Then I read about the Stazon ink pads, and finally bought one this weekend. It has transformed everything. The ink dries really quickly, so you can start painting more or less straight away. I've also bought a set of watercolour paints, and they are fantastic. I've had such fun practising over the weekend. I'll be making our anniverary card sometime in the next few days, as I've bought a beautiful set of stamps, so I'll show you the result soon.
I really, really wish I'd bought that parchment paper...
- O -
We managed to get to church yesterday, and it was wonderful, but quite heart-rending. A team of nine of the guys have just got back from a trip to India. We support the work of a wonderful man called Pastor Abraham who has done amazing work in Delhi, setting up schools and homes for orphans. He said some of the children they've taken in didn't even know their names or how old they were, so they gave them names and ages, so they had an identity to build on. Isn't that awful?
Some of the women in the group that went gave very tearful testimonies, of little toddlers in a line asleep in the street. They had to go on a 20 hour train journey from the airport, which one woman said was fine once she'd flicked the cockroaches off the bed, and shooed out all the mice. She said she still struggled to sleep, and woke up at a station. She looked out of the window and saw a woman bathing her tiny baby. She said it took a while to realise where she was, and then realised the woman was bathing her baby in a muddy puddle in the middle of the railway track.
That's all I have to say about that.
- O -
Mr O rode Barnaby and Zak yesterday, and they came back looking well and fit and happy - the horses, that is, I'm not sure the same can be said about Mr O! I think I'll do a feature on Zak soon, as he's still quite new to us in a way. I'll give you some background and history on him.
I got up this morning and knew it was time for my riding lesson. I'd insisted that I start jumping in this lesson, and felt physically sick as I turned the other horses out.
I went back in and managed to chew on a slice of toast, before giving up and coming out to groom Max and tack him up, all the while thinking of reasons to ring up and cancel, and telling myself not to be so stupid.
In the end, I decided to pretend I've never jumped Max before, and have no previous history of what he's like, and for some reason, that really calmed me down, and we set off up the road together, on this gloriously sunny morning.
Max was an absolute star all the way through the lesson. There was no leaping, bucking, or jumping that Nijinksy would have been proud of (hold that thought!), my legs were still, Max's transitions were perfect. (A transition just means changing from one gait to another, eg from walk to trot, trot to canter etc.) It's easy to speed up the trot rather than change to canter, and generally be all over the place, but today we made a good picture together.
Then the trotting poles came out. Max likes trotting poles. He never lets me down. Remember, he loves to jump, so trotting poles are a doddle. He has seen them thousands of times in his life. So today, he trotted merrily up to them, and stopped dead in front of the first one, going, "What the heck are they?!"
We went round again. And again, and he was absolutely fine in the end. Then Lucy put two of the poles into a little cross pole, and Max sailed over. It felt fantastic. He was superb. I remembered everything, including why I love this horse. I was as high as a kite afterwards, and can't wait to go again next week. I have promised myself a lesson up until the end of March, but I may extend it a little into April, we'll see. The showing season will have started by then.
I came out of the riding school, fully intending to walk home, when Max looked at me and at his back, as if to say, "It's okay, hop on, I'll take you home." I was astonished. It was like a boyfriend offering to take you home on his motorbike - 'don't worry, it's perfectly safe.' So I got on, and home we came. I tried a trot, and Max didn't even want to do that. We just ambled along together, admiring the scenery, in perfect harmony... and I have been grinning like an imbecile ever since. Riding does that to me. That's probably why I'm still doing it.