Sunday, 11 August 2019

I have had a lovely week with lots of long walks with the dogs (all four of them although Pocket often ends up in my pocket), swimming in the river as I have promised myself that I would swim every day, no matter what the weather, watching India at mini Pony Club camp, which was SO sweet, and last night we went to the Fairport Convention at Cropredy which was a first for us - It has been going for forty years and this is the first time I remembered to buy tickets before they sold out. It is like a mini Glastonbury but with an older and very friendly audience. So much fun with some very talented musicians. We will make sure we get tickets organised for next year and go in a group.
I have also been really busy with the shepherd huts and glamping site. The horses are coming in on the 18th September to be shod but will probably live outside for as long as possible until the weather turns.

The Fairport Convention at Cropredy - We were in the Mosh pit!!

India on Hunny - "I want to jump higher and go faster" - She may be our novice rider in 12 years time....?
We thoroughly enjoyed watching the England v Wales match this afternoon (33-19 to England. Great to see England play so much better against them than in the Six Nations and bodes well for the World Cup, although Wales were pretty dangerous when they got the ball and will probably even the score when they play England again next week. I am SO looking forward to our trip to Japan in October to see the Rugby World cup. Hopefully we will have either England or Australia to cheer on in the final....

Monday, 5 August 2019

The lovely weather continues with a few small showers in between. We have been very lucky not to have got the terrible storms that they had up North where cattle and sheep were swept away and livelihoods ruined. Our thoughts are with them.
We went to Blakesley show on Saturday which is one of the few true country shows left. It was a tremendous success - they took over £30,000 on the gate and they split the takings between local charities. Doug is a relative newcomer to the committee but it is wonderful the way they all work together to create such a fabulous show. You can't go more than five yards before bumping into someone you know so it takes an awful long time to see the whole show, but really lovely to catch up with people that you see perhaps only once a year.


Sunday, 4 August 2019

A great result for Velvet Steel's half brother!

Velvet Steel's half brother, Tudor City, has won the feature race at Galway. He was one of 18 runners and he came from behind to battle it out.
Tudor City winning the Galway Guiness hurdle race

Big celebrations

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Great news! Tik (Velvet Steel) has been scanned as in foal - Third time lucky! Popaway and Jess have both been scanned at 28 days and the heart beat was detected and Dream is also in foal with just one embryo, thank goodness. A month ago we dropped off Squeak in Peter Taylors field where his bull Blue Pimpernel lives and she must have been served immediately as she scanned with a heart beat - She is too small to spend a lot of money on a 'posh' stallion but the yearling she had by the same stallion is very nice, so it is worth going back.
So, onwards and upwards. The foals that are on the ground are now doing really well and with the recent rain the grass is growing and they all look fabulous.
However, FAR more importantly our lovely puppies all went to lovely homes apart from one, of course, which I could not resist keeping.
The one on the right is Pocket, and is a new member of the family. She is GORGEOUS!

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

This wonderful weather continues and we have been making the most of it with lots of barbeques and swimming in the river. We have been very full with guests but managed to have a lovely family barbeque at the cosy cocoon site on Friday evening. Jay has been in the UK for the last three weeks but went back to her very successful restaurant in India yesterday morning. It was wonderful to catch up with her.

Jessica at the cosy cocoon site
The breeding programme has been somewhat fraught to say the least although we will start with the good news first - Both Jess and Popaway have been scanned with viable embryo's at the 16 day stage - Absolutely fantastic that our gamble of going all the way to Ireland to visit Elusive Pimpernel has seemingly paid off. Jess had twins but they have been successfully squeezed (hopefully) We thought the same with Dove and Dream - Their twins were squeezed and we ended up with them all dying which was really sad. Dove hadn't recycled so we have decided to give her a year off and Dream went back to the stallion - this time to Telescope as we were picking Burrows Spring up at the same time. Spring has been scanned as definitely in foal to Dartmouth. Both Dream and Popaway's foals got bad scours but thankfully they have pulled through. Tik disappointingly scanned as not in foal yesterday but has gone back to the stallion (Telescope) today for her last chance - We probably made the mistake with Tik of trying to hurry her along with prostaglandin injections as we wanted her to go to Ireland with Popaway. Consequently her follicles weren't quite right. She obviously likes to do things in her own time and left to her own devises has now get a very healthy corpus luteum which the vet said was much more hopeful - Fingers crossed....
Popaway's Irish embryo -

At this stage it seems to be true that "Fools breed for wise men to buy" but hopefully we will prove this saying wrong! If it was that easy then everyone would do it and we like a challenge...

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

We arrived back into Gatwick at 8.30 pm after the flight was delayed and then got in the car for a marathon drive to Stranraer. We were hoping to attend our annual Nuffield Beckett weekend which was based at Portstewart this time, and I have to say, passing the Banbury turn on the M40 at 10.30pm without turning off took an enormous amount of will power having been up since 6am. We got as far as the Tebay service station in Cumbria at 1.30am and decided to have a few hours sleep and then leave early in the morning to meet up with everyone else. Our tiredness was soon forgotten when we met up with them and went to the first visit of the day - Beef cattle, dairy farming, grass management, cheese making, farming people were all on the agenda and it was absolutely fascinating. We could not believe how much grass they could grow in that area - They were on their third crop of silage having already grazed it twice (the cattle go out in February) The cattle looked magnificent, and the margins looked impressive. They clearly know how to do the job properly and also know how to get the best grants available which is fair enough. You can definitely see why the Scots did not want the UK to leave the EU. Understandable when you see the benefits they have gained.  Our last visit on Sunday morning was a huge farm on the Mull of Galloway, the most western point in Scotland - It was quite extraordinary how the farmer (Harvey) had been able to mould his buildings (twenty of them!) around the steep banks and harsh conditions and yet fatten some of the best cattle I have seen in huge numbers. It was great to catch up with everyone else and wonderful that Alan and Anne Beckett, our sponsors, who although they are approaching their nineties are still able to enjoy the experience with us.

Mull of Galloway - The most western point in Scotland
We have just got back from a week in Greece. We went back to our normal lovely fishing village on the Pelion peninsula. We haven't been back there for the last two years and really missed it and it was wonderful to go back there again. The locals were genuinely pleased to see us. We have been going there for at least ten years and have watched the various children grow up, been present at various weddings and been aware of the different happy family occasions and the sadness when someone special passes away. It is a very special place...

View from our balcony 'Daisy's Place'

The gorgeous Aegean sea

The fishing village