Thursday, 21 September 2017

At last! Having got a new computer during the summer I haven't been able to logon to my blog and after an enormous amount of cursing and frustration it is all sorted. I can even blog on my iPad. Yippee! I will be able to catch up with everything now with all the latest news.
We are about to go to Zimbabwe for 19 days so in a bit of a flap, but we have got a great team at home looking after the horses, who are still just doing mainly road work.
More later....

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Cosy Cocoons

Henry and' Grandpa Doug'

Our new Glamping site (Cosy Cocoons) has recently opened and we were able to make the most of it during this beautiful weather on Saturday evening. We were playing badminton until it got dark and then all sat around the fire until the children fell asleep in one of the cocoons.  It was one of those very special occasions that stays a wonderful memory forever. The weather has now broken and Jay has gone back to India which made it even more special...... so far it really has been a wonderful summer and although we got some much needed rain today it is set to be lovely again tomorrow. I have swam in the river most evenings and on Monday I swam within an arms length of a kingfisher that was sitting on his fishing perch. He has got so used to me that he just watched as I swam within inches of him. Just so beautiful.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

We have just got back from our annual Beckett Nuffield trip. It is in a different place every year and this time it was in Scotland, north of Edinburgh. It was as inspirational as ever. After going to the Scottish Game Fair at Scone Palace we did various farm visits including a Biomass plant, a huge potato farm and farm shop, a tea grower, who has grown over 40,000 tea bushes and is marketing Scottish tea, and a huge honey packer, who used to be a bee keeper but now makes far more money packing honey from all over the world. Amazingly most of his honey comes all the way from China in huge drums, it is packed in cute little jars and then sent back to China where the Chinese happily pay five times more for it because they believe it is made in the UK or Europe!  The same goes for a lot of Australian honey. It is a crazy world we live in...
The following day we visited a jersey cow herd that is in its infancy and being set up by a young couple (one of which is a Beckett scholar) that have just borrowed a lot of money to start the business. It was great to see what they had done so far and what challenges they face in the future. They are just living in a caravan in a wind blown field at the moment but their confidence in the future of the dairy industry and enthusiasm for the job was great to see and if anyone can make it work, they can.
Scotland was as beautiful as ever and with HS2 looming and the price of land so much cheaper there it could be a possibility. The downside being that there is very little point to pointing and it is an awful long way from all our friends and family....
The Beckett group are a fabulous bunch of people with the sponsors, Alan and Ann Beckett both in their late eighties but still putting us all to shame with their boundless energy and wisdom.
We are looking forward to next years Beckett weekend already!

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Back online at last!! We went away for a lovely few days to North Devon during the heatwave and unfortunately my poor old computer crashed out in the heat as the fan gave up. Needless to say it has been a nightmare trying to retrieve all the different files. Thankfully most of my bookings are done on a central booking system now, but all the other information has disappeared and it is amazing how you think you know all your different passwords but in fact you don't. Still, it could have been worse and we are nearly back to normal now. It has taken me all morning to work out how to get back onto my blog and I was about to give up but then realised I was logging on with the wrong email address. Grrrr!  Myself and technology don't exactly get on......
Juliet and Patrick are holding their big shoot day today in memory of their son, Tom, and in aid of the Air Ambulance. Doug is shooting in a team and I will be joining them for the lunch after I have finished all my jobs here. I am sure it will be the normal resounding success and make a lot of money for a great cause. It is wonderful how some people can be strong enough to turn a tragic event into a positive outcome. Huge respect to them both.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

What dreadful news to wake up to again. At least this time it isn't due to terrorists but that almost makes it worse, as it could have been avoided. The worst nightmare ever for those poor people. What a hideous way to perish. Our thoughts go out to all those innocent people and children. Just so sad. Once again the emergency services have done us proud. 

Saturday, 10 June 2017

MASSIVE relief with all three horses home safe and sound. Thank goodness. Exclusive Rights flew the flag with an amazing performance coming second and jumping like a stag. She loves it at Stratford and at 66-1 really surprised everyone with how well and easily she travelled. Two miles is obviously her trip and we will look to doing more hunter chases with her next season as she loves the big fences.
Glory Hunter found the pace too quick but kept with them for the first circuit. It was a massive step up for him and a great introduction to the big fences which he did easily enough. He needs a longer trip as he stays forever and he seemed to enjoy the experience which is the main thing for him as he is such a worrier.
Before the race Popaway was in a stable next to the Ladies loos and took great delight in biting everyone as they came out. She was also bucking and leaping when there was a false start and seemed full of herself but as I rather expected she did one circuit hard on the bridle and then completely emptied. Immie knew to pull her up as soon she she didn't feel right which was the best thing to do. Having just recovered from her respiratory infection and then being given the flu vaccination completely knocked her for six, and even Popaway couldn't fight that. In hindsight we shouldn't have run her but no one was to know how long she would be out of sorts for and two different vets advised us to run her as it was the last race of the season. Still, there was no harm done and she is as bright as a button today. She has just left for her annual holidays at Roy's and Scruffy and Goody have also just gone to Juliet's. PHEW! Another season over and great fun was had by all. We are still all very sad about the losses but hope that we will now go another ten years without any as we have been so lucky in the past. 

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

It has been a very 'up and down' few days. Immie came in especially to work Popaway up the hill. I was on Glory Hunter and Suzanne on Exclusive Rights. Normally we can't get within a bulls roar of Popaway but for whatever reason she was off the bridle on the first time up and even more so on the second, whereas our two were flying. We have never known her to be so flat and decided then and there that she wasn't going to run at Stratford. We and the owners were devastated. The vet was coming in to scope her anyway and take bloods. The scope was much better than her scope after Cheltenham. This time it was 95% clear and all set to be 100% for Friday. We just couldn't understand it. We have never known her to have a 'flat' day before and were very down about it. That night I suddenly remembered that she had her flu and tetanus vaccine on the previous Thursday. Annoyingly we had them all vaccinated at the end of the season last year on the 3rd June but this year racing is a week later so we had no choice but to vaccinate them then. The following day her bloods came back as 100% with really good readings and no indication of any sickness or muscle enzyme problems, she was also galloping around the field squealing and looked far from sick. We had a chat with various vets and the consensus was that she had had a bad reaction to the flu vaccination and would have been running a high temperature, and to try her once more on the gallops to see how she was. This morning Kara took her up and thank goodness she was back to the old Popaway again and flew up the gallops twice, hard on the bridle and then bounced all the way home. What a huge relief. So, with the vets encouragement she will be going to Stratford after all. At least it isn't such a testing track as Cheltenham and Immie will know to pull her up if she feels she isn't right.
We now have all three going to Stratford and I am going to be a nervous wreck..............
We had a lovely distraction from horses today with a pre puppy show lunch at John Moorhouse's which was as always delicious and then Doug went back to work whilst I went to the Bicester puppy show. I love watching the judging of the hounds and I was rather pleased with myself as I got the dog champion right and the first three in the correct order for the bitch puppies.. They looked fabulous and credit to the Bicester hunt staff.