That's me on the far left, by the way, in the spotty dress.
Anyway, I arrived back on Saturday afternoon and Mr O met me at the station. 'Er Indoors came too and made it very clear she wasn't speaking to me. She actually ignored me until bedtime, just to let me know she hadn't forgiven me for going away.
I rushed out to see Barnaby to make sure he was okay, and then it was time to get ready for Pongo's 40th birthday party. We dashed off and realised we'd forgotten the present, then realised we didn't really know where the social club was (it's not in our village) so we dashed back, picked up the presents and the Satnav and set off again.
We had a really good time, the highlight of which was listening to Pongo singing on the karaoke, and got back around 11pm. My third late night.
Then we were up at the crack of dawn on Sunday to go to Chatsworth Horse Trials. This is one of my favourite places to go - where else do you get to rub shoulders with the top riders? There was a bonus this year that we'd arranged to get together with a bunch of friends. We've all 'met' on the Your Horse forum, then all switched over to facebook last year, so we've known each other for ages. As Derbyshire is quite a central county, it was suggested that Chatsworth might be the ideal place to meet, so we decided to rendezvous outside the Joules (clothing company) tent at 1pm.
It was great to meet up with people, some who'd travelled down from Yorkshire and up from Birmingham. I could have talked for hours.
But of course, there was also so much show jumping to watch
and a really thrilling
cross country course
It was great to see so many fabulous riders, especially Pippa Funnell (my heroine), but there was no sign of Mary King and although Zara Phillips' name was on the schedule, we didn't see her at all.
But there was an amazing display by Jean Francois Pignon, who worked with his five horses loose in the showjumping ring. It was absolutely amazing, not so much what he got them to do, but that they were so willing to work for him.
And then, the show stopping moment... Mr O said, "That's Oliver Townend over there." I looked across and sure enough, there he was. I had a piece of paper on me and rummaged around in my bag and found a pen, so I plucked up the courage to sidle up to him and ask him for his autograph. We had a good chat actually. He said he'd won one class but had fallen in the second (we missed that then!) I had to resist the urge to say, "You don't need a secretary/groom/housekeeper, do you?" and managed to keep my mouth shut. He was really nice actually, very tall and quite dishy, which I'd never noticed before!
So that was the icing on the cake really, and it was time to wend our way home. No more of this
I think I enjoyed Chatsworth more than ever this year. And amazingly I managed to go into the Joules tent and come out empty-handed. I hope it doesn't mean I'm coming down with something!
Have a great day everyone,