Posts Tagged ‘horse’


I was editing the next part of my Scottish trip but this morning we had to have our beloved Minstrel put down due to a dreadful and terminal attack of colic.



I will get back to you when I have recovered myself a bit.  The kindest most good natured horse I have ever known.  We had him for nearly 20 years.  Our wonderful vet would have tried anything and so would we but he said that he was in agony and the journey alone to the vet hospital would be purgatory, then months and months of pain and terrible distress, and for a pony in his late 20s that was unkind to say the least.

The guilt is what is getting to me the worst.  Yesterday I thought he looked a bit under the weather but nothing to make me worry and I was bone tired and hardly able to stand myself.  If only I had taken action then and not fallen into bed.  My husband gave them their evening feeds and noticed nothing amiss but I should have gone to check myself.  But by this morning it was too late.

Life is full of ‘if onlys’.

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A hard day today hitting the books trying to make up lost ground on my university music course.

I studied from 9.45 am to 7.15 pm with breaks, frequent, for Rooibosch (African tea or Redbush), quick sorties out to the animals, a lunch break and a snooze in the afternoon to combat a headache.

Needing fresh air mid-morning I spent ten minutesweeding the potato patch and gathering chickweek to throw into the hens.  The next break saw me spend ten minutes with the horses, just ‘chewing the hay’ so to speak.

At lunch time I gathered from the news that two tennis players have just been playing for two whole days: when I looked in they had played 59 games and were still going at it.  Makes my day look easy!  I don’t know how much more they had to play before the end arrived.

Friend’s husband is madly catching up on chores around the homestead this week as he is off to Spitsbergen this weekend to revisit scenes of the expeditions of his youth.  Friend has spent the day with another friend driving miles to see a specialist equine vet for other friend’s horse.  So a hard day all round.

Dear friend of mine began playing the Trumpet a while ago, loaned to her by a nephew.  Then she moved on to the Cornet and also plays the Tenor Horn which is on loan to her.  She bought her own Cornet earlier this year and I was able to contribute the money for the mouthpiece as part of her birthday present.  When I arrived for this visit I gathered that she was looking to buy her own Horn: well, she had done lots of homework and tracked down a very good one on E-bay.  She had put in some bids and it was coming up to the last hour.  She had been outbid each time and she felt she had hit her ceiling.  Friends were round for the evening so I drifted out at one point and took a look at the bidding: just for devilment I put in a bid myself, and when I looked at the numbers I realised that the person outbidding her had reached their limit.  I was sure theirs was an automatic bid. The bids had been going up by ten pounds a time and then by twenty, suddenly the top bid was £20.55 which alerted me to the fact that we had reached the top of the automatic bid: so I put in a second bid and low and behold I was top bidder.  And so it remained.

When the company left, friend could not bear to watch so went outside to do the evening chores: I sat by the screen watching the minutes and then second flash past, not believing my eyes.  But my bid stayed there at the top and now she has the super Horn with the wonderful pedigree.  My two bids will be her Christmas and Birthday presents for the immediate future: she was kind enough to say that she likes having my input into her two instruments!!

I must add that she also plays the violin, viola, piano and on occasion, the organ.  Makes me and my flute look rather feeble!

So that just about catches you up with the latest from here apart from a trip on a ferry to an island, Bear Island, which I hope to tell you all about tomorrow.  This exhausted creature is about to fall into bed, so bye for now.

(PS One of my favourite films, Life of Brian).

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Today was the journey to Ireland, beginning with the train journey over the Pennines to the Airport.

So this post is a few pix taken from the train to give you some indication of the countryside it passes through: it was a hot, sunny day so apologies for the reflection from the windows and also the dirty smudges on the glass!

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I’m off to South West Ireland tomorrow morning for two weeks to get my necessary ‘Irish’, and ‘catching up with old friends’, fix.  Friend has been my friend since school and we have seen a lot of life between us!

Friend has a new horse, a young four year old, who she has only had for a couple of months.  I cannot wait to see her and make her acquaintance.  She came named Shanti, was renamed Jasmine and is now known as Jazzy.  I will post some photos of her on here when I arrive.

I have never been in June before, my visits have usually been in Autumn or the New Year, although I did come in early May once, so I am really looking forward to seeing the plants, trees and wildlife at this time of year.  Sometimes it is really hot, sometimes really wet, so we’ll just have to see.  I think lots of clothes that will ‘layer’ is going to be the key to packing.

Travelling from here is good: the train from Sheffield goes straight into Manchester Airport and you only have to get in a lift up from the train platform to be whizzed into the airport terminal.  Of course, there is then the set of moving walkways to negotiate before dumping the luggage but it is no hassle.

And the rail journey across the Pennines is wonderful: you climb up to the spine of England, passing through deserted moorland, masses of heather, dry stone walled fields, small upland farms with their stock yards, windblown trees, sheep and cattle, hay meadows, small becks, great stone edges, and generally see a landscape hardly modified for hundreds of years, before coming down the other side to Lancashire and the outskirts of Manchester.

I really, really, need this break.  Ever since I got back from the States I have been ‘hounded’ by the medics.  At least that is what it feels like.  I have posted before about the pressure to have an invasive procedure which I do not want.  Appreciating the kind intentions behind this pressure I have tried to be grateful although firm about what I feel is right for me.  But last week I received yet another letter from my GP and yesterday came another phone call.  What I do not understand is that when I try to explain my reasons, based on information I have been given, is that yesterday the GP changed what she had originally said about the Ultrasound results and is now using different tactics.  She describes the situation as different from what she originally said, without accepting that what she is now saying is different. I think that is quite serious: to actually change the facts that you are giving a patient.  It now feels like scare tactics instead of logical rationality.  I am ready to scream and am feeling rather ‘bounced’ about: you really need your medics. to be constant in the facts they say they are telling you.  She will not accept that I wish to continue with further regular ultrasounds for a while before panicking even though she said that the Consultant thinks that what I have is benign!   Previous experience of Consultants and a cancer scare showed me that if they are really perturbed the consultant him or herself will ring you at home, even at a weekend.  She will not prescribe further ultrasounds until I have seen the Consultant, so that leaves me with few alternatives: either go along with her and have the Consultation or change a long-standing family doctor.

How to make an informed decision if the ground under your feet keeps changing?  Part of my problem is that I have multiple chemical allergies:  if I breathe in certain substances, or have them injected, I collapse, cannot move, my pulse goes mad, my heart goes mad, and it takes a long time plus oxygen to come round.  Now these allergies have meant that in the past I have collapsed just walking into one clinic because they had had a new floor laid and I was allergic to the glue that had been used.  I am allergic to the hand wash they use, one sniff and I’m out: also the anaesthetics, both general and local, the antiseptics, etc. etc.  it is too boring to go into more detail here.  But everything they propose to use in this procedure I am allergic to.  Each collapse is worse than the one before so obviously I try to reduce my exposure as much as possible.  My doctor has no problem accepting these collapses: in fact a few years ago when I was seriously ill with pneumonia she wanted to send me to hospital but suggested herself that she would not because that environment would be even worse for me.     However, I think she needs to feel that the responsibility for the present situation is taken off her hands and given over to a Consultant.   Also I think it is hard for her to realise just how frightening these collapses are and my extreme reluctance to face exposure unless really necessary.

It is different at the dentist.  The last time I was there a new dentist was on duty who would not listen to me.  He used a filling material which caused an immediate collapse. Worse than ever before.  I ended up with the crash team from the local hospital.  It really felt as if my time had come, and as I lay there, I felt tears running down my cheeks: it was bad enough thinking that life was ending when I still wanted to do so much but it was worse thinking that it was because of a silly mistake which could have been avoided if someone had listened to me and believed me. They take great care now at the Dental Hospital: they will only see me first thing in the morning when the clinic has not been used by anyone else.  They wash it down with soap and water first and have all the windows open, and the door closed so that nothing can come in from the other clinics.  They have found an old fashioned anaesthetic which is OK and gone back to the old kelp-based impression materials.

The trouble is that no one seems to have come across this type of reaction before even though chemical allergies are a known aftermath of ME: without a specific diagnosis and the correct ‘label’ it is sometimes difficult to make the more old fashioned medics. take something seriously.  I have tried the Allergy clinic in the local hospital but they say that without a skin rash they cannot diagnose allergies.   Perhaps it is time to go more global now and try to track down some de-sensitising treatment!!

The final result is that I have decided that I will have to see this Consultant, but will write first to explain the substances to which I must not be exposed, and try to find out exactly why they seem so determined to have me in.  But the end result is that I feel rather bullied and, silly as it may seem, rather threatened.  (Dear friend whom I am going to visit immediately offered to fly over from Ireland to accompany me to the Consultant.  How kind is that!)

So, I am more than ready for a break away from all this emotionally charged hype!!  I will pack my bags, and get on that train with a huge sigh of relief.  I love large railway stations and airports where no one knows me: being in a huge place packed with strangers always gives me a great feeling.  Somehow it feels as if baggage is lifted off one’s back and limitless opportunities stretch before one, I don’t know why.  I get thrills down my spine in places like the Gare du Lyons in Paris where you see trains off to Siberia, Moscow, Istanbul or the French Riviera.  It makes me want to throw myself on one and just go.  You have no responsibilites or duties to anyone for a while and can just sit and relax and watch what goes on around you with interest but no involvement unless you wish.


PS After such seriousness here are some pix from around the ‘estate’ which I could not resist on such a lovely sunny day.  Enjoy!

Bumble bees of every shape and size were buzzing around this geranium, so I took some close-ups, only one of which I  will post here:

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What to write about today?

I had thought of delivering a coup de grace to redriverpak and writing about slime moulds (see picture of dog vomit slime mould left) but you have probably had enough natural history this week.

Then I thought about writing about equine grief in case chlost would find that interesting.  But perhaps enough psychology for the moment.

So a change of pace today and into the big smoke (well actually since the Clean Air Act it is OK air-wise unless very hot, which is rare)  for an Italian meal at lunchtime with husband and ex-colleague of husband.

Chiabattas for the other two: one with bacon, brie and salad, the other with goats cheese, hot roasted peppers and pesto, and Antipasta Italienne for me, with a shared plate of french fries just to keep the carbs. up.  Friend was desperate to share a dessert so I braced myself for a home-made Tiramisu whilst husband had ice cream, chocolate sauce and Vermicelli.  Lovely!!

Friend has an interesting history.  Born in Prague she escaped just as the Russians were driving in in 1968 fleeing with two suitcases, husband and baby, arriving in Sheffield with just that to their name.  She is a linguist teaching Japanese here at the University and her daughter has followed her down the Japanese route.

Husband died many years ago but she has made a reasonable living (given how bad teaching rates are all over the world!) and does translation work too.  She is just retiring now and thinking of what to do and where to go next.  For a while she taught at Oxford University and is wondering whether to move there since her main interests are Museums, Art Galleries, Concerts, etc. etc. and Oxford will never run out of things to do or translation work or part time teaching or tutoring.  A difficult decision, to leave the place where she has lived for most of her life: but children are far-flung and Oxford would be easier for them to visit, although her friends are mainly here.

A decision many people have to face at some stage: move to be closer to family who have their own lives to lead and may even move, or stay with one’s friends and support system.  I don’t envy her.

This brings to mind another ex-colleague of husband who was Russian: his parents lived in East Germany, his father was a scientist.  Well, when he was nine years old they decided to leave and join relatives in the West.  They went to a border crossing which they had reason to believe would accept their papers and let them cross.  However, when they got there there was just one guard on duty but he said that he had received instructions not to let them cross over.  Clearly the father’s scientific work was too valuable.  They argued the point for a while but the guard was adamant in his refusal.  Then the man’s father put his hand on his son’s  shoulder, pressed hard and whispered “Run”.  So the nine year old boy did just that, streaking across to West Germany and mercifully the guard did not fire his AK47: they all, parents and guard, just stood and watched the child run across the border to where his uncle was standing.  Then the guard turned to the parents and said “Now go back or I will be shot too”.  The man never saw his parents again: they were not allowed to leave East Germany and he was brought up by his Uncle.

Decisions can be so hard: and have such far reaching consequences.  And sometimes the most important have to be made in a split second.

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