The new header photo is the view through one of the window gaps at Grosmont Castle, which will appear in tomorrow's post (with any luck!)
Back again after a lovely weekend away with my friend J. We went to Badminton Horse trials on the Saturday. I'd not been for several years, and it was a great day out (though a tad expensive at £28 a head to get in, plus parking). Just as well it's only once a year!
I'll let the photos speak for themselves:
It's a wonderful course, about 4 miles long, and there is an optimum time in which it should be completed. Going outside that time means extra penalties. Fall of horse or rider means elimination. The jumps are big, but constructed with frangible pins which means they free the rail/part of the jump and allowing it to drop when hit hard, preventing the rotational falls which claimed the lives of several riders in the past. Competitors start and finish in the main arena, and that is where we ended up having walked the course, and saw the last few home from a well-earned seat.
Thousands of people go to Badminton each year, and LOTS of dogs too! in all shapes and sizes.
This was my favourite. She'd got tired, so they tucked her up and she had dozed off, bless her. She was ready for action again now!
There were other horses around the course too. Here are two of the Berkeley Hunt. (The yellow jacket is a giveaway).
Mounted police officers in the gloom of Huntsmans' Close.
Children from the local Pony Club branch act as runners. All were immaculately turned out, needless to say!
All too soon it was time to say goodbye to the beautiful Badminton estate, though we did linger a 2nd time wandering round the trade stands where I bought some Bamboo socks. WHY have I not bought any before? They are SO soft and comfortable. I will be getting more. In the morning I had bought a warm ribbed hat with a fleece lining for just £5. A good investment as I wore it the first half of the day when it was a bit windy.
Then it was slowly back home, via the village of King's Stanley, where my friend grew up. I got a guided tour: )
This William Morris designed church at Selsey was of course locked by the time we got there, but we shall return.
View across the mostly modern end of the village.
Footpath up on to Selsey Common.
Finally, the bird-spotting, which we did a lot of in idle moments back at my friend's house. Her land surrounds the cottage, and was home to lots of birds, including this leucistic Blackbird (affectionately known as "Pie" of course, short for piebald.) He was very camera-shy. We saw lots of him but the minute I appeared with my camera indoors, he was away!
Blurry picture of him on the fence, with Moles behind him.
Greater Spotted Woodpecker on feeder.
Mr Hoppy, one of several Pheasants about the place, and who had a very sore foot after fighting. He has got a lady friend but she's not sitting on eggs yet, but follows him about the place.
What I DON'T have a photo of, sadly, is the VERY rare Hawfinch (who has a mate and one of last year's youngsters still begging for food). I saw him clearly from the kitchen window, where he had visited the Yew Tree to feed on the remains of last years' seeds. Such a beautiful bird, with a white-edged tail, and quite a gingery coloured head. Very stock with a hefty beak. Stunning. HERE is a link so you can find out about it and see how stunning it is.
Anyway, I'm back home now. No more horses to groom or make a fuss of, or others to watch in action, and it's nose to the grindstone time again!
Many thanks to J & L for a fabulous weekend and AMAZING food! You should have seen our picnic for Badminton - Salmon gravlax with Crayfish tails and a lovely lentil salad, crudites and hummus dips. Scrummy.