After five weeks of uni I am now back at home again for reading week. Mummy, with her selective hearing and wishful thinking, thought I was coming back for ‘riding week’. You can imagine her astonishment when I broke the news that in fact I was going to be in London more than I was planning to be at home keeping Cash going for Susie. Fortunately though, my week off has slightly overlapped with Susie’s half term, so I have had the enjoyment of seeing how much progress she has made with Cash, and how much all her work in the winter with both him and Percy has paid off.
Susie looks really confident on Cash, and has cross-country schooled round several BE (British Eventing) novice fences with him — there is a rather repetitive wail about the tiresomeness of her November birthday which precludes her from pony trials this season.
We have also had a very good outcome in the second leasing of Annie, a really sweet, thoroughly child friendly pony, who mummy bought last year in one of her vulnerable moments. After we had advertised her, we were absolutely inundated with enquiries but had a first when it transpired that the first people who tried her live in the same village, and were consequently able to hack her home on collection.
This happy ending was a nice window of joy in the middle of a week of self-induced stress for my mother, who had a garden opening on 25 February. The lunatic obsessions and efforts of someone who rides is, from what I can see, only on a par with that of a gardener. My mother has become a rather avid snowdrop collector (a Galanthophile, no less) and spends absolute fortunes whenever she finds a particularly rare snowdrop online including one called Wendy’s Gold. Although I personally can’t tell it apart from the common snowdrop, I am told that it is very, very special. Mummy’s pride and joy is her one Wendy’s Gold, which grows a new flower head each year so that it now is a clump of flower heads. However, she made the grave error of posting a picture of this single plant on Twitter a few weeks ago. This was quickly shared by many other horticulturists, who are now all very excited to come to the garden opening and see what they obviously presume is a large field of Wendy’s Gold. The panic that was produced from this was heightened even further when the National Garden Scheme then decided to brand her winter walk garden opening a ‘snowdrop festival’.
Seemingly to try and pacify any visitors from the Wendy’s Gold disappointment, she has now invested in an array of small mirrors on telescopic handles. This, she told me proudly this morning while simultaneously demonstrating the contraption, was so that visitors could see the face of any snowdrops whose heads modestly hang down towards the ground or were placed at an awkward angle. I’m personally very excited to see the moment that lots of garden enthusiasts first realise that there is only one Wendy’s Gold, and then all rush with their mirrors on long sticks to see her drooping face. I imagine there may even be a queue to view her in all her beauty.
She also has several other special varieties (the fact I can remember their names reflects how much I’ve had to hear about them): Trumps, Primrose Warburg, Fred’s Giant, and the one which seems most apt, Jonathan, who has small green markings resembling sad eyes and a downturned mouth, a scary resemblance to my own father, also called Jonathan, when she’s describing the weekend she has planned for him.
Finally, my brother Algy is at school in France this time, supposedly learning to speak the language although his letter home yesterday said that he doesn’t think France is, “My thing”. Much more alarming if you cast your mind back to my recent blog on the episode of Beat The Boss coming home from HOYS for him, was the letter a couple of weeks ago when he simply wrote, “I have been to the riding school. It was the best fun ever. I don’t know if this will be good news for you or not, but I want to take it up”.