Yesterday a nine hour round trip to collect Lamanver Odyssey from Somerset. The Defender is more comfortable when towing a load but despite that the journey was way too much for my back.

She is so-named because the stud manageress refers to her mother( Lamanver Homerun) as Homer and Homer wrote the Odyssey which Meriam Webster free dictionary defines as a long wandering or voyage usually marked by many changes of fortune. It seems perfect for a filly doing so well until found terribly lame in a stable for no discernible reason, who was put on “box rest”  for 12 weeks only to go stir-crazy half-way into “the sentence”,rear violently and come down on her pelvis.Then get back up on her feet cured! Now home for summer grazing.

The number of roadworks on the A30 and M5 increases almost daily. The 50mph carriageway restrictions are well-laid out and it is perversely pleasant to see everybody sticking to the speed limit. There is no choice since no room to overtake.But the stretch at the very end of the M5 still has 50mph signs which are ignored by everybody. There are no roadworks at that point,the signs have been there for months -almost forgotten. Nobody local takes any notice, But it must be frustrating if you are visiting from afar and conscientiously slow down only to see others screaming past .I stuck to 60 since “haulin hoss” .

This morning I watched Channel 4 Morning Line. Depressing to hear Jamie Lynch stating that he and some other Racing Post Timeform pundits had “laid off” a horse they owned which I thought meant betting against it to all intents and purposes. Which I thought was disallowed under the Rules of Racing.Glad they got stuffed when it won under a young conditional jockey.French prize-money increasing- note to self brush up on the French.


How strange that last night Donna mentioned casually that she had noticed a toad on the granite flagstones in the lounge earlier in the evening ! Given yesterdays blog – posted much earlier and unknown to Donna – I found that weird in a charming sort of way. Witches of course use various frog and newt parts in their spells.Toad as well I imagine! Am I being watched? Can I summon help in the betting market next week when Lady of Lamanver races over hurdles for the first time? Or is Donna onto my blog.

So that visitor was unexpected. Less so the Retired Professor who delivered a local newsletter this morning. He told me his name when he first came to the farm but I only remember that he is a retired professor of quantum mechanics I think he said. He is unnervingly bright; he denied any knowledge of horses then described one as having noticeably long canon bones. I had to be told that three times before I could just about convince myself I could see it and here comes RP and notices it at a casual glance. Perhaps it’s his mechanical eye. However I think he is slightly adrift in the common sense disciplines because the real purpose of his visit I think was to announce that he is considering running for UKIP. I think fear of failure has him trying to test the water. Certainly we are a VERY marginal seat; George Eustice won for the Tories last time with a majority of 66 which the Retired Prof convinced me today is really only a majority of 33.If one party has 100 votes and another party has 34 the majority is 66 but a swing of 33 would bring both to 67 he explained. So I conceded that. But apart from Nigel Farage UKIP are a bunch of outspoken fools and racists I countered. Maybe, but they are honest and he emphasised the word honest and for that they surpass the current parties who tell you what you want to hear not what they are thinking.And he has a point. Honesty has gone out of politics and we have barely noticed it.So he went on his rounds with encouragement from me. Just for the record my exact words were “I would never vote for a candidate who I considered dishonest”. But he has got me thinking.

As he left he noticed a spirit level and some tools next to a horse trailer in the yard. “Make sure the trailer is level to the ground before you fit those shelves!” Too late – so that’s me sorted out for the rest of the morning. Level the trailer then refit the shelves. They look OK but once it’s pointed out that sort of thing niggles.

“Toodle Pip” said the Prof

“Don’t you mean Toodle UKIP?” says I . No response. So it must have been quantum mechanics. There’s no room for humour in all that dark matter.


A Visitor

The unexpected visitor remains- in most cases anyway and I include the Retired Professor – a welcome interruption to the routines of life around horses.And if ahead of the routines a chance to down tools from the repair and servicing that soaks up the remainder of short winter days.And sometimes these are the briefest interludes.The fox passing across the paddock in front of me as I write (not always welcome and not always unexpected). The heron that once chose to walk up the lawn from the pond with a strut of such purpose that I never fathomed. The red deer that appeared one late summers evening and was gone again at dawn.

And today a newt.Found by Donna on one of the stable floors looking slightly dry and probably disturbed by my hammer drilling in the stable.Living in one of the old stone walls I imagine.So you may say not a true visitor passing through. Just a visitor to our daily life. And only the third newt seen in 22 years. The other two episodes bizarrely on the granite flagstones in our lounge, years apart but  on both occasions a lone newt passing across the floor from one wall to another.Those sightings had  suggested a low population doomed to extinction at least on the farm. But today I am reminded that Nature does not let go easily.And that a lot goes on in those walls that we never see.

And I am reminded also that we are long-overdue a visit by Archie Springer. Last seen late-summer by David setting out for a convention on The Lizard. He is usually back for the daffodil picking and that is well underway. I shall make inquiries.