Well what a summer that's been! We've had a really busy time at the marina, the farm has been manic and the kids seemed to find a million and one things they needed me to do with them. So in summary, since I last wrote a blog the horsebox has been all over the place at various competitions. I'd like to say we had gorgeous weather, but our summer was just as mixed as everyone else and we got very wet on a number of occasions. I rode in my first British Riding Club Championships — for me a momentous occasion, despite the hail and driving rain which appeared as I started my test and then miraculously cleared up immediately after! Daughter No 2 had her sights on a different target (literally) and Angus and I split a week down south at Bisley Shooting Ground for the British Small Bore Rifle Association Junior International and the weekend aggregate (don't ask — I still don't know what the weekend aggregate actually is, but she seems to know). Her aim seems to be improving and she knocked off some pretty decent scores and even came home with a Team GB scarf for her cap in a postal shoot with Canada, a couple of medals and the U18 weekend agg. Trophy!
At the marina everything has been blooming — Literally! And it's all down to Graham and his gardening club — the flowers outside reception have been simply stunning and I'm pretty sure he has no idea how talented he is — I only look at plants with two thoughts in my head — can I eat it? Or Can the horses eat it? Graham only seems to glance at a plant and it grows and flourishes!
Rounding off the summer was the RNLI Festival — run by Rodney and his group of brilliant volunteers — as usual a triumph of chaos and organisation all mixed into one. My favourite moment though was an aside — on the Saturday night I was flagged down near Bridge 80 on my way to the marina by a lady in black — at closer inspection she had an RSPCA badge and explained she'd been called to a stuck duck but was too afraid of the cattle in the field to go and have a look. I took pity on her and led her across the field to the canal and there was indeed a 'stuck duck'. The boat moored opposite had spotted it earlier in the day and noticed it hadn't moved for some time. At this point RSPCA lady was keen to walk back to her van to kit herself out in wellies etc. It was dusk and I decided that more direct action was needed. After clambering through the barbed wire fence I balanced precariously on a rock and a clump of mud and reached out — only to find that the poor little duck really was stuck — it had fishing wire wrapped around it's wing and the other end was wedged under water. So there we were, on the edge of the field, miles from anywhere, I'm balancing on a rock, the water is starting to seep into my shoes and the duck is VERY stuck! Massive thanks to the boater opposite who resourcefully let his boat out so he could throw us a pair of scissors. One snip and my little feathered friend was free and swam off quacking furiously. I was left with a few thoughts — 1) my feet are really wet; 2) this really is a good reason to always carry a pen knife in my pocket and 3) I wonder of I should tell her that there's also a bull in the field.....