Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Plus Two, Minus One....

A week on from the last blog and we have two new arrivals. The second to arrive was (predictably, and to celebrate the Royal wedding) called William, luckily for him born a colt

The third, who I was lucky enough to see being born is another filly - called Belle. Her arrival was particularly exciting as she is the offspring of our stallion Tom, and therefore a really special addition to the stud. She is very leggy!!

The horse walker is coming on, Neil has now changed his wood supplier as he has been waiting so long for his order (he ordered all his wood on Feb 14th) So he is hoping to get this finished and move back onto the roof for the workshop.

Our young stallion Ugo has been away at the National Stud in Limoges having a bit of training from their handlers, which sounds like it involves either a paddle of wood or a piece of thick hose pipe to gain a bit of respect from the youngsters. My boss asked the head horseman there if he liked our stallion "With chips, yes" was his reply.

Sadly we lost one of our yearlings a couple of days ago. He was a lovely chestnut colt called Alfie. He developed severe colic and after a night of struggling to control it with the local farm vet my boss took him down to the specialist vet hospital in Bordeaux. They operated on him and found he had a twisted gut, which they removed along with a large section of intestine. After a few days though he got an infection and although there was a chance to save him with another operation (albeit only a 3% chance) it was decided it was kinder to put him down. Such a shame for such a lovely character.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Meet Katie - our new arrival at work. She was born at about 1.30 am on Thursday morning, a week late but healthy and full of life. I was trying to upload a video of her but it didn't work, so I hope you enjoy the photo

The workshop progress has come to a halt as Neil is waiting for the wood delivery for the roof. He is now building the wood structure for the horse walker at work, which is another interesting bit of geometry so is causing him yet more brain ache!!!

During the week my friend Jane came over with her Mum Audrey who is visiting from Yorkshire. We had a few glasses of wine before she gave me an impromptu yorkshire pudding masterclass!!!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Blossom and Beams

I love this time of year - the countryside just explodes with colour and the trees are all heavy with blossom. Neil thought our apple tree wasn't going to produce any blossom this year - two weeks later it spectacularly proved him wrong

Yesterday we had to get a beam in across the top of the doorway of the workshop. It had to be as straight as possible as Neil will be hanging garage doors into the opening. It also had to be as strong as possible to support the stone that will be sat on top of it.

The best beam Neil could find was an old oak beam. Great for the purpose as they are the strongest type of wood, but with that they are hugely dense and therefore really heavy (sounds like me!!!).

Neil and I decided to use the mini digger to take the majority of the weight, and used ropes and the arm of the digger to lift it.

It all went really well and with a bit of shoving and heaving it dropped down into place.

The last couple of days I have been busy in the garden. Everything is growing like it is on steroids and everywhere you go you can hear sit on mowers, chain saws and hedge trimmers in action. I probably should concentrate more on the house. My lack of ability in the housekeeping department was bought sharply into focus when I returned home after my night out in Limoges to find that the friend that Neil had been entertaining for the evening had written 'thank you' in the dust on the tv!! Oh well, you can't do everything!!!

Saturday, 9 April 2011


For those avid workshop watchers here are todays photos!!!

Neil has added the beams to make it blend in a bit more with the house. The wall along the road will be faced with the stone and the rest will be rendered hopefully the same colour as the pointing.

Symphonie Equestre

Last night I was treated by Dutch bird and my boss to a night out at the Zenith (concert venue) in Limoges to see the 'Symphonie Equestre' a colourful and interesting blend of dressage, dancers and an orchestra. I have found a video on You Tube so that you can see, not great quality but the official video had adverts on that I couldn't be bothered to sit through...

There were some wonderful horses, and although not at quite the level of the Spanish Riding School or the Cadre Noir I really enjoyed it.

It's quite an experience when we (rarely) get out in the evenings and see that there is a bit of 'life' in this region. Driving through our local villages at night it is like the Marie Celeste - deserted after 7pm at night. People at the stadium had mobile phones and everything!!!!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

The castration of Sarkozy

Today I leant on Sarkozys' head whilst he was being castrated.
Not the President of France, but a donkey that my dutch friend (we call her dutch bird) managed to aquire whilst buying a spreader for her tractor.
He is three years old and very cute - although his feet are in a shocking state.

Today the vet came to 'do the deed' so that he can be trained and become a riding donkey for her three year old daughter. As dutch bird is pregnant her husband was in charge of holding the ropes that tethered Sarkozys legs (they call him Sarky for short - the donkey not DB's husband) and I leant on Sarkys drugged up head to keep him as still as possible.

The vet laughed when we told him the donkeys name, although he did say that 80% of farm animals now have the same name - a mark of respect do you think?!!

During the course of the operation I told the vet about a paramedic colleague of mine who went out to a chap who had tied a shoe lace around his testicles and then to the end of the bed to 'heighten' his sensation whilst he made love to his girlfriend. In the heat of passion he fell off the bed, ripping off both his testicles which sat on the floor looking like a couple of lychee apparently. His main concern seemed to be as to whether his wife would find out, to which my colleague pointed out that it wuld probably be quite obvious to her...

The vet then said he had been called out by the fire brigade, who had had a call to a house where a man had come home to his wife who was in bed with their german shepherd. The german shepherd had mounted the wife and was now locked into position and the fire brigade wanted the vet to come as apparently the dog was highly aggitated and ferocious.
"Hadn't he finished?!" I asked the vet...........

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Here are some pics of progress on the workshop. Neil has been working like a man possessed, even more so now that the clocks changing has given us an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day.
Last friday I took a pint of beer out and demanded that he downed tools as it was dark and we had been invited out that evening.

It's a big structure and the roof design is continually giving Neil sleepless nights - it's a very large span and we've had a lot of advice, but every time Neil has a fixed idea of what he is doing someone comes along with another idea or suggestion that throws a spanner in the works.

He finally has a plan now that he is going to have to get on with as the roof needs to go on soon.

In the garden every time you turn around the grass has grown another 5 inches and I have begun to wage war with the nettles that grow everywhere around the land. Apart from using some for nettle fertiliser I am going to nuke them all with something that is probably terrible for the environment, but it has to be done. For once it would be nice to get on top of things in the garden, but hey - it's Spring - we all start with good intentions don't we!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Spring is in the air

I noticed the first swallow flying around this morning and all the blossom and spring flowers are looking amazing. The sun came out today after a few miserable days - it really lifts your mood.

Today one of my jobs at work was to give stallion Ugo a bit of a spruce up. Ugo is the stallion I normally refer to as 'little shit' as he can be so temperamental. He is coming up to three years old now and maturing into a fine looking beast.

After his shower he went under the heat lamps to dry off. I could do with some of these myself!!

We are in a state of high excitement as these two are due to foal any day now (well the 7th, but technically it could be at any time) so we have been making sure the foaling boxes are ready for action

Here is Judith making sure that this one is suitably comfortable

I nearly had a dicky fit this morning when I walked out of my house this morning and noticed Lenny in his new viewpoint - can you spot him?!!!