I was going to tell her.
In the end I approached her on the last morning, and said, "Let me get this clear. Are you assuming we will do the Saturday as well?" She said she was. I told her we had plans to go out (which we do) and couldn't do it. She was fine about it actually, and said she would get Pongo to do it (because I can tell you now, my days of mucking out his horse while he lays in bed are well and truly over. I wouldn't even do that for Mr O unless he was ill!)
She did mutter to herself, "and if they (the horses) don't get done for a day, it doesn't really matter," which was either her attempt at making me feel guilty or an open acknowledgement that her husband is so idle he may not even do it. But the constraints of her job are her problem, not ours. I skivvy for no-one.
I also made it clear that I have not agreed to have the children every night just because she isn't here. At the end of the day, I am not their mother, or even grandmother. And again, I do it out of the kindness of my heart, I don't get paid. I asked her to get Pongo to decide which two days he wanted me to have the children. On Sunday I asked them which days they had decided on, and Missis said that I would have them Monday and Friday (not 'could' I have them) and her dad would have them Tuesday and Thursday and Pongo would have to have them on Wednesday. If I hadn't mentioned it, though, they would never have brought the subject up and just hoped they could have dumped on me as usual.
I am glad we've cleared the air about it, though, as I'd spent several sleepless nights worrying (when, frankly, I could have just prayed about it and left it in the Lord's capable hands, more fool me!) Bearing in mind that the showing season starts at Easter, there is very little chance that we would be available for mucking out at the weekends now anyway. Thank goodness the horses go out soon, and then I am as free as a bird. I can't wait.
But it's not all doom and gloom. One bit of very good news is that Missis has booked a company to come and build a manege. They are coming on April 12th. This will transform everything. I am so excited, I can't begin to tell you.
There are other things afoot here, but I can't tell you about it until I know for certain. I promise not to keep you in suspense any longer than I have to, but I have to stick to chronological order here, so that everything makes sense. All will be revealed in good time.