Sunday, 30 October 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook - October

Outside My Window: Barnaby has run down to the field shelter, which I can see clearly from my kitchen window.  He is standing there sniggering.  I am so curious that I go outside to see what's going on.   Simon is whinnying madly, wondering where Barnaby has gone.  Zak is only four feet behind him, but Simon doesn't care.  In the end Zak can't stand it and, rolling his eyes in disbelief, walks up to Simon, and takes him down to where Barnaby has been hiding. Silly horse.

I am thinking:  I must make a hair appointment for December 15th.  I am out to a Christmas lunch and an evening party on the same day.

I am thankful for: John's new job.  So far, so good.  And that the new liveries have settled in really well and seem really happy.

I am wearing: navy blue jods and a dark green Joules top.  Whenever I write this I am in jods.  It's not a coincidence, is it?

I am reading: 'The Red Queen' by Philippa Gregory.  I have already read The White Queen this year, and was thrilled to find The Red Queen existed.  It's about Margaret Stanley, who was the mother of the man who eventually becomes Henry VII.  It is gripping.  In fact, both books are.  More than that, I am thrilled that I own both books and can take my time as I don't have to get them back to the library. 

I am hoping/praying:  This is a bit difficult.  The woman who runs our craft group is lovely.  She is married.  Her husband went down to his daughter's house a few weeks ago.  They are building a house.  Her husband fell out of a second storey window into a well.  I am praying for him every day but we haven't had any more news, which I think is a bad sign.  I just hope to goodness he's okay.  She said he was conscious and hadn't broken anything, so I am hoping for the best, but who knows?

On my mind: Winter.  And snow.  Please could it not, just for one winter.  Please.

From the kitchen: I realised when we dieted this year that I really missed baking.  I didn't realise that I enjoy it so much.  This week I'm going to make a lemon drizzle cake.  Mmmm.

I am creating: lots of Christmas cards, but I'm stuck on one at the moment.  I am also back into cross stitch and really enjoying it.  I've just bought a new one so I can carry on during our get-togethers in the village on Thursday mornings.

I am hearing: 'You've Got Mail.'  Such a sweet film.

Around The House: I went on a bus trip to Derby a few week's ago and had a bit of a spree.  But ages ago one of my favourite shops, 'Past Times' closed down in Chesterfield.  I was very upset about it and thought they'd closed down everywhere, so I was delighted to see a shop open in Derby.  I've wanted one of these for so long, and knew they sold them in PT, so went in and grabbed one in seconds.  I came home a very happy bunny:

I got one, I got one!

One of my favourite things: has to be this beautiful lavender filled heart -

It hangs in my window with the cup and a few other things in red and black.  It's not my normal display for this time of year, but I really like it.

A Scripture Thought: 'Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26  (For a friend I am praying for that has cancer right now).

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Mucking out, mostly, as the horses are in at night now.  Pongo and Missis have a firework party next weekend.  I am dreading it, as they let off fireworks pretty close to the stables.  They have said it'll be the last time they'll do it, though, thank goodness.

A picture thought: 'Does my bum look big in this?'

There is a drainage ditch in the field and Barnaby spent a lot of time in it this summer.  Every time I passed the field, this is what I saw.  He's going in for the Rear of the Year award. 

Have a great week, everyone!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Paradise Restored... Temporarily

Well I did confront Missis and put it as kindly as I could and said that if she wanted us to all use the (smallest) bottom field to graze on this winter, there was no way we could fit another three horses on it, even if one of them was a small pony.  She rattled on about using some of the grass next to the manege, which is ridiculous.  If she does that some people will be worse off than they were before.  She was very concerned about a little girl going into the field with Barnaby and Co. to bring her horse out, which was her excuse for giving them a little tiny paddock.  I said I would just have a rule that children are not allowed to go into the field, which threw her somewhat.
But in the end, to my absolute delight, she admitted she didn't really want more people to come just yet, which is exactly what I think.  It is actually working out very well with the liveries we've got.  They're quite happy to keep themselves to themselves and are delighted with everything we've given them.  They love the manege and went on a hack today for the first time in goodness knows how long, and came back with big grins on their faces (always a good sign!)
So I've cheered up quite considerably. 
Except... (there's always something, isn't there?!)
I went into the field yesterday to get Barnaby out to ride.  The horses were all sleeping in a group, ours on one side of the wall, the liveries the other side.  I put a headcollar on Barnaby and led him out of the field.  Suddenly Simon started whinnying and then Harley joined in and Barnaby took it as his cue to rear up, spin and run off.  I was not amused and trudged back up the field to try to catch him again.  Then Zak decided it was his cue to stir things up a bit and started to run round the field, making Barnaby run with him.  At first I didn't mind (it's free exercise, isn't it?) but Zak went on and on and on. Barnaby still had his leadrope attached to his headcollar so I was worried sick he'd tread on it and injure himself.   
They continued for about twenty minutes, just running and running.  They've carved the ground up as well, which isn't great.  In the end Barnaby got fed up with it and slowed down, but Zak kept going and didn't want me to take Barnaby in.  Finally Barnaby ground to a halt and I was able to catch him.  His chest was absolutely heaving and he was dripping with sweat.  I took his rug off as I decided it was warm enough for him to go without.  I was worried he'd get colic as he wanted to eat the grass, but I think even he realised he shouldn't do it and just spent some time getting his breath back. 
I went off and got the quad and decided to poo pick the field while everybody calmed down.  By then the liveries had arrived and got their horses in and then Barnaby was a bit more willing to come in but still stood flinging himself around his stable.
I managed to tack him up and we went for a hack.  He was absolutely fine while we were out.  When we got back I untacked him and gave him his tea while I went to get Zak and Simon in, but he stood there kicking the door until all the other horses were in.  It makes the whole issue of riding totally exhausting.
I've been out and got him today and he and Zak were quite willing to try it again.  I decided I wasn't going to stay as I didn't want them to get worked up like they had done on Tuesday, but suddenly Barnaby agreed to be caught. 
This time I'd come prepared and wore gloves and brought the Kemp Controller.  He stood while I put it on, then had no choice but to come with me.  Once again Simon whinnyed, which really doesn't help matters.  He came up and trotted past us.  Barnaby made to go off with him, but couldn't because of the Kemp Controller.  What an amazing device that is, what a life-saver.  Barnaby kept trotting in circles round me, trying to get away, but he had no choice but to come with me.  I did wonder if he might strike out at me, but he didn't, thank goodness.
Once I'd got him through the gate and past the barn, he walked in quite calmly, but wouldn't stand still in the stable.  It makes it virtually impossible to pick his feet out.  I just gave him a quick brush over and tacked him up. 
We actually went for a lovely ride.  I rode down to the village and managed to post a couple of letters in the post box, always deeply satisfying.  We came trundling up the hill in beautiful sunshine.  We are having unusually good weather for October.  It has rained at night, but the days have been lovely.  This is the last week John can ride after work, so I'm glad it's been nice for him.
The steep run up the hill seemed to take the wind out of Barnaby's sails.  He was a lot calmer while I washed him down and put his rug back on and turned him out.
So I don't know what's made him go like this for the last couple of days.  He must feel unsettled with the new horses here.  He expects to be in charge and must find it difficult with horses he can't actually reach.  Other horses are meant to bask in his presence as far as he's concerned.  It's as if Barnaby and Zak have had a delayed reaction to their arrival.  I hope to goodness they all settle down again soon.
So things are really good at the moment, but I hope Barnaby doesn't spend the whole winter in this mood.  I haven't even started mucking out yet and I'm worn out! 
Hope all is well with you.  Greetings to my two new followers as well.  It's an up and down journey around here, but I wouldn't swap it for the world and am always counting my blessings (sometimes you have to, don't you!)

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Pleasure Ride - Shipley Country Park

It's been a very up-and-down weekend.
I got Barnaby in yesterday morning and spent an hour clipping him.  He wasn't very happy about being in and wouldn't stand still much.  It was as if he was saying, "If I'm in, everyone should be in."  I had a feeling I was making a really bad job of it, but when I finished and tacked him up, I realised he looked lovely.
Because he was in such an argy mood, I asked John if he would jump him before me, so he took him round and over the fences.  Barnaby was really good, so I decided I'd better get on, otherwise I'll only be jumping him once a fortnight, and the idea was really to be jumping him twice a week, so John got off and I got on.  This is what we jumped:

I know I get 3/10 for style, but I don't really care.  He was quite gung-ho compared to last time, because John had worked him quite a bit, but he was still really good and I loved doing it.  It'll be a shame if the weather gets really bad over the winter as I'd love to keep on with it now I've started.
 The liveries arrived not long after this.  They are Tim, his wife Belinda and their son Sean, who have a mare called Puzzle.  They've come with their friend Becky who has a gelding called Harley.  They brought them into the stables and settled them down for a while, then turned them out.  They couldn't believe how much space they had and were bucking and leaping.
Of course, ours came belting down to see who the new people were.  They just stayed on the other side of the wall and didn't come down to the bottom field where they could have said hello over the electric fence. Harley didn't want them to talk to Puzzle and kept blocking her off so she couldn't get to them. After about twenty minutes our horses just went back to eating. 
Apparently at their old yard each horse had about 1/3 of the grazing land we've given them.  Harley's stable was so small he couldn't turn round in it and had to stand diagonally across the stable to eat his hay.  How awful!  I think they're going to really like it here.
We went out to lunch with the family to celebrate my youngest daughter's birthday and then to drop my son back, so didn't get back until 7pm.
We got up this morning and got Zak and Barnaby in, and got them ready to go to Shipley for the last AVR ride of the year.  We left Simon in the field, who started whinnying.  To his surprise, Harley answered him, so they struck up a conversation together instead.  Such a weird feeling to have horses in the barn.

Some of you who have followed my blog for a while will know that we have had terrible problems travelling Zak.  You can read about it here.  Since then John has spent a lot of time and effort repairing and improving the lorry.  I had expected John to take Zak on a few short journeys over the past weeks, but he hasn't.  I think it's a bit of denial going on there.  I actually felt physically sick this morning at the prospect of going in the lorry with him again, but we loaded them and set off.  Zak had one little bang on the 35 minute journey but was quiet the rest of the way.
We arrived and lowered the ramp and couldn't understand why we could only just see Zak's head above the partition.  It turns out he'd sat down and got his leg trapped under the partition.  I was horrified.  John managed to kick at his hoof and luckily it went back in underneath where it should have been.  I was worried sick his leg was broken.  We opened the partition to have a look at him, but he seemed fine, so we brought him slowly and carefully down the ramp.  To my immense relief, he was fine.  He'd sweated up a lot as well, so John put a cooler rug on him and let him cool down for a while.  He wasn't lame, so we tacked up and set off on what turned out to be a fabulous ride. 
Last year when we did this ride they said it was ten miles, but we thought it was very quick, only about seven miles.  This year they'd said it was ten miles, but had added an extra loop on, so I think we were right.  This time, instead of going over the main bridge, we went down to the left on a bridleway.  There was a very narrow wooden bridge at the end of it, then a wider one which Barnaby trotted straight over, then shot up the hill.  There were little wooden slats across the track at set distances and Barnaby jumped over them.  It was fantastic actually.  Later on, we came back to the same place, and this time he was ready for it and shot up the hill, leaping over each of these wooden struts.  It was fabulous! 
He was very strong today, as if to say, 'Mum's not bothered by a bit of speed these days, let's crack on.'  It was so lovely, though.  There were some fabulous places to have canters, too, which we didn't do last year.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  We have basically said we probably won't do these again next year, so I wanted the last ride to be good, and I wasn't disappointed.  I've just seen the photos on the website, so I'll get one as soon as I can and put it on here.
I travelled in the back of the lorry with Zak on the way home and he was fine.  He really struggles to travel sideways though, and can't balance round corners.  He does fling himself against the partition for no apparent reason though, and when I said "No!" to him he didn't do it again, so I don't know what he does that for.  It was quite a relief to get home, I can tell you.  He'd hardly sweated up though, which is good.  We won't be going anywhere between now and next April, so it should give him plenty of time to recover, then we'll decide what to do next year.

We turned the horses out and went off to the shop.  When we came back there was a car blocking the drive so we had to drive through Pongo and Missis' gate.  When we got to the stables I could hear voices and wondered what was going on.  This woman was there and Missis said, "This is K---, she's come about liveries."  I was totally confused, thinking, my number is on the advert, but she hasn't rung me, how does she even know we are doing liveries?  I felt as if Pongo and Missis had set it up, it was a bit surreal.  I got my wits together and asked her how many horses she had and she said, "Three."  This was a bit of a shock, as I only really wanted one more horse. 
Then I did the really crucial thing, and this is the bit you need to know, to make the rest of it make sense.  We have 9 acres here that we can graze.  It's spread over 3 fields, so say it's 3 acres per field.  We always shut the furthest field off in the winter, as they take a crop of hay off it, which is fair enough.  So that leaves us with the middle field and the bottom field.  Missis promised me that she would leave the middle field open for this winter, that she 'was prepared to sacrifice it'.  It was on this basis that I agreed to have liveries.  Then the other day she said we'd have to shut the top field off soon (fair enough) and then the middle field when the time came.  I should have challenged her there and then, but I didn't.
If I'd known she was going to restrict us to the smallest bottom field I wouldn't have had liveries, I would have just kept our 3 horses on it for the winter and just about made it through.  Now I've already donated half of it to Puzzle and Harley, which leaves our three on the other half, which isn't ideal, but I'd just about cope.  Now Missis is suggesting we put 5 horses on half the field, which is ridiculous.
I am going to have to have it out with her and say that if she has her heart set on shutting the middle field off as well then we can't have another 3 horses on the bottom field, making it seven horses on three acres.  We've never had that many before, it was bad enough with six when Max and Fudge were still here.
I think I just thought I'd be happy as we are with us in our little stables with the new liveries in the barn and that would be fine.  We came here because this would be our home and it would be quiet and now there are going to be loads of people all over the place and people using the manege when I want to go in it.  Grrrr.  But the most important thing is that I am going to have to confront Missis tomorrow and  get her to make a basic decision for once.  It's not fair for her to say that I'm the yard manager one minute and pull the rug from under me the next.  How embarrassing is it going to be for me if one minute I say, "We've got all this grazing!" and the next minute, "Oh no we haven't!"  I'd feel such a prat.
So it was a good day, and now I'm quite annoyed. 
Who knows what tomorrow may bring?
Tune in for the next installment...
Jane (who is frustrated, can you tell?)

Monday, 17 October 2011

I am finally able to tell you what's been going on round here apart from everything else. The problem was, I got so used to being sworn to secrecy (not putting anything on facebook etc) that now I'm able to say something, I hardly know what to say.

Basically, after ten years of working at the same firm, and hating it, John has got a new job, and started there today. His last couple of weeks at the old place have been very stressful. They've divided John's job responsibilities between four different people, so you can imagine what his work-load has been like. John's ex-bosses have asked for a number where they could get in touch with him, in the hope that he could still go there and work for them at weekends. I don't think so, guys!
It was a very strange and difficult place to work. I worked there myself for three years, so I know what I'm talking about. Everything was a bit barmy. I worked in the sales office, and people used to make up prices as they went along. They also used to lie and then deny things. It made it so difficult to do my job properly. I don't know how John has coped for all these years, but I do know it's been hard work being a sounding board when he gets home.
So he's had his first day in the new place, and I think he's going to like it. There's lots to do, anyway. My main worry was that he'd get bored as he did so much problem-solving in his old place.

The new liveries are coming on Saturday. We've been frantically painting stables to get them ready. The thing that's really been worrying me is the weather forecast saying it could snow by the end of the month and us having very little straw in. The horses will come in if it snows, and I need something to bed them down with. It drives me mad when Missis says they'll go and get it on Saturday, and then they don't.
Fortunately, Missis' dad turned up today with 138 bales of straw on his trailer, which we've managed to reverse into the barn. This is a load off my mind.
The other thing that's cheered me up is that the new livery man came on Friday and put up electric fencing to give his horses the grazing I've allocated. I'm really glad no one argued with me about what I'd decided. I'm thrilled with the way John has altered the other fences so the horses have the maximum grazing, but we've also got a big holding pen. This is the area between the gates, so the horses can't go anywhere if they get away from me when I'm getting them in. It's finally all coming together.

And finally, the thing that's thrilled me no end is that I've started jumping Barnaby again. I have to do it at the weekend, as I need John here in case something happens. The first Saturday I did it, I went for a quick hack to take the edge off Barnaby's energy, then went in the manege and just jumped a cross pole. I felt physically sick all the way round the hack, and my brain was like spaghetti, but I still did it and really enjoyed it. Barnaby didn't try to tank me or anything, it was really good.
Then the following week I bottled out and said John could do it, so he took him round a whole course. The outcome of this is that I've said John can compete him next year, as he's only 14, in the prime of his life, and I don't see why he should miss out just because I can't do it.
The only thing that bugged me is that I've spent a year teaching Barnaby to go straight when he goes round the school, rather than going round with his head swinging to the outside. As soon as John got on, Barnaby started doing it, and John didn't do anything to correct it, which I found quite frustrating.
So this Saturday I decided I would have another go. I also decided just to go in and jump rather than go for a hack first, as all that happens is that I feel as sick as a dog while I'm on the ride and my legs turn to jelly.
So I went in and jumped. Nothing particularly high, but I jumped it on both reins and absolutely loved it. My style came back and my head was really clear. I really had to trust Barnaby as I can't place his feet. Max used to really stand off his fences, but Barnaby gets in a lot closer. You have to trust that he will take off as there's no room left for another stride anyway. But he just launches off those fabulous hocks and sails through the air. His whole body is straight and it's utterly fantastic. Never a hint of a run-out.
I can remember some girls watching John competing at a hunter trials years ago and saying, "I'd like a horse like that - point and press!" and at the time I said, "Huh, you ought to try riding him!" but actually he almost is. Because he's not a spooky horse he isn't distracted by anything going on around him and is totally focused on the fence. It really is a fantastic feeling.
If I was 100% nervous the first time, I'd say this time I was only 25% nervous, and there's nothing wrong with a bit of adrenaline, anyway. I am trying not to have plans and ambitions just yet, especially as winter is approaching fast. My days of winter showjumping are well and truly over, but we'll see what I'm capable of in the spring. When I get a bit better I'll get John to take some piccies. I'd love some of me jumping Barnaby anyway, as I don't have any as yet.
Well, I'd better be off,
Thanks for dropping in today, and for your kind comments on my last post. I'm certainly feeling a lot perkier now!
Jane x

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Sad Days

I've had a peculiar few days.  I had a phone call from a woman enquiring about livery spaces.  She said they wanted to have CCTV in each stable, their own grazing and a tack room of their own so they could bring their sofa and kitchen cupboards.  I said I couldn't do it.  She said, "But you've got nine acres."  I tried to explain and she hung up on me.  Oh well.
On Friday I walked down to the village with Tessa.  I clambered all the way back up and strolled along the road.  There in front of me, I eventually realised, was a dead cat.  I tried to fool myself it was a pile of leaves.  But I knew it was a cat.  I had to go closer, because I realised it was one of the tabby girls.  Oh God.  Red collar.  That meant it was Tab, cold and wet, by the side of the road.  I sobbed, instantly and loudly.  Such a shock.  Then I realised I'd have to go in and tell Missis her cat was dead.  Lordy.  I put Tessa in the stable and went straight round and knocked on the door.  "I don't really want to tell you this, but I'm going to have to."  She got a bag and I got some gloves and we went out together, both fighting back the tears.  I picked Tab up and put her in the bag.  And I will never see her again.  I loved her so much.

That's her on the right, with her sister Climb.  I can't believe I'll never sit in the sun with her on my lap again.  I am distraught.  Climb is walking around looking for her all the time.  I have cuddled and cuddled Purdy.  Thank goodness it wasn't you, my little princess.  You must die of old age.
And then... On Thursday our farriers came.  No problem with that.  At the end, Martha said, "You make cards, don't you?"
"Yes," I said. 
So she asked me if I could make a sympathy card and I agreed.  Then she said it was actually three cards, which is also fine.  She seemed a bit upset, so I didn't say much.  After they'd gone I realised I really need to know who the recipient is, as I would make a different card for a man than I would for a woman.  So I rang her on my mobile and asked her.
She said, "Actually, one is for the parents, one is for the brother, and one is for the girlfriend."  Oh.
So I made the cards and text them yesterday to say they were ready.  When she came to pick them up I told her that I'd been quite sad making the cards (I've never been affected like that before) and offered my condolences.  I asked if it was a family member.  She said no, it was a farrier who was their very good friend.  He was killed in a car crash last week.  How utterly awful.  He was only 28 and leaves a baby girl with his girlfriend.  But worst of all, Andy and Martha are getting married this coming Saturday and this chap was due to be their usher.  Words fail me, frankly. 
Later on I was on facebook, talking to Leigh's mum.  Leigh owns Max, my old horse, and Simon, who we are borrowing, belongs to them.  She just came on to ask me how Simon was doing.  I said that he broke the string when I'd tied him up for the farrier but when I just held the leadrope he'd stood there like a lamb.  Then she asked who our farrier is.  I thought she was going to insist that we use her farrier, but she couldn't because... her farrier is the young man who has been killed in the car crash.  Dear, oh dear.  I have spoken to my friend Julianne today, as we have been fence judgeing at a hunter trials at our old yard, and it turns out he was her farrier, too.  It's a small world.

Finally, some good news.  On Thursday a man rang with regard to our livery advert.  He just asked where we were and how much we charged, so he could tell his wife (who was at work).  Then he rang on Friday and said they'd like to come and have a look round.
So they came yesterday (Saturday) and had a look at the stables, grazing and manege.  There is a family of husband, wife and son, who have a 14.2hh mare and their friend who has a 16.2 gelding.  They seemed to like what they saw, and went away, saying they'd let us know.
They rang back yesterday at 6pm and said they'd like to come!  Woohoo!  They seemed really nice, just a normal family, so I am very pleased.  Their friend was worried her horse could jump out of the stables in the little barn (where we are now) so I've offered them the two big, stone built stables in the main barn. 
They want individual grazing, which I didn't really want to do, but they said the gelding was not very good in the field, and they only turn out for a few hours every day, so they are having a fenced off paddock.  This means we'll have to keep Simon for the time being then. 
So all in all it's been a strange week.  There are a few other things to tell you, so I'll try to come back tomorrow.
In the meantime, R.I.P. Tab, I will miss you.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

All The Latest

I know I haven't blogged for a week.  The thing is, I'm coming up against the same problem all the time.  Things are going on around here and in order for me to tell you exactly how it is, I could really drop myself in it, if Missis ever came across it and read it and it's not a totally accurate record for me if I leave out the gory details.  So I am probably going to finish this blog at the end of the year.  If only a few people read it anyway, I may as well keep a diary.  I will carry on with my card-making blog, though.
This is because we had a woman who came with her daughter last week, to have a look round with a view to bringing her horse here.  You need to know first of all, that I have totally blitzed the place, and it looks fantastic.  Basically the whole stable area has been cleared of Missis' junk.  The shared space outside of the stables, but within the barn, is completely clear.  The farrier is coming Thursday and I can't wait to see his face.  He'll actually be able to shoe a horse without wondering what he's going to trip over.
Anyway, this woman came, with daughter and boyfriend, and they seemed very impressed with what they saw, especially the manege.  
Just before they came, I asked Pongo if he could guarantee me a strong door on the stable that has been designated as a tack room, and he said no, that he'd put a door on the garage outside our kitchen.  Missis and I have been having lengthy discussions about how this would be a room for us, which I would immediately turn into a craft room.  But now Pongo has decided that would be the tack room.  Great. It's got our tumble dryer and freezer in there, so I'm not sure how that would work. But I do see where he's coming from, as, if we (ever) move into the other barn, the tack room in there would be needed as a stable, so it seems silly to buy a door for it, just for a few months.  But even so...
Don't forget, one minute we're told they've applied to have the roof rebuilt, and we'd have an extra room upstairs, but that didn't work, then we're told the garage will be an extra room for us, but now it's going to be a tack room.  Marvellous.  So I had to put a brave face on it when I showed these people round and say grandly, "And this will be the tack room!"
It drove me mad because Pongo walked round with us and wouldn't go away.  Even Missis had the sense to come out and introduce herself and go away again.  I didn't twig until much later why he wouldn't go.  We got down to discussing the cost of straw.  Missis and I had just talked about it before they turned up and she told me to charge £2/bale.  They asked me how much we would charge, so of course I said £2 when suddenly Pongo piped up, "How much do you pay now?" and it turns out that's what he'd been loitering for.  They said they paid £2.50/bale so he said, "Well that's how much we'd charge as at the moment we're not sure how much we'll be paying as the farmer we used to get it from has sold his farm, so we're sourcing it elsewhere."  Oh my flaming God!  When were they going to tell us this?  Bear in mind that it's been on the news that it could well snow in October.  We have about six bales of straw in the barn and might need to bed our horses down very soon indeed and they don't know where to get straw from.  Flippin 'eck. 
But I just stood there trying to stay calm but probably going redder and redder and still Pongo wouldn't go away.
The next day I confronted Missis and she said it was true that the guy we used to get our straw from has sold his farm (not just Pongo trying to make a quick buck, then) so she's trying to find it from somewhere else but doesn't want the huge round bales (we couldn't collect them). 
But the outcome is that it's been over a week now and this woman hasn't even phoned me to say she will or won't be coming.  I guess we assume she won't be coming, don't we?  I actually have her phone number in my call log on my phone so I'm tempted to ring her and ask what she's decided.  Or do I just assume it's obvious.  A tad frustrating.
So I'm just going along as normal with our three horses until the next person rings.
I'll leave it there for now and try to write again soon.