Day Five – The fall and fall of ‘Cave horse’

I have to be tucked up nice and early tonight as I have a half term date with destiny at the riding school in the morning. Early in the morning. Given how long it took to get my sea legs this morning I am going to need to wake early to take medication! Apart from, like yesterday, the getting out of bed issue today was pretty good, took kids (and Chicken the cat) to the park and then did a last moment light work job. I really can’t ask for this to be going any better so far, to the point that I am considering taking the next reduction step early (a flexibility that is built into the programme as you can’t know how it is going to go until you do it) to get the worst of the step down done before I have a longer job starting at the end of the month. Still in consideration stage on that but the fact it is a consideration at all is a little bit mind blowing really!

Given the time I have to write tonight you are spared a Chronic Pain lesson but instead get a dose of half term with the kids… and cat.

I will just let the picture do the talking when it comes to Chicken the cat, the kids and our trip to the park.


Pictured: What has my life come to?

One our walk was done we settled in at home for the children to expand their minds… on Minecraft. I can’t even make it past part one of the beginers tutorial with this game before I am lost and at a point that I just can’t fathom. The kids, Boy in particular seems to have at least found a way to fake it in a convincing enough way so he has some fun. The Boy when he is Man wants to be a farmer, the most famous farmer in the land. He also is pony mad. He found a minecraft horse and after riding it around a bit it fell down a hole. The boy then spent the rest of his computer time trying to save what became christened as ‘Cave horse’ but Cave horse wasn’t having any of the rescue attempts and refused to climb out of the hole so Boy planted some grass and moved in a couple of sheep to expand his cave farm. The sheep got out and then, before our eyes Cave horse died. There was much upset yet the true horseman that is the Boy never blamed his stupid can’t even climb out of a hole by the steps made for it lovingly horse. Meanwhile the Girl, using mobile Minecraft (on my phone, why am I holding out on her getting her own until the summer again?) had been attempting her own, above ground farm but she refused to kill any of the animals, except when they went in her house, then they had to die and die good.

The whole set of conversations that happened around Cave horse, the boys attempts at cave farming, and the Girls picky bloodlust made me both question my life choices and if in fact, rather than lowering my opioid dose, it had been going steadily up and I am now just living in one long Oxycontin fog.

Not Dead

Hey, look, I’m not dead!

I just felt like I was dead for the best part of a month. It is my own fault for teaching the children to share.

I got the bug, I got all the different symptoms and I got it hard. Combine that with what I lovingly refer to as ‘all my pre-existing shite’ and I haven’t really been sharing the same planet as everybody else and even something as simple as throwing some words together and hitting ‘publish’ has been too much to contemplate at the end of the day.

Good news is that I am over most of the bug now and while the ‘pre-existing shite’ is having a bit of a party having gained my hard defended higher ground I shall be seeing the aptly named ‘pain team’ just as soon as I get to the head of the lovely waiting list and we can then hopefully tweak some of my medication, maybe throw in some more physio therapy and regain the upper hand. Until then I am just a bit slower, more tired, dealing with more pain and just ever so slightly off the ball. Try and stick with me as I build myself back up again terminator style.


Pictured: Mad Cat playing Rambo up a tree because… cat

So what else has been going on, well lets see, my laptop hard drive felt a bit like I did and gave up so the laptop went for a holiday to the sick Mac hospital but has come back strong post transplant. The children have kept me ever amused with gems like when the girl exclaimed while playing a game ‘Oh, maybe I am not as good as I thought I was!’ and when the boy pitched a 10 minute fit about the location of his other shoe only to find it on his foot. The banned topic has also kept me busy banging my head against brick walls so thats been fun.

Time now to move onward and upward. We find ourselves just a week away from yet another school holiday and another daily holiday diary. I am throwing a curveball on this one by actually taking the children on holiday! We have to be out of the home while we have a new bathroom fitted to replace the one that was badly installed when the house was built in the early 80’s. For a moment I will put aside the terrible drainage, poor workmanship and lack of shower to say the most offensive thing that I will be glad to see the back of it the fact the sorry mess of a bathroom is peach in colour and more 80’s than shoulder pads.

So on the 16th The girl, The boy and myself shall take Bob on his first trip north as we head off first to Liverpool and then the following weekend Greater Manchester. For our time in Liverpool we are booked in for some solid Grandma time but if anybody in the geographical area wants to get together and be bored senseless by me and or the boy and girl please, let me know, I am needy and would love to see anyone who is willing to put up with me. If anybody is up for a grown up evening for one week only I could even get a babysitter or you could join Grandma and me for a night in. I’m deprived (also depraved) needy and willing!

On that sad, sad note I will sign off with the hope I will write again before the holiday diary starts because so far my blog plans for the year haven’t got off to the best of starts!

School night

Day 17

Sorry. skipped a day. I did it just to keep you on your toes or because I took a last moment holiday, got bored of relaxing in the warm winter sun and came back after only 24 hours or because I had spent the day mainly in mud and was tired. You choose.

Back to school tomorrow. Am I ready? Well, I may just flee the country abandoning the children to the care of the first pack of wolves I can find (a slightly grumpy dog would do) just to get a moment of peace if they didn’t go back to school tomorrow so in that sense, yes, so ready for them to go back but am I ready as in school bags located and packed, everything labeled and P.E kits replenished then no, don’t be silly, of cause I am not.

The children seem in a similar state of high excitement about returning to school. It seems they share my feelings about enforced long periods of ‘togetherness’. The girl was jumping around the place in glee about the promise of school and the boy was just as joyful about giving his new pencil case it’s first run. He was a little more reserved about leaving his baby though. The much anticipated Furby that landed on Christmas day has had the boy fretful each time he leaves it in my ‘care’. He checks I know all the details of the care it required before he goes anywhere, the last thing he is thinking of as we say our goodbyes is that I know how to get it off to sleep and will feed it. He even refers to me as its Grandma. As a result I spent well over an hour last night tending to every whim it had as well as keeping it fed and bathed. Not quite sure how this gels with my New Years promise to be more social in my childless time.


Pictured: Uncanny family resemblance

I am going to have to hit the Doctor up for a loan of the Tardis if I am to have a hope to do all the things I have in mind to get done tomorrow. My list just keeps getting longer every time I think of a task that has either been halted or put off due to the children being off school and the new beds, lord, don’t want to think of the beds.


Pictured: Not thinking about beds.

Death of a dream

Day 15

So here it is, the final weekday of the Christmas holidays. This is the only school holiday of the year that I get to this point and I am not ready to show up at the school gates at 6am on Monday morning. It is the one holiday when I find myself thinking that maybe another week would be nice. It is the fact that there is never a clear week of the holiday when there isn’t an ‘event’ and associated public holiday. This wistfulness only lasts as long as the break between sibling arguments mind so never gets enough time to form into anything like yearning or a resolve for change, I see this as natures inbuilt self protection and I am grateful for it.

Once the children got home from their Fathers in the middle of the day we set out to first get the boy the haircut and then with plans to go into Oxford to find the 1 billion pound shop.

Clearly enough time for thought had passed to build a deep yearning for that 1 billion pound shop the boy had assured me lay waiting in Oxford because not once, but twice I completely ignored the fact our first stop was the local town for hair cutting and bill paying. After the first time I merrily ignored the turning for town and had then navigated myself back onto the correct route I suddenly realised why the boy had been repeating again and again that ‘This is the way to my doctors!’ from the back of the car. That was because I had yet again strayed from my path to the town and was heading off towards Oxford again.

I finally managed to block to lure to Oxford long enough to get us into town and after a spot of the boring task of paying bills we found ourselves waiting our turn at the hairdresser and I found myself yet again having to bargain with the boy that while Bieber hair may look cool to him he did need to be able to see past his fringe. We finally hit a compromise in which there where to be no clippers, the hair at the top could stay reasonably long but I would be able to see both eyes and ears at all times. The boy is happy with the results but has insisted gel shall be needed for the next school disco so he can perfect the ‘bed head’ style. Thankfully we have a whole term until that point and as he has a memory to rival my own I am hoping that if nobody says the words ‘Justin Bieber’ between now and that point I might just get away with it.

Next stop was to give in to the force dragging me into Oxford. Hitting traffic seduced us into giving the park and ride a try. It was a cruel lie. As soon as we where committed to the park and ride I could see that the traffic jam had completely vanished. The children at that point where full of the kind of enthusiasm for public transport only the under 10’s can have so there was no easy way out. I have become convinced that the traffic lights on that junction are set up as to make you think it is bumper to bumper traffic all the way into the city what ever the real situation may be just to trick you into using the park and ride.

On the bus ride the boy was as normal questioning me intensely on the lives and loves of every animal, mineral, vegetable that his eyes fell upon. He is of the unshakable opinion that I should know all and every detail about anything or anyone that his eyes fall upon and is only just starting to accept that outside the village I don’t always have all the answers. This resulted in my strangest moment of the day. The boy was questioning me about some people he could see from the bus window, when I was not able to satisfactorily answer the questions the boy pondered, ‘Maybe they are in mourning’. Oh. okay. Where did that come from? The boy has an expressive language disorder but he does love to throw some stuff out there just to keep everybody involved with him on the ball.

We couldn’t find the 1 billion pound shop. The girl found plenty of shops with pretty dresses and jackets. The boy found shops with superman braces and ties. I had to settle for a new bath mat and some towels. I’m very disappointed and in mourning for the loss of my happy hour browsing the shelves of the 1 billion pound shop.

Place holder

Day 12

Short and sweet today, I am against the clock!

I will spill all the details tomorrow (I hope) but today both my charger for laptop died so I am on the very, very, very limited borrowed time of the charge remaining until the new charger I have had to fork out for arrives tomorrow sometime and then after that I managed to loose my car keys at the cinema so our outing came to a stressful end that has left Bob marooned in a car park rather too many miles away to walk to. Thankfully my misery at taking the kids to see Annie had company and with some impressive Tetris skills we did manage to get home. Still have to figure out the getting the car back and thankfully the keys have now been located at the cinema.

Tomorrow (tomorrow, there’s always tomorrow… sorry, couldn’t resist) will be a double posting day so I can tell the sorry tale in proper form as well as what ever day 12 may bring.

Now on the red, so no more from me until Amazon Prime does it’s thing!

Hair today

Day 10

After 2 days of not having to set an alarm or get up early I was savagely betrayed by my body this morning. I have no memory of my alarm going off at 7am this morning but I know it must have, I checked it before going to bed last night so my vindictive subconscious must have done away with it with malicious intent as it was the ringing phone that woke me. The phone that was ringing due to the fact I was to be in work at the community shop at 9am. It was 9.05am. Crap.

An impressive but not record beating 7 minutes later I opened my front door, thankful to the heavens for Bob and promptly switched from thanking to cursing. For the second year on the trot it has been the poorest effort of a winter but this morning Mother Nature had decided to pull a hard frost out the bag and every one of poor Bob’s windows was solid with frost.

Two more precious minutes and a lukewarm kettle later and I was finally off. I still had to wake up but that task had been deferred until further notice.

After a mornings work and a trip to Tesco to stock up for the return of the children later on in the afternoon what passes for my brain was just starting to come to and wonder what the rush was all about. Possibly due to this I returned from the shops with not only a weeks worth of food but also a box of hair dye and a terrible idea.

After deciding that dying the cat probably wouldn’t be as easy as I first thought I shifted my attention to my own neglected birds nest of a head. Nothing but brush and wash had been done to my hair since October 2011. The long gap between bouts of attention are not unusual for my neglected head, this is how I can remember when the last time it had been cut and coloured was but this interval had been unusually long even for me and had resulted in my hair becoming, well, unusually long.

I decided that if I was going to stick some colour on my hair there needed to be considerably less of it. I remembered back a day to a conversation along the lines of home hair cuts I had with the Bitch on boxing day so before I could gain any sense or perspective on the matter I contacted her and got her to guide my scissor hand via text message. It turns out that cutting my own hair is not all that dissimilar to cutting a horses hair and I do that allot. I wouldn’t like to try pulling my mane though so tried hard not to confuse myself.

With around 40cm of length removed from my hair I set about the job of dying it. The children arrived home to what looked like their Mother finishing the job of clearing up the murder she had committed while they where with their Father.

‘It looks like you killed someone Mummy!’ Were the boys first words to me as he arrived in the bathroom and peered into the bath. My concern is with just how exited he was at this prospect.

The biggest problem I have with my new hair is that due to plagiarising the home cutting technique from the Bitch I now have the same hair style as her. I can’t quite get used to that. Every time I pass a mirror I think the Bitch is stalking me.


Pictured: Different

I have told the boy he can put the playstation on right after breakfast tomorrow since he hasn’t be able to play on his new games yet, this has nothing to do with me trying to make my morning getting used to having small people about again easier at all, non at all I tell you. The rest of the day shall either be spent playing games (computer and traditional), getting crafty with the crochet set the boy gave me and finding homes for all the lovely new things they have managed to gain over Christmas. We may break the day up with a trip to the cinema but that may be saved for Tuesday as I have found another adult to come with and share my pain but we have yet to pin down exactly when we will martyr ourselves for our children.

The road to B.O.B

Day 9

It has been brought to my attention that not only have I failed to introduce the new member of our little clan I have also failed to note the significance of this addition.

I am naturally talking about the little car. A name for this hunk of metal has not yet been chosen as it is not yet been formally adopted and is just now in a fostering situation until final decisions have been made so for now we shall refer to it Bob (More accurately B.O.B – Borrow Or Buy).


Pictured: Bob in his best light

I little background to start us off. I have been the holder of a driving licence for almost 20 years however for a medley of boring reasons I found myself around 6 years ago in a situation where I didn’t have easy access to a car and my need to drive was low. This ended up with me forgetting to renew my driving licence when the photo expired.

It continued to be forgotten about and then the cumulative side effects of one of my medications combined with the temporary increases of said medication when I so carelessly dismounted a moving horse via the emergency exit came together to cause my corneas to resemble an LP owned by an over enthusiastic yet amateur DJ in the early 80’s. My doctors over at what we call up in Liverpool the ‘Gozzy Hozzie’ where somewhat relieved to find I wasn’t currently driving, they recommended that I keep it that way.

Now, we are a couple of years on from that. I have a strict and continued regime of all the eye drops ever made applied every hour or so of the day combined with having had my lower tear ducts cauterised, one eye was done by my consultant and the other by a student who had never done it before. New pants where required after I had the experience of a young man leaning over me with what amounts to a soldering iron asking his boss which bit of my eye he needed to stick it in while his hand shook with nerves. Thankfully about a year after my brush with the soldering iron I was passed fit to drive (as long as several gallons of goo a day kept my eyes artificially lubricated) and it was just case of sorting out my licence.

Due however to the very long time since I had needed it I had to change what felt like every little detail, my address, my name, my picture and naturally I had no clue where the paper counterpart of expired photo card where located so I was going to have to do the job lot with the DVLA.

We now enter into the long and boring bureaucratic process of banging ones head against a brick wall but suffice to say that in early December I was finally in possession of an up to date photo card driving licence with all the correct details. All I needed was some wheels to go with it. (Minor side note, I completely failed to think though my wardrobe choice for the picture, the orange jumper means it could be mistaken for a prison I.D. I was sad enough as it was at losing the old picture, the still teenaged me looked good in that picture, I have now lost all possible means of pretence.)

Getting mobile again had become a massive, massive deal once I had become a single parent, I live in the village that public transport forgot. My organisation levels did become unheard of for me and the ease of online shopping and supermarket delivery made life at least liveable however for things like doctors, dentists, hospitals and just all those general bits and bobs you take for granted when you have means of transport I was more than a bit stuck. Yes I have lovely friends who will always help out but it is simply not practical or reasonable to ask for help with some things and I really hate to put people out. However generous people are it just isn’t cricket to, for example, ask somebody to drive me to the hospital for an appointment and then either wait around with me for hours or be on call to come back and get me at some unspecified time. The biggest thing though is work. Having transport means being able to get more work in. I shall be talking more about the work thing in a post planned for later in the week but the bottom line is, driving is essential for me to earn my living.

So, we get to Bob, eventually. I have had use of Bob for almost 3 weeks now and apart from all the little runs to shops and things so far Bob has allowed me to take the children on a couple of outings and we have more planned for next week, Bob enabled me to make the most of a difficult Christmas afternoon by allowing me to go and be with horses and help out a friend in the process, there are also things Bob has helped me with that are on the banned topics list so we will skip to the fact that Bob has also just taken me between Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire and back again so I could go and see the biggest bitch in the known galaxy and call her a bitch and a few other names to boot. Bob even got me through Milton Keynes, twice, it is hard to ask more of Bob than that.

Hopefully Bob will become a permanent member of our little madcap family, and if it is not this Bob, it will be another because I am officially mobile again and I fully intend to make the very most of it.

Pony day

Day 5

Oh boy. It has been a long day.

The bulk of work I do for the riding school is just nice simple muck moving, feeding and general care of the horses when the school is not open to clients. That suits me.

I am also there on Saturday mornings as that is when the girl and boy have their lessons. I am mainly there as simply a parent and while I do work with clients on lesson change overs, take details and fill forms with new clients and occasionally lead a hack I confine myself on the whole to supporting the boy in his lesson given he requires a little more support due to his needs (he is doing amazingly well, better than we had ever dare hope and I am being kicked out of the lesson more and more!) and working with a youngster (of the pony variety). So, to cut that long story short, I am not accustomed to dealing with small child clients over a sustained period.

Today I had the pleasure of a group of 5 children aged from 5 to 10 years old. Worse yet, two of them where mine. My dear friend who is, in reality, the head instructor and manager (although she would swear at you and say ‘am not! NOOOO!!!’ if you said so in her hearing) had organised the Christmas pony day and party with a lovely range of activities both on and off horseback. The only problem was that the timings where tighter than your trousers on boxing day and we where dealing with animals and children. We where behind before we started largely caused by the paradox of many of the children being dropped off early. Still, I tried to get into the spirit of the thing.


Pictured: Festive.

I and the other poor souls designated group leaders managed to get our charges through to the picnic party lunch with only minor mishaps and nobody under 18 was crying so we have to call that a win. The boy was over the moon with his first ever rosette awarded for coming 3rd in musical ponies and the girl was happy she had placed higher than her brother. It was soon time to swing back into the fray for the fancy dress competition, something I just hadn’t been able to face thinking about so the boy wasn’t entering (thankfully his panic at ‘being’ anybody but himself was helpful on this occasion) and the girl was entering as a very last moment ‘fairy on the top of the tree’ costume consisting on a neon pink tutu over her jodhpurs, some tinsel round her hat and a scrap of tinsel on her whip as a ‘wand’. The teenagers on the yard really go all out for this annual tradition and this year it was won by the pony who’s Father Christmas get up even included real flashing lights on his rug. I would love to bring you pictures of the wonderful sight of all this but you will have to cope with the tree fairy that was the girl as I didn’t manage to snap any other pictures because I am a bit rubbish when it comes to remembering I have a camera and then there was the fact every time I turned my back my group of kids all went in different directions. I think they planned it.


Pictured: Massive effort.

I was taken off guard at the end of the day when my ‘so not the manager or head instructor honest’ friend managed to bar my escape route and then talk about all I do for the school to all pupils and parents. She said some very nice things that a wholly undeserved and made me go very pink. While it is nice to have hard work recognised and it was lovely to hear a friendship you value is reciprocated I really hate being the centre of attention. Still, I am extremely touched my the thought even though much of what I do at the school is for purely selfish reasons!

I am now going to go and sleep. I should be finishing wrapping gifts, tidying my home and the plethora of other jobs that still need doing but in time honoured tradition, I am just too wiped. It wouldn’t be Christmas Eve is Mum wasn’t running around loosing her mind all day and was then up until the small hours wrapping gifts that will be unwrapped in seconds mere hours (if you are lucky) later. It is all part of the magic that is Christmas.

Ho Bloomin’ Ho.

A day off…

Day 4

The children have completely failed me today in their one task to be interesting so I can write about them. Typical. We have to be fair had a day off having to be someplace else and it was bliss.

We would have stayed in our pyjamas all day had it not got to lunch time when I discovered we had no bread in, well thats not quite true, I had a total of 4 slices of bread and two of them where crusts. Getting everyone washed, dressed and out to the shop was preferable to brokering a deal on that one, my part time role as hostage negotiator and US (United Sibling) peace keeper has gone way over hours and getting overtime paid is impossible in the current climate.

Our next job of the day was to try and tidy up the house ready to try and cut down the risk of Father Christmas filing another claim for workers compensation. I sent the children up to tidy their rooms while I dove into the mountain range of dirty laundry but they hadn’t been gone more than a few minutes before the girl was calling down with pleas for rescue from all the clothes that had fallen on her when she opened her wardrobe and the boy was howling on the stairs about the girl doing something or other to him, it wasn’t clear, it is hard enough to understand him through his speech disorder at the best of times but when the emotional dam has been breached a lexicon of linguists couldn’t draw head nor tale from him. In cases such as this I can’t really do anything as the girls only crime may have been existing while in his line of sight so I was left with the distraction method of ‘Look boy! Clean clothes for you to sort!’ always a winner.

Once I had rescued the girl from her avalanche I changed all the sheets, always an interesting task with the boy, he keeps everything he finds and considers precious in his bed with him so sheet changes can bring fascinating archaeological finds from rocks and twigs to collectors edition book collections to large wooden cat statues. This time was slightly disappointing and only yielded two Minecraft books, a small collection of lego bricks and one slipper that belonged to the girl three years ago that hasn’t been seen since… until today anyway.

With the bedrooms as good as they where going to get we headed down to do something about the living room while I brooded on the fact that the new beds will be here in a matter of weeks and there is a huge amount of work to be done to prepare and old furniture to somehow get rid of. I have pushed that problem into ‘Lala I’m not listening’ land for just now because the whole thing is getting a little too close for comfort now but there is nothing much I can do for the next week or so.

The house is now in a half way reasonable state, enough to ward of Santa’s little personal injury lawyers at any rate and we have made it through another day without any of the gifts already under the tree ‘accidentally’ having the wrapping paper ‘fall off’ so that is good enough for me. I managed to have a sneaky ‘I’m just tidying’ sort out of the lego and checked the Playstation is all up to date and ready to go without giving anything away to the boy. The outfit I bought for the girl has a seal of approval, not an easy thing given her tastes change with the wind and something she begged for on one day is something she wouldn’t be seen dead in the next. The top I had bought did not pass her inspection sadly but she found a plain black t-shirt in her avalanche field to substitute for the lovely bright one I had picked so her Christmas day outfit is rescued. I wish she was an easily pleased as the boy for whom I just got something with a computer game character on and thought no more of it.

IMG_0149 IMG_0150

A heard of horses meets a horde of children tomorrow at the riding school Christmas pony day and party. I don’t really need to give any more of a teaser than that really, see you on the other side!

Splash down

The holidays have officially begun!

The two week winter trial of stamina, perseverance, patience and cognitive functioning kicked off this afternoon in fine style.

As promised after school kicked out the girl and I headed off to the outdoor skating rink amid a mild gale and spitting rain. Thankfully for me the rink is set up among the sheds and potted plants of a large local garden centre and is pretty small and just for fun, or so they say.

The last time I laced a set of ice skates I was still in my teens, still had all the bone a person should have and had no metal plates and screws holding me together. The girl asked for one of those push along seal skating aids, I took a look at the £4 fee and grandly told her that she didn’t need a seal, she had me. I then did an impression of a seal. The girl was not impressed but the young man in the ticket booth said it was a fantastic seal impression.

As soon as my skate hit the ice I knew I was in a bit of trouble I had completely overlooked the fact that ice is slippery, ice with a few millimeters of water on top because, hey, this is southern England in December what do you really expect, is I find even more slippy. I am often unable to keep my balance while standing in shoes on a flat carpeted floor. This was not going to end well I realised.

The girl and I started to do laps while clinging for dear life onto the fencing. The girl, having learnt her passive aggression from the master made comments about how good the seals where, look that Dad is pushing two seals at once and I could have held onto it too it I had wanted. I still refused to pay £4 for the use of one. I would shortly regret that decision.


Pictured: Better than me

After a few laps I started to get a little less terrified and risked letting go of the fence, I even encouraged the girl to let go. I even tried to give the girl tips on skating and that, that was my big mistake. A combination of misplaced hubris and inattention caused me to suddenly find myself flat on my back in the corner of the rink where the standing water had formed a rather large puddle. I then couldn’t get up. I had to scoot over to the fence, through a puddle, on my backside and then try to haul myself up to standing while still wearing ice skates, still being on ice and still being me.


Pictured: Wet and saggy

Apart from being wet through things actually went great and the girl and I had a wonderful and fun time, we even did three whole laps without holding on, for one of those we even let go of each other. We came off the ice and went for hot chocolate (girl) and soup (me) and then spent a little time window shopping before heading over to the farm shop to stock up on some amazing pork pies (scrumpy, black pudding, cranberry and stuffing. I couldn’t pick so will be eating pork pie until 2015 without complaint) for our Christmas morning breakfast. I tried not to think about the fact that once I was off the ice the reason for my wet backside would not be as clear cut to the casual observer and tried to simply be thankful for dark jeans, the loss of any sense of shame that occurred with my first birth and the fact that apart from the gale it was quite warm.

So I have started the holidays with a bang (splash?) and had a lovely time with my girl. The children are off to play with a friend tomorrow while I unfortunately attend another funeral. We then have a normal (as normal as it gets round here) weekend before we hit the home straight before christmas. It is the riding school Christmas party on Tuesday so that is likely to provide a wealth of material. At least this year everybody knows not to applaud the end of the musical ride lest all the horses bolt again. They did bolt in unison though and many thought it was part of the show, well until somebody fell off and the real stampede started…