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.
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.