This is my new blog to continue my journey with my Dales Ponies. It will also be the story of my building a new life for myself, alone now, except for my friends, horses and dogs, since my partner died in March 2009. We had lived and worked together, mostly twenty four hours a day, for nearly 28 years and I have never lived alone before. It is a tribute to my wonderful friends that I am still here, still sane(ish) and ready to re-invent myself. I love them all more than words can ever say and can never thank them enough for all they have done and are still doing. It is also a tribute to Alexandra Kurland and 'The Click That Teaches' that I know how to save myself now. To new beginnings.......

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Dales Like to be Different.

The dentist came to do my horse's teeth yesterday. I haven't seen him for a year and he was saying how long a year is in people's lives and how much their lives can change in that time. He also told me that he and his wife have been together for 12 years and are hardly ever apart but she is going away for the weekend and how strange and lonely it will be, spending it alone, albeit with their four dogs. I love it when people admit things like that to me because it makes me feel more normal.

He also said that a dog of his had died in similar circumstances to David and that he thought watching a person die like that could be enough to unhinge someone, which again made me feel more rational and normal. I replied that it did just about unhinge me but plenty of people go through similar or worse scenarios and survive more or less intact. I have too.

When we came to rasping Bella and Jack's teeth I told him that they both get a bit bargy when they're worried and I'd found that the easiest way to get their teeth done was over the door as neither of them ever thinks of pulling back or rearing, they just push forward which is not a problem if there's a door or gate for them to lean on. He was a bit dubious but tried it and got them both done without any problems.

He said that he would never have thought of trying that as he would have assumed that most horses would just shoot backwards out of reach. I told him that Dales like to be different and he said that would be a great slogan! I thought that was a fantastic idea and it will be our slogan from now on!!! I'm going to get a T shirt and sweatshirt printed with it on!!

I've been collecting even more people. I have a possible lodger and a definite tenant for a mobile home if I can find one at an affordable price. He is a qualified plumber but comes alive when playing with diesel engines in the open air and is willing and more than able to turn his hand to just about anything that needs doing around here - fencing, building repairs and maintenance, lighting, and of course tractor, Land Rover and farm machinery maintenance. He has had to move back in with his parents and longs for his own space and a bit of freedom, plus some countryside and fresh air.

My possible lodger is keen to learn all these skills too but at the moment he is as clueless as I am, so hopefully we can both learn from him. There are so many jobs around here that are nothing jobs for two people but a nightmare on my own - even the ones I know how to do!!! The loader tractor, which is unreliable at the best of times, breaking down in the winter would mean that I'd be struggling to get the cattle fed and I can't keep asking my farmer friends to bale me out every five minutes. They have their own farm and families to worry about. If I had someone here I could rely on to keep the tractor running and help out in general when needed I could be much more relaxed about life, while I learn how to do all these things myself. I have looked for a tractor or vehicle maintenance course but there's absolutely nothing around here.

My possible lodger's girlfriend keeps her horse here and told me the other day that I needn't worry about being lonely anymore as I have all of them now. She went back to university today and I miss her already.

Guinness, Tammy and Morris's owner, who is a really great friend of mine, told me that her younger daughter, who is 8 years old, has started carrying a photo of Maurice to school with her. When asked why she replied that she misses him during the day, so likes to get his picture out to look at. She also gives her mum the third degree if she comes up to get them in without her "Did you put Maurice's pajamas on? Did you plait his tail up? Did he eat his tea? Is he alright?" It made me want to get back there again - to loving my horses more than anything else and letting them fill the emotional void I have. I'm still not being fair to them or giving them enough of my attention. I'm still "looking to people for the answers instead of to my horses", as Alexandra Kurland would say. She uses the phrase in a different context but, as she also says "Everything is everything else". I used to be just like that 8 year old and I want to be again, instead of this obsessive desire to be with people all of the time.

I guess the positive of this is it's giving me a real insight into what it's like to be a herd bound horse left alone with humans for some of the time. That's not very relevant with my own horses as my Dales are very independent and not very sociable with other horses - they prefer human company. That's quite tough for them at the moment as they don't get anywhere near as much of mine as they used to and I must start to turn that around, for my sake and for theirs.

Someone from Sweden emailed me today, about my blogs and my post on The Click That Teaches Discussion Group and it made me cry. She said she knows all about anxiety and depression, and feeling worthless, and that I was a hero of hers. I've had the gnawing anxiety back again a bit today, all to do with having some furniture and bric a braque taken away that I didn't even like, so I felt a bit of a fraud reading it but am very touched and humbled. She lit up a difficult day and I'm really grateful to her for everything she said and for sending me some pictures of her beautiful horses.

While the stuff was being loaded onto a lorry parked next to us I stood watching my new plumber friend repairing some guttering on a stable. I didn't think I was giving anything away about how I was feeling but, although he is usually very quiet and shy, he kept talking to me and stayed close by. He said afterwards that it must be horrible seeing things taken away. I said not horrible, just weird. I don't know him very well yet but I was very glad of his company and his insight.

Perhaps people do have some of the answers, for me, after all.


  1. I think people and horses both have some of the answers, in their own different ways - at least that's how it is for me. I look to them for different things, I think. Although for me, all in all, the horses are usually more predictable and constant!

    I like it that your Dales are different - they sound quite the personalities!

  2. Great slogan! ^-^ I love it.

    I think you are an inspiration for all of us. also you really outline that other people are important. I love horses, They help me a lot, but it is our own kind who also gives us a lot of support!

  3. Sometimes I feel like that 8 year old, other times I'm grateful not to be, to be less obsessed, less single minded.

    Loss is an ocean to sail, some days calm, others filled with waves that overturn you. On those days it's good to have other sailors who can help secure the sails and help you hold on.

  4. Helen, think the deisil savvy lodger sounds just what your set up needs, especially with winter coming on.

    Seems to me its probably in the nature of things to have anxiety blips from time to time qn a lessoning scale as time goes on.
    Good luck with the party,hope you all have a cracking good hooley!
    All Love Jx

  5. Sounds like a lodger would be a marvelous idea. He will not be there all the time; but would be there for necessary things. I told my SO there are things I can do and I will. There are things I cannot do and you will have to do them. Then there are things you nor I want to do--then we have a problem! Sometimes it takes him awhile to get things done. As for letting material things go--they are things and while they have been a part of our lives, the memories do not go away just because an item is gone. Clutter makes me crazy and sometimes I get rid of things just so I do not have to move, dust, clean or otherwise mess with them again. THAT does not extend to the horses, dogs, cats, are creating a new life for yourself. Let some of the old stuff go.

  6. Thank you all SO much. You are all so wise and intuitive that you make me feel foolish and inexperienced. I have led such a sheltered, cossetted life util now.

    The Grant of Probate arrived today and it totally floored me. It should be really good news but seeing it all in black and white, all down to me now, sink or swim, made me feel so lonely and inadequate. When you're in charge of nothing you have nothing to lose. Responsability scares me half to death, especially now there's no-one to share it with. I'm so used to sharing everything.

    I text one of my farmer friends, just asking for a bit of reassurance and he left work and came straight round here. He never does that and I felt really guilty and that I was making a big drama out of nothing, as usual. I've leant on the pair of them SO hard for the last six months and I wanted to make sure I stopped doing it. I always turn to them first and it isn't fair on them.

    I showed him the Grant and he said it made him choke a little, seeing it all official like that, an gave him a lump in his throat. He made me feel so much better and told me to talk to him whenever I need to, which is what his brother's been telling me for the last six months. He said I'd been much more than coping for over six months now and they'll always be around to help whenever they can.

    I am SO, SO lucky with my friends, both here and with you people out there. I just have to hold my nerve and keep right on taking those deep breaths until being in charge of my own destiny becomes normal and common place.

    My friend's brother text me and told me I must take it easy, not rush into anything and enjoy myself. That made me make my first post Probate decision. The solicitor, banks, DEFRA, numerous other officialdom etc. can wait until Monday, after the party, so I can concentrate on enjoying that. It's going to be huge.

    I wish you could all come!!!!

  7. I suspect everyone who goes through an emotional upheaval like you have probably wonders if their reactions are normal. And more often that not, they are. Grief, is, even with friends around you, a lonely journey. You are doing well to have come so far so quickly.

    Love the idea of a "handylodger" there. I wouldn't mind one here myself!

  8. Even through all the difficulties, Helen - I still feel that so many good things have come your way?
    Your possible lodger would be a great help, I am sure. I hope it works out.
    I believe it is sound that you need to see people. Would be worse if you isolated yourself, wouldn't it?
    I hope you had a wonderful party!

  9. Thank you both so much.

    Jean, thank you, you made me laugh with the handy lodger comment.

    HorseOfCourse, thank you and many good things have come my way, and I like myself much more now than I used to.