We are having some good days. We've put the showjumps up in the field over the road and Mr O has been going over regularly to jump them. I plucked up the courage to have a go yesterday. I put Mr O on Barnaby first, as when I jump him in the manege he gets very strong (Barnaby, that is, not Mr O!) but to my surprise he was very relaxed about the whole thing, so in the end Mr O got off and I got on and popped a few fences. I was surprised at how relaxed he was, he didn't try to tank me at all. He is a very honest horse, he doesn't really run out, you've just got to be confident and sit tight. I could have done with my stirrups up one more hole, but apart from that it was fine. I need to do it again sooner rather than later. It was lovely to be having a go though, I haven't jumped anything for ages.
Mr O then got on Zak and took him round. He is really improving. Mr O used to jump in what's called a 'hunting seat' where you sit very upright as you go over the fence. This was all very well on Barnaby, but on Zak he looks as though he's going to roll off the back of him. The other night I explained more about the jumping position and got Mr O to do it going round the field. He said the penny dropped and he didn't realise you had to do it like that (bum out of the saddle as you go over the fence). He's been riding for five years. You have to wonder, sometimes, don't you?
I've had a fab time today on a twelve mile pleasure ride around Cossall which is fairly near Nottingham, but very rural. Barnaby was quite slow to start, but the further we went the fitter he seemed to get. There were a few good canter sections which they really enjoyed. I've been feeling a bit rough, as though I'm coming down with a cold, but was fine all the way round.
At one point we rode under the motorway, which wasn't too bad, but further on we had to ride on a bridge going over the motorway. As the horses set foot on the bridge a car going underneath had a blow-out. The bang was absolutely phenomenal, but Barnaby didn't flinch and just continued to walk over the bridge. I am very proud of him.
Having said that, though, we walked along the old canal path for quite a way, and as we walked through the gate at the end, he managed to whack my knee on the gatepost. I haven't had that done to me for some years. Thanks, Bard! I have a bruise and it's taken loads of the skin off, but it doesn't hurt now, thank goodness.
And the thing I'm most pleased to tell you: Do you remember a few weeks ago we found Henny Penny sitting on a pile of eggs in amongst the junk in a spare stable? We put her in solitary where she sat quite happily, turning her eggs reglarly. When we put her to bed on Monday night we realised she was talking to her eggs, in encouraging tones. Sure enough, on Monday, she had a chick with her. I took out the broken egg shell and left her to it.
By Wednesday morning, she had four chicks. I remembered that the chicks need to eat chick crumb so threw her feed away and topped it up with chickfeed.
The next morning I came out to check on her, and to my astonishment, counted nine babies running about. It was like shopping in Mothercare, children scattering in all directions, and Penny in the middle of them, trying to keep control. She was trying to give them a health and safety lecture, but none of them were taking a blind bit of notice. They all look well, anyway, and she's as pleased as punch, really, bless her. They are all yellow and grey and smaller than sparrows at the moment, but if one of her previous daughters is anything to go by, they'll end up being pretty big. Well done, Penny, I'm so pleased for you.
I am making Christmas cards as fast as I can but haven't really been inspired until recently. I'll show you some as soon as I can.
Oh, and I am loving The Time Traveler's Wife, it's extremely good.
My response to Warwick Schiller's solution and CMO
17 hours ago