massey ferguson outside dad’s

there is something very lovely about old tractors….

where my dad lives at west barn, there are a number of working vintage tractors dotted around the village and they are so quaint.

ford tractor parked down the road from my dad’s house

I love the simplicity of the shapes and workings and they look so charming, it is easy to see how they can easily become characters in children’s stories.

MF looking in a bit better condition at Deeping show

since my tentative first ventures on pinterest about a year ago (thank you V, it is as inspiring as it is addictive), I have found lots of pinners who have boards where they obsessively collect some fantastic images of certain things. Some are boards full of shoes, some are dogs, others are wedding dresses but there are other somewhat strange souls out there who also like things like tractors, gates and barns.

a blue tractor looking well looked after at Aylsham show

I thought I was on my own, but my weirdness keeps company.

in the leicestershire hills

JC’s godson, Henry has a major obsession about tractors and particularly John Deere.  He’s allowed, and it’s not weird cos he’s little.

Most of the others are american pinners who have my strange taste but the images are fabulous

Even if you don’t love a good vintage tractor, you have to admit they are nice things to look at

the sweet spot

that’s it, right there

Max has itchy skin because of his allergies and often when people stroke him they think they have found that special spot that all dogs have that make them scratch involuntarily.

Unfortunately for Max it is usually just his poor overly sensitive skin reacting to the touch and immediately becoming itchy.


His skin is pretty good at the moment and his allergies aside, Max, like all dogs does actually have a sweet spot; that strange unique area that makes legs move involuntarily, faces gurn like toothless gnarls and his body squirm like a snake pit when you get onto it.

yes, go on!

Max’s sweet spot is at the base of his tail and he pulls the funniest faces when you find it.

ooh ooh

It is endlessly entertaining to see such ecstasy especially when he can suffer so much.

I swear his eyes glaze over with the sheer joy of it.

right there

If you happen to be the person he is sitting on when he is treated to this ‘massage’ of sorts, his claws start digging in, his torso goes rigid, his head goes back and he starts licking his lips.


It is very funny and he will stay in this position for as long as you care to keep it up.

my favourite kind of house guest


One of my friends, Caroline, who I met dog walking (in the dark one winter morning I might add) has just been on holiday with her family (Nat and Drew).  Well, technically, she’s been on holiday with most of her family! There’s one member who stayed at home to keep order. We were lucky enough that he stayed home and took his own ‘holiday’ with us.

His name is Bosley and he is a very, very sweet and lovely black labrador.

‘sharing’ a bed…..

Although Bosley and Max have had their moments (mostly, I hasten to add, they have actually been Max’s moments!) they get along fine and I think there is a love of sorts there. They have been very settled and happy together this week.

Max definitely takes advantage of Bosley’s good nature and is sometimes just a bit mean to him. He takes stuff like toys from Bosley. Why does Max do it?…… because he can…….. and because Boz just goes ‘whatevs’….. I AIN’T BOVVERED!’

if I keep a paw on the bed, does that still count?

It’s a bit of a shame, though, because Max is mostly an un terrier like terrier. What I mean by that is that he isn’t yappy or snappy, doesn’t bite or cause trouble and is pretty laid back, loving and great fun.

It would be easy to say ‘nut up’ Boz but no one, including Caroline wants Bosley to ‘nut up’. He’s just perfect the way he is.

I have a soft spot for black labs and Max nearly was one (if you know what I mean!!) so Bosley comes to us with an already built in affection for him. I loved him a bit before cos he’s a lab, I loved him a bit before because he is a sweety, now I love him heaps because he is Bosley!!

He was with us on ‘holiday’ for a week and I didn’t want him to go home.

favourite sleeping place number 1

There is no doubt he missed Caroline, Natalie and little Drew but I’d like to think he has enjoyed his temporary home this week. Max and he quickly settled into a nice chilled out way with each other, they slept close, they played lots and they both seemed to enjoy the doggy distraction each other’s company offered.

JC hadn’t spent any time with Bosley prior to his holiday but he has clearly taken a real shine to Bosley (you couldn’t fail to to be honest) and has spent a lot of time playing with him and Max, he has kept up their command training and made sure they behaved. He’s loved it.  Affection from Bosley involves a lot of licking that is practically a shower, but it is very funny and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Bosley takes up quite a bit more space than Max but he is so well behaved and a complete pleasure to have around. He has found his favourite places in our home quite quickly. One of them is the pond which is just a big mucky puddle to him and he likes those, another one is sleeping on the edge of Max’s bed and the other is right by the oven (just in case……..).

I’ll just settle here in case you need my help…….

We’ve done the usual ‘stupid o’clock’ walks in the morning near darkness, we’ve played, encouraged tricks and had big cuddles in front of the fire.  This is all the normal stuff we do with Max but Bosley has slotted in and become part of it. It has been fantastic.

He’s home now and I think he is happy to be home. Hopefully we are lucky enough to have him stay again.

paralympics 2012

anish kapoor’s ‘helter skelter’

Today is the very last days of the Olympics and the Paralympics in London for the year 2012. It has been incredibly exciting and I feel very emotional about the amazing achievement of the olympians; especially the paralympians!!!

Having been frustrated at not being able to get tickets for the olympics, our friends Caroline & Natalie gave us 2 tickets for the Goalball on Thursday the 6th September 2012.

goalball – china vs finland

The day pass that it comes with meant we could enter the Olympic Park at any time from 9am but I had to go to a site meeting first and couldn’t get there until just before the event started at 1.30pm.

JC couldn’t make it because of last minute work commitments so my friend Sam stepped up when I offered her the ticket (I’d have stood in the park and shouted for any takers rather than waste it).

We met at Stratford and quickly took in the scenes of the park before we headed for the Copper Box to watch China and Finland fight it out in the women’s Goalball quarter final. It is very quiet in the stadium to allow the athletes to hear the rattle in the heavy ball that they pass across the pitch aiming at the goal beyond the 3 olympians trying to stop it hitting the back of the net. The girls have to hurl themselves onto the floor to stop the ball!! Ouch!!

brazil’s blind 5 a-side football team

China won and although we could have stayed to watch the next match, we had seen the LCD screens announcing that there were seats available for day pass holders to go and watch the mens blind 5 a-side football.  So off we went to the Lakeside Arena and watched Brazil beat Argentina on penalties (Brazil eventually went on to win gold on Saturday, yey!!).

argentina’s team making their way to the pitch

It’ remarkable to watch people (it happened to be men) who can see nothing whilst running around a pitch, dribbling a ball and performing tackles with skill and complete control. There are clashes and a few awkward misses but that happens in any game of football. The players have a guide on the sideline who shouts directions to them, the goal keeper is sighted and they also have a guide behind the goal to give them some aiming and positioning tips.

jefinho & ricardihno

Something else that struck me is that there is no stupid egotistical reaction to tackles or a bump. When it happens, it is a fact and they just get over it and get on with it. But better than that is how lovely everyone involved is with each other. I appreciate that they need to help each other for obvious reasons. Aside from the fact that they are playing the game without sight, it is a team sport and team players help each other, that’w what a team is. But watching how far this needs to go, I think we’d all benefit significantly from needing to put our own needs aside and concentrating on the needs of another (and I mean outside the parameters of parenting, marriage, friendship and all of the situations where we might already do that). It was very moving to watch.

brazil celebrating the win

a paralympians celebrating the weird!!

Having become very excited by the mens blind 5 a-side football, Sam & I went in pursuit of another event and hopefully a new venue. As luck would have it, the basketball arena was the venue for GBR vs France’s final stages of ‘Murderball’. We got food and a drink and then settled into our seats. I have to admit to knowing nothing about murderball except that someone made a film about it in about 1978.

The LED score board at tehe paralympics

In the warm up the rules, the players grading and the scoring was all explained and the chairs used for each positions was also described in detail.  It all sounded interesting enough and the team line up was already whizzing around psyching themselves up by this point. It was undoubtedly a charged atmosphere and it was becoming infectious.  We were surrounded by spectators who were clearly already supporters of the sport and new the line up and their obvious excitement was easy to catch.

When the play finally started, I was immediately hooked by it and fell in love with the sport and the sportsmen.

team GB murderball team prepare for the came against france

It is exciting, tactical, fast, skilled and completely compulsive.  I was on my feet, hollering, arms in the airs, wooping and eventually crying. I was completely blown away. Team GB won which was great (there is no doubt that supporting an event for your own country can’t be beaten) and although their final ranking was eventually 5th and outside the medals, I enjoyed watching the play tremendously.

We didn’t leave straight after the joys of wheelchair rugby and sat at the picnic benches outside the athletics stadium and soaked up the crowd’s noise in the ‘field of dreams’.

In all, it was a marvellous life changing experience. I came home feeling elevated and inspired with a few new sporting heroes.

burghley horse trials

Sinead Halpin on Lan Franco TSF (USA)

It is that time of year again, when our wedding anniversary is coming, so are our annual holidays and also The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials arrive.

We went off the Burghley again for another visit this morning and it was a treat as always.

This year, the Olympics have made it EVEN more popular than it normally is and the event has been lucky with the weather when some of the earlier ‘summer’ events have been rained off.

Polly Stockton on Westward Mariner for the UK

Uk’s Polly Stockton on Westward Mariner

The first day of september was not a disappointment and it was scorching today.

We started, as we usually do by paying a visit to friends of ours who have a stand here every year. They sell the most fantastic and unusual items for your home and garden.  Amorosa is a really interesting company who not only sell to the public but supply to the restaurant world be they old wine & olive pots, fossil sculptures, ammonites, garden mirrors, garden wall plaques, wooden stools, stone owls & sconces, moroccan and African artifacts or a number of other fascinating objects you just won’t find anywhere else, they are completely unique. A visit to their stand and a good chat is a great start to our day at Burghley.

Debuit ridden by Regis Proud Hon for France

Onward for a quick but short shop. JC got a new Barbour Corbridge jacket (lovely), we got some great spices from Fox’s Spices who do mail order as well as having an FB page & I bought an absolutely gorgeous merino wool blanket for our sofa from So Cosy.  It’s disgraceful for me to buy this as I can make it myself or indeed my mum could but this is such a perfect shade of charcoal grey and is so huge that it would take me forever and probably cost loads more so I had to buy it.

burghley course 2012

A spot of picnic lunch on a blanket in the sun, a nana nap and we were ready to take in the main event so we got ourselves off to a good spot by the Elephant Trap jump number 5.

Inonothing ridden by Paul Tapner of NZ

The sun came out and everyone was in a good mood. Along with that came lots of support for the competitors, most of whom had already recently performed in the olympics. And they had all done brilliantly. The USA’s Sinead Halpin was first at the end of today with only one day of eventing left and dressage etc behind her.  Who knows who will be the overall winner but there are some faces that appear every time; Mary King & William Fox Pitt (I’m sure he threatens to retire every year!). No Zara Phillips this year but  Captain Mark Phillips designs the course so I suppose she is still represented in a way.

Mary King on King’s Temptress

Where we were sitting gave us the opportunity to watch the riders come down the drop jump that is The Leaf Pit jump 4 into the open before going over jump 5 and turning 90 degrees right onto the rest of the course.

Alison Springer on Arthur IV for the USA

Each rider took it differently, and the jumps varied enormously from calm and relaxed, to nervy and reluctant or bold and aggressive. One thing that united them, though was that look ahead to see what is coming once the jump is safely negotiated.

The jockies and the eventing horses are so incredible. Big crowds, barking dogs, giggling little ones or cars racing by don’t interrupt their concentration and they are totally focussed on the job in hand.

USA’s Kate Hicks on Belmont

The only time I saw this change, was when England’s Francis Whittington came by on Sir Percival III and a large and very friendly but loud girls shouted her name in support.

It raised a giggle and a smile from the crowd and a grin from Francis as she sped by.

The atmosphere was very relaxed and lovely.