Horsey stuff


I do not consider myself to be a particularly “Horsey” person. I no longer ride, after a couple of hip replacements. But I do help Chrissy with looking after a couple of horses at her yard.

It started, soon after the early 2020 lockdown, with turning up and leading a horse from the box to the paddock. It was an opportunity to get out of shielding (in separate cars) and exercise Sparky. Then the job of washing out feed buckets was added.

As the seasons progressed, rugging became a normality. How many different fastenings can be put on one rug??? One year on, and the normal routine is:

Turn up. Play with Sparky in the paddock. Give half apple to “2nd horse”, give him his breakfast, check water trough (break ice, top up, etc.), de-rug or re-rug as needed.

In Winter it was more of a case of catching and leading-in or rugging up and leading out. In any case, it seems from feedback that I am more likely to catch and collar him than most, including his owner.

I have established a bond with this horse, which is why I get frustrated with his owner. Today the vet was due to trim the teeth of both horses.

Cesar’s owner not only “could not make it”, but did not even bother to inform Chrissy that the vet would be there one hour earlier than expected.

So, having rescheduled our morning, it would have been better to keep to our usual routine, but bring the lads in to the loose boxes after breakfast. But as it happened, the vet was there first and was kept waiting.

I am beginning to wonder if I do more work looking after this horse than its owner, and how much I could charge for my services.

It’s been a while.

I just noticed that my last post was three weeks ago. I have been busy doing stuff, but have not been able to summon up the enthusiasm to blog about it. I have also been over the past few months gradually slipping into a bad place mentally, but have found help and life is looking better now.

So what have I been up to?

I took a look in the shed and decided it was time to make some progress with my long-shelved game project to run a multi-player game based around a 1943 night bombing raid. So I began to refresh the painting of the fleet of 1:600 Lancasters.

Some of these have been previously varnished, and I used paint from a different manufacturer on the new batch, so there is a noticeable difference. I don’t think in the long run that this will be an issue when they are finished. I will ensure that they operate in different squadrons to explain any slight differences.

After a week of evenings working on these I moved on to preparing the ground features. These are in 1:3,000 scale. Some are home designed and printed, others are from different manufacturers.

I still have to finish writing the definitive rule set. I have played the game before in a smaller form, but I want to create an illustrated rule booklet. Some ideas have come about from further reading since the original game.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive an old photograph from a friend of myself at the annual King’s Army parade in London from some time in the 1990s.

I still have the hat, suit and cloak, but sadly not the face:

Other things taking my time recently have been the clear-out of our caravan, where I lived for three months during last year’s Covid lock-down. Unfortunately we discovered this in the wardrobe:

So off we went to the local caravan repair workshop where they specialise in damp repairs. This will probably cost us about half what we paid for the ‘van, but far less than the cost of a replacement, especially with the price hikes in these days of domestic holiday-making.

Then I started to lay a new gravel path outside the man-cave so that I don’t need to walk across the wet grass in winter. Work in progress…

We took advantage of the good weather (after snow on 12th April) and a booking at the local waste recycling centre to clear out our lock-up that we recently purchased from the former owner we were renting from. We went from this…

to this…

The white shelving on the right is now in a recycling skip and we filled the LWB Shogun with stuff to dump. We also filled the shed with stuff to go back in there when the new racking arrives and with the moveable contents of the caravan, so now I cannot even get to my paints or unpainted models. All the camping equipment is being aired, one piece at a time, in the garden.

Thus my indoor time has been spent going through old, shelved, wargaming projects and deciding whether to complete or discard. I have two shoe boxes of old notes and home-conceived rules to plough through. The one I am concentrating on is my old favourite, Operation Market Garden, which I am reviving for 3mm (1:600) scale.

As a side project I am working my way through my late dad’s collection of RAF station magazines from 1942-4. I am preparing a database of all the named people and the context in which they were mentioned. When complete I will offer it to interested parties for the use of folks researching their families. It’s going to be a long job.

Well, that’s about it for now. Until next time.

Happy Easter?

Although both of us are at home most of the time, the long Easter weekend seemed to be a chance to get the caravan cleared out and prepared in case we can use it later in the year.

It hasn’t been touched since I moved out after 3 months’ occupation during the first isolation last year. I cleaned the bathroom, but apart from emptying the dehumidifier weekly nobody has been in there.

First we emptied everything out. How can the contents of a caravan fill a house?? Next every item is being washed, scrubbed, scraped or replaced if simply too bad, while all the surfaces and interiors are getting a deep clean. Despite the dehumidifier mildew has appeared.

We had three batteries, one installed. Two are completely dead and the third in reasonably good condition. We’ll need a spare.

When the inside is up to the memsahib’s standard we will need to drag it out of its corner and give the outside a thorough going over. Then we might unpack the cover we bought two years ago…

Incidentally we have also harrowed and re-seeded two one-acre paddocks over the weekend. Now it is snowing.