Suddenly it is like Piccadilly Circus around here. Men are everywhere. I rode Barnaby this morning and by the time I came back half the field fence was down and a ditch was being dug in the field. By tea time it looked like this:
And apparently it's going to stay that way, for the water to drain off the field. There will be a field fence to the right of this picture, then the manege fence on the left.
We turned the horses out and they weren't bothered by all the machinery, in fact it was like daytime TV to them, it gave them something to discuss.
After lunch we got the horses in as Missis' dad had turned up with his little Massey Ferguson, with the trailer on the back, containing the hopper for the fertilizer and the chain harrow. We do have a tractor, but it's too big and will sink in the field, whereas the Massey is tiny and floats over the top of the field ruts.
Our tractor is a John Deere. I feel it should have a trailer on the back, which would be called a Jane Darling, and would presumably follow on behind the John Deere, picking up all the rubbish it leaves lying all over the place.
Anyway, Missis, Grandpa and I struggled to lift the hopper off the trailer and attach it to the back of the tractor, then lift twelve bags of fertilizer, each weighing 25kg, and tip them into the hopper. I thought my right arm was going to drop off. Where are the men when you need them? Grandpa is 64, so shouldn't be doing this either, let alone us girlies. Landgirls, we are.
Then it was time to connect the chain harrow, which comes in two parts, each part weighing roughly the size of a sumo wrestler, and just as tricky to lay out flat. Once both parts are connected, they have to be attached to the bar, then the hook on the bar is connected to the back of the tractor. Bearing in mind I'd already ridden Barnaby, mucked out three stables and done a load of ironing, I felt I'd done my duty for the day, really, but there I was, hauling for Queen and Country. (Is the country grateful, I asks meself).
I actually managed to sit down for five minutes before giving the horses their tea and filling their haynets for the night. I am so tired now, if somebody blew on me, I'd probably fall over. I used to work in an office, you know.
But, as regards riding Barnaby, always the highlight of my day, I decided to challenge myself and ride him down to the village and back up again. I've never done it on Max on my own. The only thing that worried me was that I knew he'd have a paddy when we came to the livery yard (the quick way home) where I would want him to stay on the road and not turn left. Sure enough, when we got there, he did try to go left, up the side road, because he likes having a canter on the verge up there, but I just stayed firm, kept my leg on, and rode him forwards, and after a little while he realised I meant business, and gave in with good grace.
We rode further down into the village where a large extension to the nursing home is being built. There was a fire burning, a man in a digger and a man on the garage roof, shaking out an enormous dust sheet. Max would have had a fit and run home. Barnaby didn't even bother to look at any of it, he just marched purposefully on (once more into the breach, dear friends...)
We got to the Post Office and I managed to get Barnaby onto the pavement, so I could post a letter in the post box. The slot turned out to be considerably lower than I was, but I was determined to do it without getting off, and leant right over and put the card in. I gave him a big pat and shouted, "Yes!" then looked up and realised I had an audience. Oh well, it'll give them something to talk about in the pub later.
We carried on, past the Black Swan and trotted all the way up the road, past the village hall, then up the steep hill. He isn't as fit as Mr O would have us believe, as we had to stop for a breather half way up (my need was at least as great as his) before ploughing bravely on to the summit. Then I plucked up the courage to canter along the verge. At first I thought, "Hello, he's off!" but he pulled up beautifully at the end. My wonderful boy.
I am making lots of cards and having a great time, glueing and sticking, happy as a hippo in mud. I'll show you them as soon as I can, but for now, I'm off for a second helping of home-made trifle and an early night. Blessings, everyone.