Saturday, 16 July 2011

A very long ride, day 2

Saturday morning we woke up ridiculously early as you do when camping. Didn’t even get woken by the SNO, she was still snoring. First thing first, check the horses. They were mostly flat out after their exertions.......!

Lovely breakfast of barbecued bacon (well, the nearest you can get from Lidl) and Tess’s chook eggs. She knows which bird laid which egg so the SNO was able to choose which one to have.  Levered the OH out of bed to go and buy bread. He then announced he was off running for most of the day but as he had presumably imagined that I’d have known telepathically to pack his running gear, he’d need to take the car to go back home and fetch it. Suggestions that he just run home were met with a frosty glare......

As soon as the kids woke up they immediately wanted to saddle up the poor horses and go jumping. We delivered the obligatory lecture about resting them and putting their welfare first etc. To alleviate the sulking we went to check out the TREC course in the woods.

We sat around for the rest of the day occasionally creaking to our feet to go and make tea. Tess bought me this brilliant book for my birthday about 2 women who rode all the way from Canterbury to Santigo de Compostela on their Appaloosas. I immediately want to do something similar, the idea of leaving the OH and the kids behind for months is very appealing, but I suspect we’ll have to wait a few years. To qualify for membership of the Long Riders Guild you have to have done a minimum of 1000 miles in a single journey. Tess and I started idly planning it anyway....
At around tea time, a birthday cake arrived, home baked by Tess. It was too windy to light the candles (no, there weren’t 43 of them) so I pretended to blow them out. We ate it with more cups of tea.

Then the outside caterers (or Gary as he’s known) showed up with a barbecue and enough food to feed an army. This is just as well because he and Tess’s OH had disgorged an army of small boys and bicycles from their cars. We moved on to wine and beer (my OH having thoughtfully brought two crates of Belgian beer along). Gary served up kebabs with all the trimmings and the ravenous hordes made it disappear in short order. The OH finally staggered in looking somewhat the worse for wear after 15 miles. Think the mid life crisis obsession is getting a bit out of hand......

As the evening wore on, we caught up the somewhat surprised horses and saddled them ready for the night ride.

They didn’t look impressed, frankly. We set off into the dusk following our guide, Aude. We rode through the vines, having a canter as night fell, then went on into the woods in the dark. The kids made all sorts of spooky noises and we concentrated on not getting impaled on low branches. We stopped by a house and thankfully the inhabitants seemed to know Aude so presumably weren’t too surprised to see a bunch of horses arrive at 10.30 at night.

The horses didn’t seem to mind the night ride, Maverick was significantly better behaved in the dark than in the daylight, Gandalf wasn’t too happy to be at the back though and kept scurrying along to plant his nose in Seraphina’s tail.

Back to the campsite after a fun two hours, the only problem being that the moon stayed firmly hidden behind the clouds the whole way. The OHs seemed to have polished off most of the 2 crates of wine and were well into “talking bollocks” mode, but there was plenty of wine left for us.

So we drank more wine and eventually went to bed........

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