Monday, 30 May 2011

Attic

After two days of hard sorting, ruthless clearing and heavy wear of Jon's knees(!) we have emptied the attic in order to begin turning it into a nursery for b. As we only have 2 bed house it will always have to double up as a spare room when we have guests, but that's no issue as there is plenty of room and the bed will, i'm sure come in handy for me when I'm nursing.

At the moment, said bed has returned to it's original state of being a sofa, it seemed to make sense to have it take up the least room while we clean and paint the room. The main thing is that Fig still likes it, is happy to curl up and sleep on it and seems to have forgiven us for folding up his bed! - not sure about G yet :)

Another reason for keeping the bed folded into sofa mode is that the area underneath the velux is currently being used as a rudimentary tomato greenhouse(!) Both Moneymakers and Black Russians are growing well and we staked them today by way of support. However, the Sungold are really struggling...they are so much smaller than the others and the leaves seem to be wilting and curling up. Will watch with interest as to whether they make it.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Mooch



We had an appointment with the lovely midwife on thursday and so Jon took the day off. All is well with me and b, good results from the blood tests and I also found out I am O positive (All these years I have never known!) and my bp and wee are both normal. We see her next in about a month.

It was a hideously rainy day and we had a very brief trip round the market, bumped into Rach+Ben, pondered over a wicker moses basket then came home for a cup of tea and a sandwich. However, not to be put off by the rain it seemed only right to venture out again while Jon was home and so we popped along to Hebden and had a little look into Monkey and Ellie, Spirals and The Old Treehouse - sadly the former is closing down. I liked the look of a baby sling, a changing bag and a little hat in Monkey, and fell in love with a small patchwork elephant in Spirals but I kept my purse zipped for another day.

As it started to pour again and feeling we, well I, deserved a sit down to rest my bump, we called into Mooch. What a fabulous little cafe this is, we had the hugest cups of coffee and tea (campbells cup-o-cino) and Jon got a piece of home made flapjack, which I began to pick the pumpkin seeds out of then realised how good it was and we got another one! - we also had a nosey at the menu and noticed they do some nice light bites and are open until 8pm. Must come back here again with G sometime, I also think Shaz would like it. Going out for coffee is something we rarely do, but it was just nice to sit in the window and watch the rain fall and people and cars scurry past.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

And talking of growing beans....

This years crop of Blue Lake green beans are beginning to reach for the sky with their tendrils. They've only been in the soil for three weeks...now that IS a growth spurt.


Sunday, 15 May 2011

Going Public...

I'm unsure of the proper etiquette for announcing a pregnancy on Blogger, but at 16 weeks I think it's probably about time...

Monday, 9 May 2011

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Friday, 6 May 2011

Bed, breakfast and Elliott

A whistle stop visit to see Alex, Mel and Elliott on Friday night...





Thursday, 5 May 2011

In tribute

I feel I want to post this wonderful obit taken from the Telegraph here today by way of tribute to a blog I read and adore, I am thinking of the author of that blog on this very difficult day.

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Sport Obituaries

Gay Kindersley


Gay Kindersley, who died on April 21 aged 80, was one of the most engaging figures on the Turf; a former champion amateur jump jockey who later turned to training, he made his mark less for his professional achievements than for his extra-curricular exploits as a drinker, gambler and serial womaniser.

Most men of that stripe earn disapproval, even enmity. Kindersley largely escaped censure thanks to his being blessed with a barrel-load of charm; he was also utterly without malice.

In a foreword to Robin Rhoderick-Jones’s biography Flings Over Fences — The Ups And Downs Of Gay Kindersley (1994), Kindersley’s friend Lord Oaksey wrote: “Whether riding, singing, drinking, or succumbing to what the author calls 'his incurable tendency to infidelity’, my old friend has been a source of more pleasure and amusement than sorrow and disappointment to his innumerable friends.”

These friends extended well beyond the racecourse, and included Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, Peter O’Toole and Albert Finney . Another was Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, who, on a visit to Kindersley’s home at East Garston in Berkshire, asked if she might see round the house. As Gay opened the door to one of the guest bedrooms, he and his visitor were confronted by the sight of a couple in flagrante. “How nice,” murmured Queen Elizabeth. “But I think perhaps we should not go further.”

Kindersley’s engaging naivety is illustrated by an incident in 1985, when he took the writer Graham Lord as his guest to a lunch at the Savoy Hotel that was being given to welcome the Australian Test side to England. Spying the Aussies in a corner of the River Room, the two went over to greet them: “Hallo, folks,” said Kindersley breezily. “I’m Gay and this is my friend Graham.” “Jeez!” said one of the Aussies. “Backs to the wall, mate.”

When this story was recounted a day or two later, Kindersley was completely bewildered when everyone roared with laughter.

More recently, in 2004, Kindersley went into his local branch of Waitrose . Asked by the checkout girl if he would like some cash back, Kindersley (who was unfamiliar with this transaction) replied: “That’s really awfully sweet of you, how kind.”

He suggested £50, which he took across the road to the betting shop, investing it on a 10-1 shot which duly won its race. He then returned to the store to tip the checkout girl £10 for her kindness. For good measure, he gave £10 to the other girls on the tills as well. It was only when his credit card statement arrived that he understood the nature of “cash back”.

Gay Kindersley was born on June 2 1930. His father was Philip Leyland Kindersley, son of the 1st Lord Kindersley; his mother was Oonagh Guinness, who would later marry the 4th Lord Oranmore and Browne. By the time Gay was at prep school his parents’ marriage was in trouble. Philip Kindersley, interned as a PoW in Italy, was concerned that his wife’s determination to send the boy to a school in Dublin would turn him into a “Sinn Feiner”, and managed to obtain a court order in his favour, providing the wartime newspapers with some colourful copy. Accordingly, Gay went to Eton.

After his parents divorced, Gay’s grandfather Ernest Guinness decreed that he should read Chemistry at Oxford before joining the family firm. On arrival at Christ Church, however, Gay embarked on a degree in PPE. “I hated chemistry,” he later recalled. “I’d studied languages at Eton, and barely know one end of a test tube from the other. I was riding fairly regularly as an amateur in National Hunt meetings by then and, as all I’d ever wanted to be was a jockey, after two terms I stood myself down.”

He joined the 7th Hussars, serving in Germany, but aged 21 he announced that he wished to marry. To cure him of this ambition, he was sent to Canada, where he worked as a roughneck on an oil rig and took the opportunity to ride in the Calgary Stampede and compete in rodeos — once being thrown and lying unconscious for four hours.

On returning to England he embarked on his career as an amateur jockey. His mother (by now Lady Oranmore and Browne) was kept informed of his progress by her butler, Patrick Cummins, who one night at dinner proffered her a rissole and, in his thick Irish accent, gave her news of her son’s latest race: “Mr Gay’s turd.” The strait-laced guest seated next to Lady Oranmore was horrified.

Kindersley never allowed the disciplinary demands of racing to interfere with his pursuit of pleasure. He spent the night before riding in a race at Windsor dancing to Humphrey Lyttleton’s band and then, as his biography puts it, “bonking a drinking-club barmaid”.

As a married man he would have many affairs, his lovers including Ann, Marchioness of Queensberry; the zither player Shirley Abicair; a White Russian known as “the Volga Boatwoman”; and a lady master of foxhounds with a pilot’s licence nicknamed “the Flying Fornicator”. He once declared: “I’ve got this infidelity thing, I’ve always had to be chasing.”

Aged 25 Kindersley inherited £750,000 from his grandfather’s estate — a colossal sum in those days. It was characteristic of him that he would often say that “the way to a small fortune is to start with a large one”.

In 1956 Kindersley married Margaret (“Magsie”) Wakefield, a society beauty once mooted as a possible bride of the Duke of Kent. They had two sons and two daughters — one of whom, the novelist Tania Kindersley, recalled in 2000: “My dad was a gambler. Sometimes he’d win on the ponies and mum would get a Mercedes. Six months later we’d all be wearing cast-offs ... [their Saturday night parties] were wild and formless; there was no dress code or invitation list. I would creep downstairs in my dressing gown and wander among crowds of revellers, listening to the roar of talk and smelling the heady mixture of cigarette smoke, expensive scent and red wine. Records lay on the floor like spilled coins and in dark corners handsome men flirted with women who were not always their wives.”

In 1959-60 Kindersley won the amateur jockeys’ championship after riding 22 winners from 100 rides — all but five of those rides had been on his own horses. During his career as a jockey Kindersley twice broke his back, in 1955 at Stratford and seven years later at Hurst Park; on the second occasion his doctor told him his days as a jockey were over, but he returned to the saddle. He rode in the 1965 Grand National, but came to grief at the third.

He retired as a National Hunt jockey in the same year, though he continued to ride in Flat races until 1969. Meanwhile, he set up as a trainer at East Garston, enjoying mixed success. He never abandoned his quest to win a National, and in 1984 he trained Earthstopper to finish fifth, although the horse collapsed and died after the race.

Kindersley had part-owned Carrickbeg who, ridden by Lord Oaksey, was caught by Ayala only in the final strides of the 1963 Grand National. To add insult to injury, Ayala’s owner (the hairdresser “Teasy Weasy” Raymond) did not appear at the traditional post-National party at the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool, and as owners of the runner-up Kindersley and Oaksey had to foot the bill for the festivities.

As a breeder, Kindersley named the horses he bred after characters in Dickens: Sampson Brass, Newman Noggs, Mr Crinkles, Gabriel Grub and so on .

In 1976 he and Magsie divorced, and Kindersley married Philippa Harper. She had been having an affair with the actor Oliver Reed, and at the wedding reception Reed got drunk and whispered to Philippa: “I hope you both rot in hell.” He nevertheless became a godfather to their younger son, Oliver.

Gay Kindersley, who retired from training in 1985, served as president of the Amateur Riders’ Association of Great Britain and then, on its merger with the Lady Jockeys’ Association in 1995, as president of the Amateur Jockeys’ Association of Great Britain. He worked hard for charitable causes, among them the British Institute of Sports Medicine and the Spinal Injuries Association.

He is survived by both his wives, and by the four children of his first marriage and the two sons of his second.