Friday, 4 July 2014

When it rains . . .

"They" had forecast rain for today, and for once "they" got it right.  Not the pelting, slanted-across-the-landscape, streaming down the windowpane type rain we get so often here in Wales, but the soft gentle drizzle which nourishes plants and soon persuades outside cats that they would rather be inside cats!  Which is why I have a happy little Banshee cat on my lap, and the good news is that her left eye is healing well. When I told the vet that it seemed to be clearing from the side, she said that was definitely the result of a trauma (as indeed the other eye had been, since we saw that happen.)

Anyway, the wind is beginning to get up a little now, combing breezy fingers through the apple leaves and making the baby apples, flushes with summer sun, jiggle and dance.  My main rambler roses have gone over and their pale pink blossoms, faded through white, are now withered to a dirty brown.  I dead-headed some yesterday but need to get out there when it's drier to finish the job.  

(Tess of the D'Urbervilles is now in full bloom.)

Today I have been ironing and mending, and catching up on the 2002 dramatisation of The Forsyte Sage which has been showing on Sky recently.  I have now watched 1 - 3 and it is well done - just as well done as it was the first time.  I should love to re-read the book again but I already have a stack of books to work my way through.  Bed-time reading is Currently Sebastian Faulke's  "Charlotte Grey", set in a France torn apart by WWII.  Downstairs I have several on the go, and no time to do justice to any of them.

I have been trying to remember the wet days of my childhood, but for some reason not many have stuck in my head.  I remember that we usually went swimming during the winter months, rather than riding, because the weather was generally not conducive to the latter.  I was useless swimmer, but always accompanied my friends because it meant stopping at the Museum on the way, every Saturday morning, and I loved the Museum.  I can remember one room made up as a Victorian parlour, complete with a stuffed dog on the hearth (Dachshund I think), a large Aspidestra in an equally large pot, and gloomy wooden panelling.  

I remember only ONE wet day at the riding school, when I was riding a lovely fleabitten grey mare called Twilight.  She was fed up with the weather, and wanting to turn her tail into the rain (as horses always do).  The rain had darkened her neck and first flattened her fine mane and then it developed a little wave, as it dried a little.  The Drove (where we could trot and sometimes cantered towards the end) led to "Rhodies" - a gravel trackway hemmed in by purple rhododendrons all the way.  Usually considered too hard a surface for cantering.  Little bay Robin, on working loan to the stables, had come from a cottage along here.  We rode past the Mad Cat Lady's cottage under the pine trees along Loperwood Lane, near Tatchbury Mount  (so Mad Cat Women are not a new invention).  She must have had about 40 cats, and none of them neutered, as there were always more cats and kittens.  We imagined the smell inside, with all those tom cats, and held our noses as we rode past!  

We cantered along Golden Gutter, gobbets of sandy mud being thrown up in our wake and the rain making us close our eyes.  I was hoping that Twilight wasn't doing the same!  We cantered again along the sandy track across the heath, made deep by the regular passage of hour long hacks from the stables.  Under the pines at Copythorne we stopped and sheltered for a while, the ponies having a good shake to make themselves more comfortable.

I've just been looking it up on the Google earth map.  Copythorne wasn't actually Copythorne (just in the general direction) and was actually Barrow Hill.  It looks so CLOSE to the stables too - it was probably 2 miles or so each way.  It seemed to take forever . . .  I was about 11 when I was on that ride.  51 years ago.  My gosh, it seems like yesterday . . .


  1. Lovely just a beautiful lovely post today.

    cheers, parsnip

  2. Lovely memories! My old Welsh Cob always knew when we were heading back to the stables, even when we were somewhere we had never been before! She somehow knew when we were past the half-way-home mark and pulled like a train!

  3. I can just see you you dreaming away on a sofa, is it not gorgeous this summer, the rain interspersed with sunny moments, great for growing..

  4. What a lovely ride that sounds. The rain here today was so hard it was bouncing off the ground up to three feet high!