Pony, Hertfortshire, 2006
Finding myself watching my friend's Gareth and Georgina's daughter at her pony riding lessons when I was staying with them a few years back, I got to see another side of life. The life of the young and overcommited. The life where kids get riding lessons and piano lessons and swimming lessons and violin lessons. Staying with Gareth and Georgina in 2009, I went and watched the kids swimming lessons - which was fun as I got to go for a swim - love swimming, even if it is November in England and it's threatening sleet. They kid's extra-curricular calendar was as busy as ever.
I didn't get this stuff when I was a kid (okay, I got flute lessons - but I still wish I had had learned to play the piano)
As a kid, however, I had a pony. Well, my sister and I shared a pony, a rotund grey mare named Pebbles. She was a sweety, though my sister was the one who did the riding - I just went out to the paddock to talk to her regularly. Pebbles was a good listener who liked carrots. I don't know if I could ride a horse to save my life now - then again, I said that about bicycles...
I remember that when we were out with the horse, immediately afterward, before going into the house, we had to strip off and wash our clothes immediately because Mum was allergic to her. Mum's allergic to all sorts of animals. Dogs. Unspayed male cats. Anything at the zoo. And Pebbles. So we'd run in and shove our play clothes in the washing machine and change into our dressing gowns ready for dinner.
Growing up on a farm was a great thing, even if it means that your mother will tell any new friends that you greatest talent in life is getting calves to drink from the bucket. Okay, it's a talent, but I'm not sure I'd shove it on my CV.
Looking around the stables while G and G's daughter and the pony did her stuff I went for a wander and found this fellow. Hate to say it, but watching a six-year-old go round and round on a horse is not that interesting, so I went to visit the neddies.
I'm as much a sucker for horses as I am for cats. I stop and pat the police horses in the street any time I pass them. I think horses are lovely.
This one was no exception.
p.s. Started a new role today. Much better. No Phil Collins. No Beyonce. No Adele. No Rhianna. No Billy Joel. And the team appear to be lovely. And I'm back in the city. Rather pleased indeed.