Tuesday, 4 May 2010

If The Cap Fits...

I don't think anyone who knows me can call me vain. I think mirrors are God's way of keeping a check on that - one brief look in the mirror in the morning and all is well. Linger a while and I start to notice the grey hair and the lines! I've never been keen on make-up especially as I've nearly always worn glasses, which makes mascara superfluous, and perfume is pointless when you spend all day with horses (it can attract unwanted attention!) but my one weakspot is my hair. Again, please don't think I spend hours crimping and primping, I just want to wash my hair, dry it and get on with my life. As many of you know, I've had long hair for the past six years, but had a mental abberation when we moved here and had it cut short. What was I thinking? You know sometimes in life you find the perfect thing for you? For example, now that I've discovered the beauty and practicality of leather sofas, I'd never have any other kind. My hair was like that. Long hair worked well for me. I could wash it, dry it, put it up in a ponytail and forget about it all day. Working with horses requires that you either have very long hair so you can put it up, or very short hair so it doesn't cover your face when it's windy, or when you've got a horse's hoof in your hand and you're bending over, trying to get the mud out of it. If you look, you will find that horsey women have hair that is definitely one or the other. If a horsewoman has midlength hair, she also has a groom. (Ditto painted nails).
So I cut my hair short thinking it would be practical, as in quick to blow dry, which it was, but when I came home with my newly coiffed style and Mr O said I looked like my mother, I knew I'd made a mistake. I grew it into a bob. The bob is a mystery to me.
Other women have their hair bobbed and they look chic, feminine and vaguely french. I have a bob and I look like Percy in Blackadder, or like Jimbo Jones in the Simpsons.
So you can imagine my feelings this weekend, when finally, at long last, I can scrape my hair back and put an elastic band round it. I cannot describe the joy in 'being me' again. The baseball cap is on (the other equestrian must-have) and I am deeply happy. I may have the tiniest ponytail in England, but it's a start. Things can only get better.

I would just like to state for the record, that I've had a truly wonderful weekend. Bank Holidays are difficult, aren't they? You make plans, but you know the weather is going to be bad, because this is England. It's the ideal weekend to go bowling or to the cinema, but no! We english plan picnics and trips to the zoo and the seaside (You can tell I don't live on the coast any more, otherwise I'd have said, 'beach', not 'seaside.') because we are bold and optimistic and mad.
But Mr O and I decided to do a ride to a place called Ogston Reservoir yesterday, because we keep looking on the map and finding loads of bridleways that go out that way. We drove round on Saturday night and realised it was 'do-able'. Yes, everyone else had either gone to the pub or clubbing, or even the flicks, but we were driving round in a car trying to see if we could ride a ten mile route hardly touching a road. And if I hadn't been doing that? I'd have been at home, cleaning my tack, obviously. It's a heck of a commitment, owning a horse.
So we set out at about 9.30 and rode and rode and rode, and it was... fabulous! Ogston Reservoir isn't vast (Ladybower must be much bigger?) but the sun was gleaming off the water which flashed past between the trees, as we flashed past, trying not to race each other and getting the giggles. We turned down a lane and came to what is, really like a secret part of Ashover. There were little cottages dotted about on the hillsides, with beautiful gardens, some with chickens and the odd dog running about, but everywhere a different shade of green. We went down a winding track, and splashed through a river, and shot up the track on the other side. I've never been there before, but Mr O has done it a few times now. The way he's described it made it sound quite scary, but I really enjoyed it and can't wait to go again. I would say it was about ten miles there and back again, but the horses weren't tired at all, and neither was I, which is deeply satisfying.
And then to confess that I spent the best part of the afternoon in front of the television watching the coverage of Badminton (Horse Trials). I just want to thank the BBC, as I don't think I've seen this much coverage in some years. It really was gripping, right to the very end. We'd seen Paul Tapner ride Inonothing on the Sunday, and I'd remarked at the time that his horse was very honest and genuine, especially when Paul rode quite badly through the water. That horse knew exactly what he had to do and jumped everything in fine style. Ninety-nine percent of horses would have ducked out, but Inonothing was amazing, and what a turn of speed. It comes as no surprise to me that he won (although I was secretly rooting for Mary King) and I cheered my head off at the end.
Add to this that Mr O cooked the dinner, and you can see that it's been a pretty excellent Bank Holiday weekend all round - and guess what? There's another one at the end of the month!

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