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.......

Sunday, 13 December 2009

My Christmas Present to Myself.

I've been feeling a bit odd for the last few days. Christmas was never going to be easy and, as I told my farmer friends, I've decided that the only way to tackle it is to "throw myself into the spirit with gusto, or should that be Bisto?". Luckily for me they are always there, at the end of a text message, to give me something to laugh out loud over. They used to think I was looking for sympathy but know me so well now that they know thats the last thing I want! I just want to be reassured that everything is fine and normal, and I'm only ever looking for distraction from my thoughts and something to laugh about, and they always come up trumps. I still couldn't manage without the pair of them.

My Manitou was collected by a lovely man on Tuesday and I went to supervise the loading. The man I bought it from has become a good friend and is coming over for a meal with the man who collected my bull for me, who is an old friend of his. It's such a small world!

I really love my Manitou. It's the first vehicle I've ever bought and I'm getting to grips with it really quickly, and driving it makes me feel confident and capable. It's a vast improvement on the loader tractor and much more suited to the jobs I need to get done. I got a huge grain bucket with it, which I've parked outside the barn to muck out into. It holds 2 days worth and saves on pushing wheelbarrows through mud, and as I'm mucking out up to 10 a day at the moment it helps no end.

I also got a grapple, a bale squeezer and pallet fork tines thrown in with the machine. I told you that the previous owner is now a good friend of mine!!!! Here are some photos:
On the low loader ready for the 25 mile journey home:

Back home:

I've also taken up a new sport, in an effort to get fitter for vaulting.
I'm trying to talk other people into joining me but failing dismally at the moment!!! I bought a harness at the local feed store today and they are alfriends of mine there. They asked what it was for and when I told them they'd all heard of it but when I asked them all if any of them fancied giving it a go I was deafened by the yells of "NO!!!" I get the feeling that they all think I'm sweet and harmless but more than a little crazy!!!!!!

I tried it for the first time tonight, firstly just with my Golden Retriever, Sophie, who is far too polite and won't pull, os then I tried using a pair, adding Meggie in, and that was a big improvement in pulling power. I'm going to try using Flora as well tomorrow.

I'm also being given a multi trainer by a friend and I'm trying to buy a cheap rowing machine on eBay, to improve my upper body strength over the winter. I'm also looking for a Pool table so my young lodger can teach me and my friends to play. I hate having nothing to do in these long, dark evenings and the more people there are here the happier I am.

My vaulting roller is a bit too short so I need to find some straps to extend it a little. I've been riding Bella and Grace and doing a little with Kate (who will now walk along with me just about anywhere totally at liberty. She reminds me of Bella at that age so much) and Jack as and when I can. Crystal will have to wait until the Spring and for longer days.

My article was published, with two photos, and I've had loads of favourable comments about it. I'll put a link to it when it goes into the magazine archives.

I'm feeling much more confident and more positive for the increase in exercise and for beginning to master my Manitou. I've got so much energy at the moment I wear everyone else out and they're all younger than me!!!

I was going to cancel the dating agency membership, as going on it makes me feel a bit unhinged and out of control, but I guess it's only talking to people after all, and I love to do that, so I'll let it run until the end of the month but I won't rejoin after that. I think that my life probably does have everything I really need now and looking for even more seems a bit greedy somehow!


  1. Dear Helen. Please, please do not throw yourself at the mercy of internet dating. That can be so disasterous and dangerous. If you want to use the internet to connect with people; wander through the blogs. There are so many interesting people out there in all kinds of interests. I regularly talk to dressage people, appaloosas, farriers, cooks, just everything. I know I am in the States and all that; but you can accesss them, too. They can help you be less lonely and feeling isolated. Funny, wonderful people. If you want some connections, let me know your e-mail and I will send some for you. Your Manitou looks fabulous. We have a Bobcat which is a much smaller version but just as effective. Sure beats man-handling all that stuff, especially poop. Straw and poop is the heaviest and the worst. Keep a smile on and keep on going. Life does get better.

  2. I just noticed my name came up colored; so click on it and then peruse some of the blogs I subscribe to and meet new friends!

  3. phaedra96, thank you! You are a lovely, sweet, kind person. Thank you so very much for your lovely words and for caring.

  4. Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving that sweet message. It made me feel a lot better. :)

    We actually sound a lot alike, as for always wanting something to do and having people around. Winter is agony for me because it's hard to motivate myself to get up and out of the house when the weather is so bad.

    I like the new Manitou, but it would terrify me to operate it! Yikes!

    I would definitely try the CaniX with you if we lived near one another. I love walking (sometimes jogging) with my dogs, but don't like to go alone. My husband works too much to go with me, especially in the winter.

    You're actually making me feel more motivated to get back into shape. :) I do have an exercise bike so I could at least do that indoors, but I need to work on strength training and that is so tedious and boring lol. Good luck finding someone to do the CaniX thing with you. It sounds like fun. :)

  5. Sweet and harmless? ROFL !!! You are bonkers! Okay in my office somewhere burried there is a plan on how to build a round-pen, I will photocopy it and post it to you, it will be my christmas present. No I cannot scan and email it because for some reasons, or computer does not do THAT job ... go figures. Please email me you address on my gmail account. I post everything ASAP.

  6. That is one impressive machine! You are going to have such fun using it!! Enjoy.

  7. WOW,What a machine.
    Most people buy a small car for their first purchase - you, a manitou!!

  8. Thank you so much everyone. You are all so kind and, Muriel, you made me laugh out loud - thank you so uch for that!!! In my defense I don't think that sweet and harmless and being bonkers are mutually exclusive, luckily for me and for my friends!!!!!!!!!

    Hilary - a small car would be SO boring and I like to hope that I can never be accused of being that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. A small car would be of absolutely no use to you whatsoever. Hurrah for the Manitou!!!!

  10. Wow, I am seriously impressed by the Manitou. As to the Cani-X, sounds like great fun - in Alaska people use dogs in cross country skiiing - they call it skijoring. I'd be out skate skiing and these people would bomb past at incredible speeds!

    If you want a rowing machine, would you be interested in a cross country skiing machine? I have a really good ski machine but we don't really have the space to have it up all the time and I'd hate for it to go to the tip. If you're keen, let me know and you can have it.

    I am only just back from an intensive training course so just catching up !