So , in this village, every 5th November, the local bell ringers turn The Devil’s Stone. They do this to ensure that the Horned One is kept at bay for another year. If the stone doesn’t get turned, well, who wants to risk that?! It’s a big thing here, and much fun is had. It also means that fireworks are a rarity round here. Hal and I have never yet made it to the Turning of the Stone. The first year year we were here we didn’t know what the firework situation was going to be like, an so didn’t to leave cats, dogs and horses unattended. Last year I was only a few days post op, and really not feeling well. So this year I was really looking forward to finally going.
It wasn’t to be.
The people who own the field next to ours decided to have fireworks! At the bottom of their field! Right next to our horses! They gave us 30 minutes warning! Mind you, we were lucky. They didn’t bother telling the people who own the field on the other side of them, where 9 sheep live, at all! Or anyone else for that matter.
So Hal froze his bollocks off monitoring 4 terrified horses, while I attempted to ignore 2 terrified dogs with the combined weight of 57kg while they tried to climb onto me while shaking violently, hyperventilating, and barking hysterically!
Luckily we seem to have got away with it. Nobody’s hurt, and no colic. The sheep are OK too thankfully.
I am quite sure that this little fireworks display was all arranged well in advance. I am also sure that these individuals have been fully aware of the horses on one side of them, and the sheep on the other. So not giving us advance warning of their plans is at best thoughtless, selfish and inconsiderate. It may also be construed as a deliberate act of animal cruelty.
The people who did this aren’t youngsters. In fact they’re grandparents. They also have animals of their own. You’d think they would have more sense and decency.
Thankfully, due in no small part to the amazing temperaments of our horses, nothing bad happened last night. It could have been so much worse.
Hmmm, today’s Blogtober Challenge is to list 10 things that I love about Autumn. The thing is though, and you better sit down here, I’m not sure that in the grand scheme of things, I am particularly fond of Autumn.partly it’s because, as regular readers will know, I am frightened of strong wind, and Autumn is usually when the storms increase. Partly it’s because hunting and shooting, and the arrogance and rudeness of people on both sides of the argument upset me.. mostly though, it’s because of living with Retinitis Pigmentosa. One of the earliest symptoms of RP, and one which I personally had since birth, is night blindness. So for people in early stages of the disease, who can see pretty well thank you very much, during daylight, or good indoor lighting. But are rendered blind from twilight onwards, the Autumnal Equinox means less hours of useful eyesight, and less independence. Nowadays I am well beyond the point where it makes any real difference to me. However, I well remember how frazzled I used to get when it did. I know several people living with RP who suffer from crippling depression and anxiety at this time of year.
I do like to try to look on the bright side though. So here are 10 things I do like about this time of year.
1. Cooler weather. Being an overweight, fair skinned, freckle Celt, I am not built for heat and humidity. In fact it can make me feel quite poorly. So when the temperature drops below 20 I am much more comfortable.
2. Frosty mornings. A rarity in these parts. That crisp, clean, clear air that makes you feel really alive, and makes it feel as if the whole world is sparkling. What’s not to like?
3. Less flies. Daddy Longlegs (shudder) not withstanding, there are noticeably less flying, buzzing, biting, stinging, irritating pests around.
4. Silence. I refer you to my earlier post, the Sound of Silence.
5. Fallen leaves. OK, I know all about the dangers of sycamores , but you really have to be made of granite if the inner child in you doesn’t enjoy kicking through freshly fallen leaves.
6. The smell of somebodyelses wood smoke. We don’t have an open fire or a wood burner ourselves but plenty of folk around here do. , and I love the smell of woodsmoke, especially when it’s cold outside.
7. Being Able to take the dogs to the beach. Woo hoo! The holiday season is over, and so on the punitive restrictions placed on dogs being allowed to go on to Devon and Cornwall speeches. I mean it’s not as if there are any families who have both children and dogs is it? I’m going to stop now in case I go into full frontal rant mode. Hopefully though, if we do manage to get our own trailer, riding on the beach might be a realistic possibility next year.
8. Quieter roads. Both as a pedestrian who lives innan area with few pavements, and as a rider who lives in an area with zero off road riding, I really appreciate it when the tourists have gone home and the roads are a tiny bit quieter.
9. The West Country Christmas Equine Fair at Westpoint Arena. OK, as it takes place in December it’s really a Winter thing, but it’s my 1 guaranteed horsey day out each year, and I really look forward to it.
10. Strictly Come Dancing. I love it! From September to Christmas it’s like having a big glittery panto party in your living room every weekend.
Yesterday was gorgeous. Blue sky, gentle breeze, and really very warm. Poor Florence was already in a muck sweat tby the afternoon when we caught her and Breeze in for some TLC. . The midges were out in force and biting for all their worth..
Today, somebody somewhere has finally got the memo about it being October. The temperature has suddenly and dramatically dropped, the wind is blowing, and, oh my word, that rain is cold!
Sometimes I think that sudden changes in weather conditions like this can really upset a horse. Professionally I am a holistic complementary therapist, and I’m used to looking at a person’s wellbeing as a whole, body, mind, and spirit. It is impossible for one to be affected by something without there being a knock on affect on the other two. We call this the triad of health. To be truly well all three elements need to be in balance. Easier said than done. I try to treat my horses in the same way. I’ve noticed that, when the weather gets cooler there is a tendency for horses to become a little bit more sharp and spooky. Even my laid-back cobs can be affected by this. So maybe that’s why, when one of my neighbours started up his pressure washer this afternoon, something happened so regularly that I would’ve thought neither of the horses will take any notice now, Breeze shot off down the field like she was trying to win the Derby. Paul Florence thought the breeze was going to have a go at her, Lept into the air and shot off in the other direction. I have to admit this came as a little bit of a shock to me, I was only a couple of foot away from them at the time, albeit on the other side of the fence. Still it’s nice to know that this pair of elderly porkers have still got it in them
So far this year my hay is untouched, I have far too much grass and to scarily fat horses, and whilst I can’t claim to be entirely free of mud, it really isn’t worth writing home about. Yes, The nights are drawing in, and they are noticeably cooler, but, even though they have now been clipped, The girls are still perfectly comfortable without a rug.
Is it really October? It’s really difficult to think about the autumn essentials when the weather is so mixed up that The local farmers are in the process of bailing silage.In the last five days the land next door to us has had grass cut, turned, and bailed, with the bales being removed yesterday evening. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a late cut of silage. It must be a real relief, as after the first cut, which happened oh so very long ago, The grass just didn’t grow again until September.
Usually by this Time of year I am wondering if it is safe to start using the hay that Steve cut back in June or July. Whilst I always try to bring horses in as late as possible, and never until after the 5th of November, normally by now my resolve is beginning to crumble. Usually I am already beginning to run out of grass, monsoon season is in full swing, and the mud is beginning to make itself known.
So, apart from a good pair of wellies and some decent waterproofs, which are primed and ready to be worn in an instant, I think the mot essential thing to have at this time of year is am open mind.