Thankyou to the drivers of Castleways, Marchants and Swanbrook buses and coaches. Over the past weeks as Strider and I have gone into Bishops Cleeve, Winchcombe and Cheltenham, I have been really impressed and grateful for how thoughtful the drivers from these three firms have been. Actually Strider is very steady even with big vehicles passing but the drivers cant know that and they are very considerate indeed. THANKYOU!
I can cope with good things happening! Not just that he was very good hacking down to Cheltenham railway station yesterday, where he is fine about looking at the trains. He just hates waiting for them, and fidgets. And coming back through the Prestbury Village Jubilee Fayre setting up in The Burgage, he was completely cool. The really nice thing was that I worked out that the Justgiving “total” did not include GiftAid, so its not £9,470 that we have got to but £11,135 which is REALLY GREAT!
Worn shoes, Bowen Therapy, time constraints, this that and the other have kept us out of town but today we came down from a damp misty hill into a cloudy but warmer Cheltenham heading for the railway station. Strider was as good as ever with the traffic but a bit ready to notice other stuff. Roadwork’s signs, benches, low railings, sign boards all caught his eye so I did not hurry as we came through Prestbury via the Burgage, along New Barn Lane, down Albert Road, across Pittville to Clarence Square and on across the lower High Street. We went along the River Chelt to Waitrose and then down the Honeybourne Line. He was good as gold in the underpass with only a slight sniff at the murals, and strode on towards the station with a stop while I chatted to two PCSOs who commented he was the first horse they had met there. The “Line” comes out in the station carpark so we watched a Virgin Cross Country 125 set off from the platform and turned for home with an early refreshment break of some clover rich grass on a bank that had not been mowed. He was steadier going home, and slightly faster paced, walking on well through much heavier traffic than we had had the other way. Home after a bit less than four hours he got the late breakfast he wanted.
Sue Buckley is a horse owner and human, canine and equine Bowen Therapist. And she is a ReactorPanel saddle user and enthusiast who understands how and why they are good news for horse and rider. When Dean and Gini of Saddle Exchange Co mentioned the Ride she offered to help make sure Strider was “anatomically” in the best possible shape. She came on Tuesday for his first treatment. He was thoroughly gone over, checked and “tuned up” (my words not hers). She said he was in pretty good shape and she will work over him again regularly and not charge for it, which is marvellous of her. Meanwhile I am going to get myself checked and treated by her as there is some clear evidence of bits of me not being aligned and working as they should: one shoulder, around the pelvis and whatever makes me rather one sided in the saddle, plus .......... I am sure she will discover things. At 64 there are sure to be some and I can recall several of the body bending moments of my equestrian life.
MacroArt have done a great job! THANKYOU VERY MUCH
I decided we (Strider and me) needed a banner to put up when we stopped at places and to use at events over the next year such as the Ride Launch on 12 June at the Pony Centre and, I hope, at the Gloucestershire Launch on 14 July at the Cheltenham Show. Practical matters, like having to fold it up and fit it in a saddlebag, meant that 1.5m x 0.5m was really the maximum size and I did some research (Google and asking around) about the best method for printing that could survive the folding etc. Answer is dyesublimation printing and MacroArt the suggested people. They do HUGE stuff, like wrap Selfridges in printed material, but they said they can do small stuff too, though nothing will stay looking too good for ever if you keep on folding it up and stuffing it tightly into a small bag with other things. I can see that is rather brutal treatment. Cost with vat and delivery would be around £160. I asked if any chance of a reduction as its for charity fundraising ……………. Nice man said maybe halve the printing cost. Karen at Saintbury View Design did a great design for it and I sent it off. And this morning I had an email from Steve Flint saying MacroArt would do it for FREE. What stars!!
Hacked up from Far Stanley this morning on a bridleway I have not used for years. Going at a good steady walk up a sunken track under a roof of branches with bright sunshine outside is one of the really special things of life.
Got home to find a BHS hi-viz tabard in the post. Brilliant. A donation from the BHS which has already put all my route onto the Emagin website and sent round a request for comments that brought in some good advice on bits of the route (though there is still lots more needed) including the comment that getting across the A1 in Northumberland “should be possible in the early hours of a Sunday morning”. Well, we have to cross it and if Strider and I have to wait 30 minutes for a gap, we have to wait!
AND my BHS Gold Membership gives me the public liability cover for the Ride Round England!! When I checked with the underwriters they said "Its just a hack, which is covered". Talk about value for money.
Keith and Jacquie came on Sunday evening and took Strider up to their home half an hour north of the yard. So Monday morning, 30 April, I went there and we loaded him again with Jacquie driving to go up to Oundle School, near Peterborough for me to give a talk about the charities and the Ride. I had left the school in 1966 and been in touch because Strider and I will visit on the Ride. By 10.00 we were unloading him outside the school hall and when the pupils came out of the first talk that morning he was waiting outside as an impressive visual aid, though I did not take him in. I gave my talk and afterwards we had a photoshoot with Strider and some of the pupils. As a result of the talk I have two volunteers who will work each week on stuff for me for the Ride from September this year till May next. That will give me some really useful admin, research and IT savvy support just when I will badly need it. We had a fun day with a good result. Thankyou Jacquie and the School.
“I am not a policeman”. It seemed clear enough and I repeated it. The lady seemed to speak enough English to understand, but it had no impact. There we were, in the heart of Cheltenham on Rodney Road near the language school just behind Lloyds Bank on the High Street. Perhaps on a Saturday morning a man and a horse both hi-vized up MUST be police. So, she went on trying to tell me about a burst watermain somewhere not far away. And I went on saying “I am sorry I am not a policeman” until as I rode away I said “I’m sorry I can’t help”.
I hope I have not ruined the image of the Gloucestershire Constabulary in the eyes of one foreign visitor. Strider behaved with total courtesy.
We had hacked fairly early right into town to visit a friend, and hacked back out again as the place got busy. He was fidgety while I chatted to Delscey and he was fidgety during a long wait at some traffic lights, but apart from that he was really great with only minor worry at things like the lifesize cutout of a butcher outside the butcher’s shop in Prestbury. Lots of urban riding, here we come.