My Kingdom for a Horse


Scottish countryside

foal and mother

country road


grey pony in field

broken bridge

As I mentioned in one of my last posts, when we moved house, we also moved from a large town to a small village. I say “small”: we have a post office, a village store and… that’s it. Oh yeah, and a chip shop. I mean, it’s small, but it’s still Scotland, you know?

(Yes, you may all line up now to point out that, actually, that sounds like quite a big village, Amber. Why, some villages don’t even HAVE a post office! Or people, even. In fact, I bet YOUR small village would TOTALLY beat MY small village in a small-village cage match. Which REALLY isn’t the direction I was planning to take this post in, so let’s move on, shall we…)

Now, to be totally honest, village life hasn’t exactly been the huge culture shock you might assume from that opening sentence. I mean, our house is on a modern estate, just like our last one was (And as luck would have it, we have some friends living in the same street, so we have plenty of company), and we’re just a few minute’s drive from lots of larger towns, so it’s not like we’re totally cut off or anything. Well, not YET, anyway. If my dad’s reading this, for instance, I just know he’s tut-tutting and saying, “Just you wait until winter, when that road’s closed!”, but for now at least, we’re pretty much trundling along the same as always.

There is one major difference, though: the COUNTRYSIDE. Oh my God, you guys, THE COUNTRYSIDE . We’re surrounded by it. It’s EVERYWHERE. And yes, I know, we were pretty much surrounded by it in our last town, too, but the fact is, when we lived there we had to get in the car and drive to it if we wanted to take it in, where as here it’s basically on our doorstep: we can leave the house, and within a few short minutes be strolling along country lanes, and admiring the view. Which is nice. In fact, I think Ima buy a Barbour jacket and, I dunno, maybe a tweed cap? I will fit right in! It’ll be like that time I wore nautical stripes on a boat! Or dressed as a farmer on a country estate!

The other great thing about being close to the countryside, meanwhile: HORSES. Lots of them. There are at least a couple of dozen horses and ponies grazing in the fields around the village, and this proximity to my second-favourite four-legged animal (Rubin has to take the top spot, obviously), has really brought out the pony-mad little girl who has always been secretly living inside me. Actually, it turns out that I STILL AM that girl. I just have to get a whiff of a horse and I feel like I’m 10 years old again, and about to have my first riding lesson. Terry has already become used to the fact that any time I leave the house, even if it’s just supposed to be for a short time, he won’t be seeing me for a while, because I have to stop and pet them all. Every last one. No horse untouched, that’s my motto. I just can’t walk past them without acknowledging them in some way. Well, it would be rude, wouldn’t it?

(Yes, I have named them all. I know this is bad of me, because I shouldn’t get attached – and also, they already HAVE names, don’t they? – but in all fairness, I expect they’ve probably named me, too. I’ll be known as ‘That Ginger One Who Talks to Us as If We’re Humans’, or ‘Oh God, Here She Comes Again.’ Something like that, anyway.)

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, given that riding can be a pretty expensive hobby), the horses here are all privately owned: it’s not a riding school or anything like that, so there’s no hope of me resuming my childhood riding lessons any time soon. That doesn’t stop me daydreaming about one day bumping into the friendly farmer who owns some of them, and gosh, wouldn’t you know it, he’s been looking for someone to come round and exercise his horses for him every day, and I could be JUST THE PERSON FOR THE JOB. Then it turns out that I’m actually a gifted showjumper (Yes, I know, I kept that particular gift quiet: even when I WAS taking regular riding lessons, no one would ever have suspected…), and the next thing you know, I’m on the British showjumping team and competing in the Olympics. (I win gold, obviously.) (Note to self: check to see if jodhpurs still fit.)

WHOA. I got a bit carried away there, didn’t I? What can I say: old dreams die hard

Anyway. I will (probably) (You never know, though!) never ride on the British Olympic Showjumping team. But I will most certainly enjoy living in such close proximity to my four-legged friends, and all that fresh air and beautiful countryside.

In house-related news, meanwhile, today marks our one-month anniversary in the new house (I KNOW), and just yesterday we finally – FINALLY – unpacked the last box, and brought some order to a house that had felt more like a building zone at times than an actual HOME. Granted, a lot of the mess we’ve been living with for the past few weeks has been down to the transformation of junk room to dressing room: Terry was using one room as a workroom, basically, and we did our best to try to contain the mess there, but given that that room was also the one I’d dumped all of the boxes in, that plan didn’t work out too well, and the mess eventually spread to every room in the house. Whoops.

We still have a lot to do, not least of which would be actually FURNISHING those rooms we’ve just finished clearing out. The extra space is amazing, don’t get me wrong, but because we moved from a much smaller house, we don’t have a whole lot to fill it with yet, so the place feels a little bit empty at the moment. Hey, I know what I could fill it up with! How about one of these?

chestnut pony

No? Not even a very small one? Hey, where’d everyone go?