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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

So, what have I been doing?

Felt like have had a summer, been to many local shows, showjumping - won about three times, very small comps, but it is progress.
Had our pic in the local paper. Opened it up one day, straight to the equestrian section and there were were, taken on a hideous angle. I was mortified. And the amount of people who've seen it...
Local shows - thoroughly enjoyed them, something very reassuringly English about them - the locals, the green fields, commentators and competitors, ice cream licking crowds, dogs on leads, sunshine.
Been out on hound exercise - again it's like clinging on to an England that's in danger of getting swallowed up, I hope not, but there's something timeless about being out with hounds and horses in the post harvest golden Yorkshire countryside, early in the morning. The smell, feel and look of freshly saddle soaped leather, sweat rising off horses in the mist, the sun getting hotter and higher in the sky, as the morning goes on. Old familiar faces, new ones. It could be 1985, nothing looks any different, although of course, it is!
Work is going well, best of all are the hours, as e.g. today, I finished at 9am and have the rest of the day free.
Have not been riding, as he's just been shod. I fell off showjumping on Sunday, I am recovering from a cold. He can have the week off.
So, have been cleaning, doing laundry, making spicy potatoes and stirfried kale with ginger and soy sauce for lunch. I bought the cauliflour cheese bakes to go with it. Mucked out. Sewing up my hacking jacket, funnily enough, every time I wear it, I need to repair some new rent.
Read some good books. One was about the Curzon sisters, fascinating lives, much detail, hunting in Melton Mowbray, scandal, politics, dresses, the Windsors, cruises by Anne de Courcy. Also read 'The Fishing Fleet' by her, about women going out to India to husband hunt -great stories, including one about a couple in the days of the Raj on the Pakistan border who, although it was just them, they dressed for dinner each evening.
Also, read 'The Dish' by Stella Newman, her books are really fresh. I am over 'chick lit', but hers isn't like that. It's more real.
Seen some funny films - Man Up and Trainwreck. Also quite enjoyed San Andreas.
Went to Amsterdam to visit my old London flatmates and their two children! For her surprise 40th birthday party at a restaurant in the suburbs of Amsterdam. Before the party, arrived on the Friday, visited the Rijksmuseum, took a boat ride around the canals, went to a Dutch restaurant, drank a cup of tea on a rainy night in The American bar and visited this amazing cookie shop where they only make one kind of very decadent rich chocolate cookie with a massive wodge of white choc inside. And they have wooden counters where they're all making them. Fresh.
Love the Dutch little fritters - like shrimp croquettes, yummy.
Had a London friend visit over Bank Hol. Was great hanging out with her, she was an easy guest not in anyway annoying, like I find most guests are! Went to Castle Howard, Robin Hood's Bay, Whitby - walked up to the Abbey, quick walk along the beach at Scarborough, went up to the other farm to see harvest in full swing, she sat on the combine, rode my horse. Had a jolly Sat night meal, with fresh crab pasta, green salad and then rum and raisin home made ice cream and far too much wine, joined by my old friend L, who talked about the end of her marriage. She's getting divorced, went to their wedding in Summer 2006.
On that note - I have been dating, since the first day of August. I am actually still enjoying it. The test is the winter months, because I am really quite up for meeting new people, getting out and about during summer - when the evenings can be lush and golden & I like getting dressed up, driving somewhere new, over the lush landscape of the Yorkshire Wolds (this time) having a gin and tonic and chatting, as the air cools and sun sets.
We'll have to see, whether I'm still motivated when it's dark, grim and wet out and the fire is blazing and the cat's curled up on the sofa.
He's blond with glasses, the right amount taller than me, slim, works in IT, so far has been very nice, interesting. Best of all, dates with him, from the start have always involved food. (Last year, spent one date traipsing round a bloody wood, that this guy owned, having to look at ways branches were arranged and wild garlic...and NO food!) There have been Saturday night cocktails, me getting flirtier and drunker, then a late dinner at a Japanese restaurant. Cosy pub meals. The other week it was crab and ricotta ravioli on a terrace, outside, overlooking the river in York, then drinks in an old pub in Micklegate, before he walked me back to my car, parked by the Minster.
He's in Abu Dhabi for work for a couple of weeks. He's emailing me, which is nice. I also like the distance and the space.
Have stayed over at his place. There are some aspects that I'm not sure about yet, we will just have to see, there is promise though and I did like sleeping, curling up with him, but it wasn't all it should be & that is important for me.
Planning a trip to London mid Oct, to visit friends before they all leave London and want to do a one day barista boot camp course, want to learn more about coffee

Autumn again!

About a year since I last wrote, just seems too self absorbed to write about my life. Who cares anyway?
And that's not a poor me wanting a certain response back.
Although I do enjoy reading what I was doing a year ago and beyond. I probably should just take it offline, but then I am sure it will be better edited if I think anyone's reading.

Life seems speeded up. I should be enjoying Autumn and September, my favourite month, but I'm thinking about Christmas! Need to STOP! And concentrate on Autumn things such as:

the colours of the leaves on the ground and trees, quite a show this year, burnt orange, russet, Virginia creepers turning red, leather brown leaves
these incredible days - mornings, with the thick, damp fog, turning into glorious sunshine, chilling and darkening off in the afternoon.
Maybe trying one of those pumpkin spice lattes? Something I need like a hole in the head, but still.
Converting apples and pears from the orchard into strudels, cakes, bars...or maybe just the odd thing.
Pasta & gnocchi...well now & again!
Downton Abbey started again on Sunday night...red wine by the fire, curtains closed
Big, thick cardigans and wearing socks again, boots instead of sandals, leggings and a jumper instead of a dress and cardigan or cotton top
Hot chocolate
Nights drawing in, rain lashing against the windows, something good from Lovefilm - started watching Game of Thrones & am very much entertained
Books...ordered the new Jackie Collins; The Santangelos and the new Wilbur Smith; Golden Lion from the library. Long nights, when I'm not at work, spent reading
Lying in bed, listening to the rain on dark nights
Lying in bed, in the morning, when I don't have to get up, listening to the rain
The air of change that Autumn brings
Going round to a friend's bolt hole to watch Rome, curling up on the sofa in front of his fire

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Lovely time of the year now.
The ground is thick with fallen leaves, there's mist on the fields in the morning and we've started to light the fire on a night.
Clocks have gone back. Long winter evenings. Glad I've signed up to LoveFilm, great having two new films arrive in the post.
Watching 'Any Human Heart' again. Last night it was 'Safe Haven'.
Back into watching Downton Abbey on a Sunday night with a glass of red wine.
Some things that have happened this year have quite astounded me really. You think you know how things are, then it's shot to pieces, not necessarily in a bad way though.

As much as the rest of the world seems like it's going to hell in a handcart, I kind of think it's stable here, but that's not always the case. Things that you take as true get turned on their head.
Marriages that seem content, are anything but.
I got 100% in a maths test. I had to do it as part of my health and social diploma. It blew me away, getting that result, particularly as I spent most of the test sighing and staring at the wall.
My pony and I have been placed second, twice, in (very small, low key) show jumping competitions in the last few weeks. I never got to show jump in the past, it's all new to me really, so that's been wonderful having him progress from the type who looks at anything new to one who's turning into a just point and steer kind of mount. He's jumping his socks off.
All I have to do is manage to stay on during the warming up process, because he bucks and bronchs like a whirling dervish.
Our horse won the member's race in our local point to point, just a few days after my last post, in March.
That was an amazing moment for our family; tears, silver cups, photos in two local paper and numerous congratulations.
This is a horse that's trained by my mother, she rides him out and gets him fit. Other horses in the race were trained by local trainers with serious set ups.
That was all very inspiring for us all.
There's been deaths - an old family friends. A family friend so old, that when he came to see my mother in hospital after she'd just had me, the nurse congratulated him on his 'beautiful baby'! He was part of the scenery, took him for granted, always came to talk about very boring things, crops and such like. He was a nice man, didn't appreciate him enough when he was alive.

Someone said they'd loved me for years, when they really shouldn't. I have had to gloss over that one and pretend I didn't hear it.
Dated for a few months over the summer. Was nice to be out and about and he cooked for me. Enjoyed his company, very entertaining. Ultimately I started to feel trapped and ended it.
I think I like being on my own too much!!

Been to Center Parcs, with work, which was actually fun. With my colleague James, on our afternoon off, went on the rapids in a dinghy about 20 times, round and round like kids!
Scotland, with my Aussie friend. Drove from Yorkshire to the Isle of Skye. Had the most wonderful time swimming in the fairy pools at the foot of the Black Cuillin mountains, near Carbost. Silky, green, pure water, straight from the hills, so refreshing, after a 40 minute hike in September. I could do with a start like that every single day of my life, followed by a Monmouth coffee flat white.
It was heaven, got rid of all the cobwebs, so exhilirating. Made me realise how much I love swimming outdoors.
Drove over 1000 miles. Saw Alex Salmond campaigning for Scottish independence on the way, in Perth. There were castles, hikes, Glencoe, stops in Peebles, Stirling, Fort William, Alnwick.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Babysitting the two little sproglets, who thankfully are in bed.

Life is good....not much to report. Work is absorbing, my colleagues are great value.

My Australian friend is dating, found someone online. She always seemed so cynical about men, exactly like SATC's Miranda, so seeing her (on Facebook!) loved up is really quite inspiring.

Went to Amsterdam in January to see my old London flatmates, now married, to each other, and with two children.

Amsterdam was cold, wet and grey, but had a lovely time walking in the Vondel Park and all over, seeing sunken houses, the English Reformed church, all the while chatting and catching up. Stopping off for coffee, a cookie - in a tiny shop, all decked out in wood, that only sold one type of cookie - dark chocolate with white chocolate chips. Or a cone of frites. Or in a chocolate shop - for chocolate mousse and espresso. Went to the Baakerswinkel for afternoon tea. Loved being somewhere so close in miles, yet so different - it's such a tonic, noticing all the quirks of Dutch people: crates for bike baskets, weak black tea, dark, sober clothes.

Had a spa day in January to counteract all the dreariness of the months and to feel refreshed.

Riding and having lessons all the time. Going hunting on Saturday. My mother's horse, her point to pointer did very well the other week, came 3rd, so we have high hopes for his race, at our local hunt's point to point on Sunday.

Reading loads, love the winter nights. Just finished Anne Sebba's 'That Woman' about Wallis Simpson.

Going away to a cottage in Scotland in a month's time with family.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

House sitting again

Seems to give me opportunity for reflection, a spot of house sitting. Nice to have space to myself to think.
Feel so busy. Work is a whirlwind, home on the farm is always phones ringing, people in and out and then there's all the work with the horses.

Speaking of which, my little pony - he's not big, but he manages to act like a big, bolshy stallion. I was lunging him this afternoon, had to do it for almost an hour, as he was full of it. We finally finished, I was struggling with the gate, as my wellies had got stuck in the mood and he sank his teeth into the top of my riding hat and yanked it backwards and forwards very roughly. It really hurt, as I had my chin strap done up tight.

Went hunting for the first time in 12 years the other work. Survived. Just don't feel that fit or that capable but surprised myself. My pony jumped a horrible jump that I wouldn't have expected him to. It was one of those situations where you're stuck in a line and it's easier to jump than extract yourself and back track.

In other news: enjoying eating shite and watching 'Barefoot Contessa' and looking forward to a spot of 'Keeping up with the Kardashians'.
It's getting icy cold. Just took the dog for a walk down the field, as the sun was setting, casting such a golden glow over the village. Soon be winter and Christmas.

Work is good. Find it fascinating, work with people with learning disabilities and an ongoing question is what is best for them? They all have a busy timetable during the week and the opportunity to be in a craft workshop, the weavery, garden or cafe. Some people think they need to be productive, others see it as therapy. I'm torn, being a Yorkshire gal, I'm all for productivity, but you can't make people work and much of the time, community members either don't want to, can't be bothered, or are distracted.

My colleagues are great, so good to enjoy going to work, to like having a natter and a catch up and to feel like an equal instead of a subordinate, as I did to my previous Marylebone boss. Doing an NVQ in social care soon.

Dating: Put myself on Guardian soulmates as well as match. Live in hope.

Had a few glorious days in Bologna in September. Loved wandering around the streets, exploring, getting lost, finding the best gelatateria - La Torinese, going to art galleries, sipping gin and tonics in Piazza Maggiore, in the afternoon sun, reading book after book. Espresso and nutella croissant for breakfast. Love their little thing of if you order a glass of red wine in a bar, they bring out all these little snacks; crisps, tortilla, olives, even a small dish of delicious fusilli one time. So refreshing just to get away like that.

Had a Saturday in London, catching up with my Australian friend, lunch in Hampstead, walks, a pub, dinner, then the cinema, an Italian film, The Grand Beauty, I think it was called.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday at home

A rare Sunday off, although I left work at nine this morning.

Didn't get much sleep last night, so today I'm staying close to the sofa, reading and watching dvds.
Haven't got much chance to do that recently, have been taking advantage of these lighter nights, running, riding my bike or my horse.

It's a cool, grey, wet windy day, so I don't have to feel guilty and it's nice to have chance to catch up.

Great to have a horse again.
Have got a five year old skewbald gelding. He's only 14hh, which actually is an ideal height for me, as I don't really even reach the 5 foot mark, if I'm totally honest!
We got him as a yearling, from the horse sales to be a companion to one of the thoroughbreds.
Tried to sell him, when the thoroughbred no longer required him as a friend, but the market's not good, apparently.
Thought he was too small for me, wanted something around 15hh.
Started riding him and really like him, he feels exactly right.
Love his enthusiasm, every time we go out on a hack, he really steps out, ears pricked, forward going, whereas some horses are reluctant to leave the yard.
Good to have a project, to get him going, jumping, ready for the upcoming hunting season.
All very absorbing and time consuming.

Had a London friend up to stay the other week. Perfect sunshine.
Every day was packing a picnic, the map and getting in the car to drive to some local place of interest, a historic house or the seaside.
Interesting company, gins and tonics outside, took him round the farms, he had a go on my horse and went on a plane ride with bro in law.
He was a good guest and seemed to appreciate all the running around.

'Met' someone on Match.com, who I'm in the process of arranging to meet for a first date in York.
He does seem really nice, although of course, you should just really suspend judgement until you actually meet them.
I have gotten terribly slow at returning his emails and texts.
Life is kind of nice how it is and I suppose I am reluctant to allow a man to mess it up, although it could be fun to meet someone. In theory!

My main fear is that in spite of boot camp, riding, even started running, I am no thinner.
Weight just does not come off.
Did one day of the 5:2 diet last week and that gives me hope, if I do that, because I actually managed to be a stone lighter at one point in 2012 doing that.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Thoughts on London

Spent the last weekend of January in London, catching up with my old flatmate, who now lives in Amsterdam with her husband and baby.

Was amazing to spend a couple of days, just like we used to, staying in Bayswater, talking. Catching up.

Afternoon tea at the Chelsea Teapot. Vanilla tea, for the first time.

Drinks and dinner at a gastro pub in Notting Hill. Very late night - after 12!

Brunch the next morning at 202, on Westbourne Grove. It was like 2006 to 2007 again. I realised that if I still lived in London everything would probably be the same, and not necessarily in a good way.
Funny though, how that moment in time, those few years of being in London has gone. Would be so hard to return to it.

Told A I was coming down. Thought he was going to arrange drinks and to meet up on Friday, but nada. He made all the right noises, then did nothing.
I went to the cinema, Whiteleys Odeon to see The Impossible. I got a stupid,half hearted, no effort email from him on Sunday evening. I didn't bother to reply. Then the next day, more emails, where he tried to say it was my fault that we didn't meet up.

Felt sad and drained and angry. Fed up yet again.

Have been ill with a cold since. I hate it when you get all excited about something that's going to happen, you get your hopes up, then nothing. Again. Makes me laugh now. I have so many disasters, that I'm detached. It's so nice when there are no men messing things up, making you unhappy. I really quite like it when it's just me, doing what I want, without distractions. I'd be happily single for ever, I think. I worry though, about what other people expect of you, that's the worst.

Anyway. As ever, onwards and upwards. For the first time ever I was truly pleased that I've made the move back up North. I had fun in London, but the dirty air, amount of people and the way money just goes, got to me. I loved coming back to the peaceful quiet of rural North Yorkshire, the sweet clean air.
Being able to sleep soundly and having less stress in general.

So that's progress.

2013. Got a few days annual leave. Hibernating. Roaring fires. Sleet and rain against the windows. Heavy grey skies. Fill dyke February. Not planning on doing a great deal, getting over my cold. Bought a SATC boxset, wanted it for years. Reading. Joined a boot camp. On the beach at Scarborough. Got to get fit. Have very little enthusiasm and am pretty sceptical about whether or not it will work. Did go on the treadmill today though for half an hour. My sister kind of made me join it, so I did to stop her nagging.