Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Horses again

Sometimes I spend time wondering if I should have a horse and thinking about life without a horse, like my life was for the 9 years I didnt have one. In that time I walked away from the BS politics that typically come with a stable yard, the expense of owning that horse and the expenses of having all the "stuff" for that horse.... the stuff that seems never ending...
Its starts with tack and a grooming kit and quickly moves on to fancy show tack, show gear for you, a trailer, a Jeep to pull that trailer. Countless saddle pads (numnahs to the Brits) and other stuff like pessoas and lungelines and dressage whips and fancier saddle pads with names embroidered on it and the best of the best boots like the Eskadron tendon boots that Pebbles wore.

This time around I am trying hard to resist the "stuff" purchases getting out of control. Ace has one saddle and one bridle, I borrowed a white saddle pad for the last show and a borrowed Pelham so I didnt end up in the dust again due to his romping between fences. I so far have managed to steer clear of trailer ownership (although I would LOVE one) and the required towing truck which Paul wants badly anyway.
I am buying secondhand stuff and trying my hardest to ignore the beautiful breeches that are worn by everyone else and the Charles Owen helmets that seem to be the "in thing" here. It was a big deal to buy myself beige breeches at all and I still am in my old jacket that now needs new buttons.

If I try to stay grounded and remember how much I love it and how much I dont NEED all that stuff, I am fine.
Heres a photo from last weeks show where we came second overall in combined 2'6" hunter and 3rd in the stake class which earned us $24 :-)
I so love this horse

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Remember when you badly wanted everything that you now have

The UK seems to be really going through the wringer the last few months what with London x 2 now and Manchester. All tragedies, all affecting people who are now living with loss, painful loss. And now its a country with guidance along the lines of "run, hide, tell". I was a child who grew up in the era of the IRA but this feels beyond that to me. That was normal to me (sadly) at age 5. "Run, hide, tell" is guidance that I never thought I would witness there, and I never want to accept as "normal".

So, this morning on my way to work whilst pondering the minor aggravations that are a normal part of (everyones) day I was brought up short by remembering a meme I saw recently that  I cannot, of course, find now. In short it said, and I cant recall it precisly

"Remember when you badly wanted everything that you now have"

I remember when I would walk to meet the person picking me up for my first job (couldnt drive then and had no car) and in that walk would wish that I lived in Canada, in a Canadian home, drove a VW Golf (a red Golf, was the wish at that time in 1991) in a job I loved, married to a great man with children that I adore.
Well, I have all that, and more....
I live in Canada, have a Golf (its grey but meh I love it), a husband I adore, two girls I am so proud of and love more than anything, a Canadian house, a job I love, a swimming pool (that was beyond 90s dreaming), my horse, dogs and cats, my health, my friends and extended family..... Everyday I live this life.
That means I have to put it all into perspective and be damned grateful and stop focusing on the small shit.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Its hot, as promised

Yesterday I drove home with 32C registering on my car outside temp. Todays its 28C again.
Love it.
I dont even mind the June bugs that much, as long as you dont turn a light on you can almost pretend they arent there. Mosquitos are of course not that easy to remove from mind and body.
Its the Friday before the long Victoria Day weekend and I have many plans for the weekend including dogs, horse, pool preparation, spring cleaning and glorious fresh air.

Happy Friday

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Hot on Thursday! Plus working on flow.

Wildly excited by the weather forecast because its promising this on Thursday:
29C feels like 35C! The fact that its 6C outside and grey is of no concern to me at all due to the promise of Thursday.
Bring it!
I had a great jumping lesson on Ace at the weekend. One of my horsey goals this year is to jump a flowing round. The kind that almost has a John Williams score dedicated to it.
The weekend before when we returned to jumping I nearly died of exhaustion after the third jump so was feeling frankly alarmed at the prospect of completing 8 jumps in the show at the end of May.
So I requested another jumping lesson.
Well, it was like night and day. Ace was super excited, coughing a bit at the start (gggrrrrrr I hate this ROA, it gives me anxiety) but he cleared that like an old man and then had some major energy and it was almost flowing, it was definately better.
I of course didnt get photographic evidence (I never get the good stuff) but below is my exhaustion weekend, they were tiny jumps. I am pleased to be able to report in that the weekends lesson had a 3 footer in it.

Thursday, 11 May 2017


  • Eating - overnight oats with bananas, coconut and pineapple seem to have become my breakfast staple, what I will do when I grow tired of it is a worry.
  • Waiting - for my friend to have her baby, shes currently in labour with her first, exciting times!
  • Wondering - if it will ever stop fecking raining. This May feels like our first ever June here, rain, rain, rain, rain. Ugh.
  • Watching - the duck thats resident with her eggs in a planter in the parking lot at work. We are all set with a ramp for her to lead the babies down when they are ready to leave and flags so she can cross the road. I have no idea why shes picked that spot but apparently its her second year.
  • Drinking - coffee without sugar, yep thats still working out.
  • Riding - working hard on our flow in jumping this year. I keep being congratulated by 20 somethings on how well its going. I cant keep banging on about how good I used to be at this, before they were even born or were in nappies. Ugh again.
  • Working out - going through the Hammer and Chisel program and LOVING IT.
  • On an economy drive - credit card stays at home unless required for gas or groceries as we put everything through it for the airmiles. To say I feel vulnerable is an understatement but its making me be more organized (I actually have to look at the gas gauge now so not to be surprised when I suddenly get the warning beep). Its also good to be in control!
  • Down - 7 inches all over - woop woop. Got aways to go still but on it.
  • Looking forward to - my father in laws visit at the end of June. Love it when he comes to stay. Oh and the heat bring back the damn heat!!!
  • Cant wait - it to stop raining! Stop raining!!!!

Happy Thursday y'all (I have a hankering to be Texan)

Monday, 8 May 2017

movie locations and other cool places to visit

Growing up in the eighties I became a big fan of the horror movies of that time. I have fond memories of ordering Poltergiest from the video shop one afternoon with the my best friend in the summer holidays and watching in a darkened room, with snacks, behind the requisite cushion. Then going out in the bright sunlight to the park and analysing every scene as to how much could be based on a true story.

I also liked The Shining, Halloween (1978 movie), IT, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Amityville, Duel etc etc
I still havent summoned up the courage to watch "The Texas Chainsaw massacre" but I have to watch it.

Anyway, today in my lunchbreak I found this rather cool website:
where the website owner has tracked down a ton of movie locations and posted then and now shots with helpful maps.

When I retire we have to go on an enormous road trip to visit all this plus where ET was shot and Centralia in PA. Centralia is an odd place and one which won my curiosity courtesy of Bill Brysons book "A walk in the woods". It's a town thats had an out of control underground fire thats been burning for years and years and cannot be stopped as its in a coalseam. You can still visit it although the road is now closed and see where smoke is quietly coming out of the ground. Apparently a few stubborn residents still live there as they refused to leave, even though their basement walls are warm. Beats me why anyone would do that...

Friday, 5 May 2017

Meet Kennedy

I have just realised that I have been amiss at posting about our newest baby.
Meet Kennedy. Shes is Misty cats baby sister, we lost Misty squirrel cat back in October.
Mistys mama had her last litter of kittens and despite feeling a little overloaded with animals we couldnt turn down an opportunity to have a Misty sibling.

Kennedy has now been with us for about 3 weeks. Shes named after Kennedy Space Centre which was where we were on the day the kittens were born.

Shes pretty darn cute frankly. Shes a real people cat adoring all cuddles and time with people. She snuggles as much as she can, runs like crazy all over the place and climbs legs. The dogs adore her and Oreo tolerates her. I am so hopeful that Oreo will soon feel the love.

The day she arrived and started camping out in Chloes room.

Spot the kitten in this photo.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

evening light in trees

Yesterday at the barn whilst I was hanging out with a grazing Ace (after a particularly good return to jumping session) I noticed the light on all the still bare trees was looking amazing. Of course, I had no camera at that specific time but I did manage to capture this about 10 minutes later:
The little baby leaves are creating the perfect green halo around the tips whilst the rest is almost silver.

I also came across this, this morning., It didnt just speak to me, but rather sang so share it I must.
And to echo all the radio stations this morning - "May the fourth be with you"
Happy Thursday

Friday, 28 April 2017

Two big events in our house-hold

Yesterday was a big day in our household. Two big milestones were achieved.
The first was that our youngest turned 10. Lily is such a mild mannered, pleasant and happy child that everyone seems to want to be her best friend. So, she has tonnes of friends and to keep them all happy, even the ones that dont get on I have agreed to have a birthday weekend (not just a birthday day). That way she can spend two days celebrating and see all her friends and everyone gets to hang with her. I am getting in copious amounts of wine to handle a house of grade 4s all weekend.
Shes also the original glitter child, loving all things from the Justice store. I love watching the way her life is unfolding for my little artist, photographer, ocean loving, purple and aqua fan, reader, young "crazy cat lady".

The second big event was that Paul and I took our Canadian citizenship tests. We had been studying and taking online tests for weeks in the lead-up to this and I fell a whole ton of trepidation on entering the exam room. It was just fine and we both passed with 100% marks (my first ever). We felt so incredibly relieved that we headed straight to Montanas for a celebratory lunch.
Next step is our ceremony and we will be Canadian - how wild is that?!!!!!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Chloe turns 13

Today my first born child, my beautiful, thoughtful, kind, considerate and funny child turns 13.
She has so much integrity in her life that it often blows me away. She also sometimes battles anxiety and the desire to hang out in her bedroom rather than get outside enough.
Shes an A student, has strong core values and often is bossy has strong leadership skills.

She loves animals, riding, reading and re-arranging her already tidy room. Shes suddenly discovered Hollister and Garage and sweaters with big price tags. She wants to be a marine biologist or a meterologist (something ologist anyway) and is already studying with her future in mind. Shes definately a planner like her mama.
Shes into horror flicks and likes the new Poltergeist (terrible compared to the original) and wants to scare herself, it takes me back to being this age when it was, for us, Nighmare on Elmstreet and Friday the 13th.
Shes adored by the whole family, including her little sister (long may the sisterly love last)

I feel fortunate to have her and every day thank my stars for my little family.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

cold again

Its cold again today, with a windchill of minus 7. Small amounts of snowfall are forecast this week. I changed my tires to summer ones on Thursday and enjoyed those couple of 22C days.
Did I mention how much I hate this time of year?!!!

Sunday, 16 April 2017

special needs pets

I don't mention our pets special needs much on here (ever?) but they do exist and cost us in vets bills.

Ace horse has COPD. Basically to the non horsey person he has asthma bought on by allergies in the Spring and Fall. Sometimes he just coughs, other times he stands there wheezing with his sides heaving as he tries to get in enough air. That's not that often but its often enough to be distressful to us both. Out comes the vet.
Right now, as its Spring and of course he's suffering he's on a dose of something new that seems to be working well (fingers crossed). Hes also on strict instructions to lose some weight so diets abound, for us both.
Winter hes perfectly fine... naturally.

Alpine dog also suffers from allergies that cause him to lick and scratch his skin on his belly. Now at 5 years old we have finally (it seems) found the winning formula of food and meds. The meds have to live in the freezer to ensure they don't smell of skunk. The new food is a win win for all of us as its actually cheaper and Duke adores it too, so hes happy with the outcome.
Through the whole time Alpines maintained a loving friendly and cheerful demeanor. I wish I could be that nice when greatly uncomfortable.

Oreo cat - she has upper respiratory infection and for the first 6 weeks of her time with us suffered greatly with cold and sinus issues as we tried to find the winning treatment. Shes been fine for a while now.

As you can imagine we are great advocates of pet insurance, and we have a close relationship with the vet.

This morning I went out to give Ace his meds and we played around a bit.
Neither of us are fans of the duck pout but gave it our best shot:
I just adore his goofy ears.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

a weekend with Danique

Last weekend we indulged in an entire Danique Henderson weekend at the barn. I say indulged because it truly is indulging. Danique is both a kick ass photographer and a natural horsemanship trainer. This weekend was for the latter. Hanging out with Danique is truly motivational.

Ace was spending the time with his other mama, Nikki who leases him 3 days a week from me and I got to spend my time with the lovely Emmy, who is now also known as Strawberry Shortcake.

Despite promising weather forecasts it remained way too chilly for my liking but it didnt dampen our spirits too much. Coupled with the coffee machine in the barn, baileys for the coffee and snacks, followed by Lobster sandwiches at lunch and chocolate it was a dreamy time.

Danique taught us to teach our horses that right next to us was the best place in the world, the only place they wated to be. They were engaged, thoughtful and listening fully. There were three groups and our group were in at 8.30am - 10am and then at 4pm to 6pm. In between the horses were flat out asleep as they were so very tired from all the thinking they did.

Even the kids got their ponies cantering beside them without halters or ropes of any kind. When we stopped they stopped, when we trotted they trotted and when we cantered so did they. ( My legs were sore from all the cantering I did on foot)

 Ace and Nikki - photos by Leslie King

Nikki, Ace and Danique
 Leslie and the wonderful Elmo
 me and the lovely Strawberry Shortcake, photos by Leslie King
 Jenna, owned by and photographed by Leslie King
 Teaghan and Holly

 Looking forward to another go at this in November.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Spring has finally sprung

A couple of days ago it was verging on zero in the morning and little hope of anything more than 5C in the day. With the windchill it was minus something or other...

Today its plus 20C
The air is gentle and sweet, the sky is blue and the sun is shining with all its might (its more often than not blue and sunny but I want to set the scene)
I have just wondered the streets of Truro on my lunch break and been to Subway. I like Subway since we stopped in one just outside of Gloucester, MA and my kids finally decided that they would try it. All Subways now take me back to that sweet little memory.

Happy Tuesday

Thursday, 6 April 2017

cranky and wishing we were back on vacation

Today I want to be on holiday with my family again. Last night whilst walking the dogs I felt cross. Cross with the cold, cross with the wind. Wheres the damn heat? I hate this time of year. I wanted, badly, to  be back in Florida with my family in that holiday frame of mind, with the heat, with the tranquility, without the snow banks (they are low, they are not really even banks but they are still there)

I want to book our next trip but cant afford to until we pay the last one off - ugh! I wish I was rich. I know that once summer returns I will be happy again:

I hanker for this:
 and this:
 and this:
 And hell yes, this:

And absolutely not this, anymore:

Wednesday, 5 April 2017


There are ants out, as per my friends text to me today. Despite the snow on the ground shes seen two. Shes a little fearful and obsessed with ants frankly (as are most people here, it seems)

I can almost picture them, intrepid little explorers making their way through snowbanks with their own little sherpas.

Monday, 3 April 2017

more snow

According to the news its "below seasonal temperatures", ya think?!!!
Saturday turned into a fairly nice day that allowed me to take the first run of the year in our subdivision with the dogs, surrounded by slowly melting snow - big hurrah to the weather and the fact I am running again.
Sunday found snow falling most of the day.

Tomorrow more snow is forecast for our Atlantic Provinces but heres the thing... right now I am flat out grateful we didnt move to Newfoundland. They were hit at the weekend with 40cm on top of the snow already on the ground and they are due another 70cm tonight! Thats a tonne of snow! Thank God we dont live there.

This time of year typically sees me acutely fed up of winter and really badly wanting summer back. I am hoping its going to suddenly turn up over night given the rate the horse is shedding and the presence of the crocuses in our garden near the house where the snow has gone. Nature knows right??

I bloody hope it does.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

March and April

March and April... months where I want it to be summer so badly. Every day when the sun is beating down on the car I am in I can almost imagine its hot outside, until I go outside.

The landscape is full of leftover snow, dead grass and is brown and sage green and grey. The trees are still lacking leaves or buds and even the evergreens look done with it all.
Snow flurries swirl around on the road. The air is biting cold still, and damp. The wind chill is not so bad as January but for some reason its too much to deal with now.

Its hard to imagine this province in the summer when the air is buzzing with crickets and birds and the highway shimmers with heat and surrounding trees are every colour green imaginable. Its hard to imagine that nature will ever be that vibrant again.

It sucking the enthusiasm right out of me... I really find these two months very very hard.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Scenic beach scenes

I love scenic photos. This is one I took when we were in AMI. I love it.

Taken with an android phone, no filter

Thursday, 16 March 2017

6th Canniversary

It was our 6th Canniversary on March 12th. I partly cannot believe that 6 years has gone by and I partly feel like I have always lived here as its home to us. This is our normal.
People often ask me if we get to go home often and I always think, yes, every day. This is home.
I am really glad we feel that way because I honestly think that perspective helped in our settling in.

I was trying to figure out whats changed about me, from the UK me to the NS me and some of it is to do with growing older and some of it is to do with being immersed in this culture. Its easier to make a list so here goes:

  • I am more open to helping people, strangers, friends, whoever needs it, if I can. I have always been helpful but used to hold back for fear of my offer of help being slapped down.
  • I am less tolerant of some UK-isms that I see mainly on FB than I used to be. The term "jog on" is one that springs to mind that I dont care for.
  • I dont seek the city life. Halifax is a small city and it has all I need. I have come to realise that whats taken from granted in the SE of England and thats not here isnt something I ever think about.
  • Country music - love it.
  • Animals - we had a cat and I didnt ever envisage my life with another horse. Now we have 2 dogs, 1 cat, 1 horse and another kitten on the way.
  • A filter - in the UK filters are for the most part undetectable unless you are at work. In fact most people are prouder of their lack of filter than concerned by their level of rudeness. My filter is still developing but I am more aware of being considered rude than the whole 35 years I lived in England.
  • Work life - I now use a variety of different terminology that I had never had on my radar before. Sadly I have dropped many British terms.
  • Road trips - before moving to NS a three hour drive to Wales was only considered once a year due to the distance, now New York (13 hours away) is totally feasible and done successfully.
  • Snow. I will drive in most road conditions now. I draw the line at lack of visibility but snow and ice on the road doesnt stop me.
  • Size of house. Our 2500 square foot house blew me away initially, now its normal
  • Pool and hot tub - considered something for the wealthy in my old English circles, these are completely for the average person where we live now.
  • Big trucks, 18 wheelers carting logs up the highway - yep all normal.
  • The coffee here - love it, drive with it, buy it for road trips, have it for breakfast.

Friday, 10 March 2017


On a plus point
  • Its Friday and only a couple of hours away from being the weekend.
  • Its daylight either end of the working day. Makes a huge difference to how I feel in the morning.
  • I should soon see what impact a possible tax refund will make on our post holiday credit card debt.

On a low point (because there are always a few of them right :-) )

  • Its freezing every single weekend. Of course. Its not during the week when I am at work but every weekend it goes there. Minus 25 windchill forecast for tomorrow so no riding for me, I like the skin on my face.
  • To find out potential tax refund status I have to file said taxes, this weekend.


Monday, 6 March 2017

Florida 2017 trip

So we did it, we went down South and we didnt go near the Florida Keys, not once. The purpose was to broaden our horizons by checking out the gulf cost. We started our time in Orlando and ended it there with the beach in between.
It was hard, and it was an expensive trip too which makes me sigh heavily as we are now in a period of austerity once more...

We went to Bahama Bay for 4 days, Anna Maria Island (hereon known as AMI) for a week and back to Bahama Bay for 4 days.
Bahama Bay highlights were me braving the Harry Potter ride at Universal (I faced the fear), Lily showing a really funny and sassy side which I adored, that wet ride that I forget the name of that we all got drenched on, getting to swim lengths every morning in a warm and peaceful pool and mermaid tales for the girls.
We went to Kennedy Space centre which was incredible and emotional for us all, especially seeing Atlantis.

AMI - well, what to say.
Pros: It had stunning sea colours at all times of the day with white white sand. The cottage we rented was adorable. I had some great walks with Chloe in the evening and some lovely walks by myself in the morning. I read alot. The restaurants serve really high end food there.

Cons: No snorkeling at all ( I still havent gotten over it frankly), loads of traffic and I mean loads, a sense of claustraphobia due to the intense traffic of vehicle and people variety and the closed in feel due to the width of the island and the proximity to the mainland.
Long restaurant waits due to the overpopulation of snotty seniors there.
Undertows in the ocean meaning the girls couldnt swim in the sea at all.
A cold pool at the rental and a cold hottub ( whats the point?!)

So for all of us, definately me, its a strong pull back to the Keys where bar t-shirts are worn everywhere and all you really need on top of one of those are shorts, snorkels, flipflops and a tattoo... I like the more laid back realness of it all..... I like snorkeling in warm, calm, shallow seas....

Oh and another lesson learned is that we no longer require a 14 day break, it was just too long away from everyday life. (And too darn expensive)

Some photos: