Wednesday, March 16

Blood, sweat and cheers

This week is one of few in the year when I put normal life on hold. In stark contrast to usual, I am very stationary, glued to the television most of the day and moving only when absolutely necessary.

Normally I like to think of myself as a genial host, the door is always open and anyone may come and join us at any time.

Not This Week.

This week I have a single and uninterrupted focus. I am revelling in the excitement of the Cheltenham Festival, the annual horseracing Olympics.

The phone lies unanswered, the door bell is resolutely ignored. Every afternoon this week, as the Channel 4 racing theme tune plays out across the digital network, I shall retreat to the sofa, armed with the day's edition of the Racing Post and concentrate until that tune fades out at tea time.

I love the muted hum of anticipation, the roar at each start, the precise angle of take off and landing as each fence is jumped, and the athletic stretch of horse and jockey as they face the mountainous hill and flatten in resolute gallop to get to the line first. I even love the post race analysis, the relaxed sway of the jockeys as the horses make their way back to be unsaddled, their camaraderie palpable in the steamy air.

With a depth of passion that largely baffles my friends, I shall be shouting encouragement at the jockeys and rocking gently backwards and forwards as if I am riding myself. I may even exuberantly leap to my feet if a spectacular final fence jump is required. One can only hope the neighbours will not see.

Keep on giving

Those blue irises have now given way to brash crocus who have burst through the soil to open their petals and turn their faces to the sun all day.

Just lovely.

Thursday, March 10


Such a horrible pink, why would you ruin a Mini like that?

Wednesday, March 9


Gazing at the sky on the way home we spied an enormous X made by the trails of two aeroplanes crossing at right angles. Lapin regarded this "big kiss" solemnly and then announced "That is how much I love you and Daddy."

She's a clever girl and knows how to keep her parents onside.

Tuesday, March 8

Team Work

Two rabbits, hopping around the garden.

Two bouncing children, apt to run willy nilly waving their arms.

One very sensible, slow moving adult, co-ordinating manoeuvres.

One hutch, door open with enticing food clearly visible.

In teamwork and smooth movements, the like of which has only previously been seen on One Man and His Dog, the two rabbits were encouraged safely back inside the hutch for bed.

Good effort.

Sunday, March 6


Never look a gift horse in the mouth, even if you only have a window box of space to spare.

These irises, currently standing proud by the front door, were a gift from a great friend who in turn was passing on the excesses of gardening gifts she had received from a compulsive over buying neighbour.

They are a lovely welcome home with the added bonus of memories of friendship.

Saturday, March 5

Shopping with Granny

This morning, Lapin was up and dressed well before anyone else had stirred. She was bouncing around with anticipation and could barely contain her impatience as the wait for Granny got longer and longer. MrP and Bounce went off to do boy things and still no sign. The smile wavered and excitement made way for that dreaded lament "I'm bored" as the minute hand went inexorably round the clock.

However, all her angst evaporated the second Granny arrived and they went straight out for an indulgent birthday shopping trip.

This is what returned, topped by the widest grin I have ever seen.

Lapin takes great interest in what she wears and is very precise in her taste, although the finished outfit is not always what one might expect. She is fascinated by my clothes and I can only assume that the purchase of these and these may have opened her eyes to the benefits of wild shoes. Long may it last.

Thursday, March 3


My day job (one of the few things I do that generates income) leads me to spend a fair bit of time in the car. I'm fully aware that as a single person pottering from here to there, I am not really doing my bit to have a teeny weeny carbon footprint but I do my best to reduce mileage where possible and try to shoulder the burden of guilt.

The lovely thing about going from place to place is seeing bits of the country you haven't seen before and becoming briefly acquainted with beautiful sights which nestle off the beaten track.

Lost on narrow meandering lanes bordered by tall hedges, I suddenly glimpsed this infamous Tor through a gateway and had to stop to admire its quiet majesty.

Previously in the day, I flew past Stonehenge, lurking ominously in the damp mist. (these photos are dreadful but the sun refused to shine, except on the Cathedral at Wells which was golden at lunchtime.)

Those sights were both arresting and magnificent but the most beautiful place I passed was the church at Doulting, whose spire is in stark contrast to the usual towers in Somerset.

Sadly on this occasion there was no opportunity to stop and look more closely but maybe one day I shall go that way again and have time to view the building more closely.

Wednesday, March 2

Don't believe everything you are told

Somebody said to me that it always rains in Ireland.

Obviously, when you are celebrating two birthdays with an extended family trip away, this rule is carelessly abandoned. Instead, the guinness flows, the sun shines and the craic is great.