Pets, they own you not the other way around, which is probably as it should be.


I’ve not updated this for a very long time, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster the last month or so, with our beloved Maggie becoming very ill.

One evening I remarked to Tim that it looked as if one of her eyes wasn’t quite as open as the other, the next day she was at the vets getting treatment for an eye infection. This worsened, very rapidly.  Our vet decided that she needed to be treated by an expert clinic that specialised in ophthalmic medicine, so we were hastily referred to a vet in Newmarket (much respect to our vet for this, I’d much rather they said, “nope, this is beyond our facilities” and refer than try to continue treatment they weren’t confident about).

She was prescribed some very strong steroids, which did clear the infection initially, but seemed to cause clouding and a lot of redness in the eye. The referral vets decided to hospitalise her so they could respond rapidly to any changes and she spent the best part of a week in the hospital.  Her condition got worse with blisters forming on her cornea so they did a surgery to stitch her third eyelid in place to try to reduce the blisters and then stitch her eye shut.  They sent her home even though they would have liked to keep her in because she had become very depressed and stopped eating.

She was at home with us for about a week before returning to the specialists to evaluate the progress. Although the eye had cleared and the blisters healed, she had lost the sight in her eye.  We did have an option of a corneal transplant that may have restored her sight but no guarantees it would, but that would have meant more surgeries, more hospitalisation and many visits back to the Newmarket vets for check ups, she gets stressed by the journey there, stressed staying in the vets and she’d already had 2 lots of anaesthetic .  We decided enough was enough, and poor Maggie has had her eye removed.

As I write this, she is still in recovery, she’s drugged up the eyeball (sorry) with anti inflammatory, antibiotics and soothing cream, but the surgery site is still very red and inflamed, we’re not out of the woods yet, but I hope very soon she’ll be back to herself.  Don’t care how many eyes she’s got, she’s our little furball and we love her very much and just want her well again.



A personal musing on pet insurance… I’ve always had pet insurance, I very rarely claim, if they need a minor surgery for a tooth out or stitching up for a small injury, I just pay it because every time you make a claim they put exclusions on the policy that might affect your ability to claim for a big issue later.  Maggie’s treatment will probably be in the region of £4,700, we have an annual claim limit of £4,000 per medical issue, so we’ve had to pay for a bit of it, £700 we can cope with, £4,700 would have been difficult, so please guys, if you’ve got a small furry person in your life, get them insured, they’re family and worth that small fee every month, just in case something like this happens to your pet.

So that’s the main thing that’s happened recently, but before all this happened we did have some other stuff going on most of which I would have forgotten, but luckily I have my trusty camera on hand to jog my memory.

I did, unfortunately lose my entire outdoor crop of tomatoes to blight, as is often the case with blight, it happened pretty much overnight. So if life hands you 30 tomato plants with green tomatoes, it’s chutney time…  Alas my trusty chutney making pot has developed a leak, which we fixed with a bandaid, I’m not convinced this is going to work as a long term solution though.

As blight is contagious to potatoes, I had to quickly harvest them before they became infected, there is a fair amount of potential roasties stored in the shed now.

Other crops are coming fast too, beans, sweetcorn, onions, all are being lifted and either frozen or stored to keep us going during the winter. The salad veggies often don’t make it to the kitchen, they’re eaten on the go, although I lost all my outside tomatoes, the ones in the greenhouse were fine and very very tasty!

As far as Rosie goes, well, we hit a few problems, nothing insurmountable, but they’re going to take time, which is cool, we’ve the rest of our lives to sort them out. She was a bit rude on the ground, bargy in the stable or when tied up, a bit of a nightmare for the farrier and picking out her hooves could sometimes take me half an hour while she danced about being a diva.  These we’ve mostly sorted, the farrier came last week and she was as good as gold, stood there like a rock.  She only occasionally faffs me about when picking out her hooves nowadays.  And yesterday for the first time, she allowed me to wipe her eyes without doing a giraffe impersonation, definite progress!  She’s also responding well to voice training, she’ll  now come to call, back up, move over,  stand  and follow with a voice command and a reinforcing touch signal where needed.  I think she just didn’t really understand what the heck I wanted from her before, and gentle training is doing the trick with her.

As far as riding her goes, well that’s not going so well, she was fine to school in the field and ride around the property and well behaved when I went out with Mandy, but the first time I took her out on her own, she went completely mental. The first 3 bucking sessions I sat (to my surprise), but then she incorporated spinning around with the bucking and I hit the deck, luckily I was wearing my body protector which cushioned some of the impact.  I think I’m possibly a better rider than I might give myself credit for, as I did manage to hang on to the reins as I was flying through the air.

Girding every loin I had I got back on and rode her home, no real physical damage done, although I could barely move the next day. However, it rather shattered my confidence, so I thought I’d take her out in hand rather than riding, to be rewarded by pretty much the same behaviour.

Then I had a bit of a think… This little pony is a rescue, she’s had an awful lot to deal with over the last year or so, she’s had a foal, she’s been backed, she’s been moved 3 times.  I understand the freaky behaviour, she’s young and excitable, what Rosie needs is to learn how to be a pet, because that’s what she is now and that’s something she’s never really been before, she’s going to be pampered, loved and fussed over and she’s not used to that.   So, to hell with riding her at the moment, she’s doing really well on the groundwork, when I’ve a bit more confidence in her we’ll resume the in-hand work off the property, and start her again on riding in the spring.  There’s no hurry, we’ll learn and work together.


The last 6 weeks have also been incredibly social (for me anyway, I rarely get past the front of the drive…) Firstly we were very honoured to be invited to Alex and Emma wedding, what a fabulous day out that was, the venue was magical, the food was incredible and it was so lovely to see two people who are so perfectly suited for each other tie the knot.


Then it was the wedding of Amy and Scott, it always going to be emotional this one, anyone who’s ever met Amy will love her, that’s just the person she is, and seeing her get her heart’s desire definitely brought on the warm and fluffy feelings, Mel and I had tissues on standby before the ceremony and we had to use them!

Next it was Mr and Mrs C snr 50th wedding anniversary celebration, an absolutely lovely party, fab food and company and the entertainment by our nieces and nephews was awesome, with a particular mention to Molly who stunned everyone with her singing and I’m not being polite here, she was really really good!

This day would also have been Mr Charles birthday, so I had a pint of Guinness in his memory, you’re still very much missed Mr Charles.

Finally on the social engagements list was the wedding of my dear friend Tym, again very emotional, I didn’t snap any pics of this one, but I love knowing he’s so happy and contented.

So what’s been happening about the property, well, surprisingly little. When Rosie turned up, she had an immaculate paddock that was recently topped and everything was lovely.  Then it all went a bit pear shaped, we’ve had a ragwort explosion in there (ragwort is horribly poisonous to horses) it suddenly germinated absolutely everywhere.  I tried really hard to keep it under control, but eventually I had to throw in the towel, I’ve divided the paddock and have, by virtue of spending about 7 hours a day for the last 5 weeks got half of it free of the bloody stuff so Rosie can safely graze.  Today the lovely Phil the meadow man came over and sprayed the other half of it for me.  I think that because we’d allowed the grass to grow so tall before we topped the meadow the ragwort couldn’t germinate, once we’d cleared it and with the wet and warm weather we’ve had recently, it just went crazy.  Hopefully, now I’ve cleared half by hand and Phil has rescued the other half (that was going to be her spring grazing anyway, so fencing it off was always going to happen) I can turn my attention back to the rest of the grounds, which have also gone mental on the weed front.

A big thank you to Mr and Mrs C snr, who have turned up every week and made things happen that I should have been doing, but couldn’t because I had to make Rosie’s grazing safe, thank you MrC snr for mowing the lawns and making the place look tidy, thank you for spraying the worst areas of weedage and for trying to keep the various detritus under control with a regular fire.  Thank you MrsC snr for harvesting crops for me that would otherwise probably have gone to waste, thank you for the absolutely absurd amounts of weeds you’ve pulled up and thank you for holding the pony today, I’m glad she was polite and didn’t misbehave.  Thank you both for taking me out to lunch and for being there as a much appreciated taxi when Maggie needed to go to Newmarket, just thank you and much love!






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