Monday, November 23, 2009

Silent spring

While I've been tapping away, evening is falling....

And Wendy has headed for the garden again....

It was going to be a quiet spring

It’s not.

The bathroom, which will not be (has not been) finished on time in spite of the brave efforts of all the ‘house’ tradesmen and Richard the Revamper, thanks to the dilatoriness of the glassmakers, has of course been the Big Thing. But hopefully, in another five days, they will be all done and I will be able to revel in my lovely new waterworld.
Of course, having the bathroom done brought in a builder, who noticed that my bedroom ceiling was sagging, which brought in someone who confirmed it had been rained on, which brought in an insurance lady who said that, actually, the whole house needed re-roofing. So in fourteen days time -- and, amazingly for here, I have found a roofer who commits to it! -- that will start to happen.
Careless of all possibilities – roof, ceiling, works to come – I and a few bits of furniture have moved back to camp out into my soon-to-be-beautiful bedroom, and even if I have to sleep with a crash helmet on, I’m not moving!
Of course, now that the bathroom and bedroom are so incipiently swell.. I’m looking a metre down the corridor at what could make me a nice dressing room..
Well, who needs a second bedroom? No-one ever comes to stay!

New Zealand’s other tradesmen run true to Kiwi form. The man who was supposed to remake my drive hasn’t been heard from in six weeks, so today I pulled the plug. The man who is supposed to do the trees is equally incommunicado. Of course, they all want to be paid in five minutes (or in advance) when they do come.. The ‘contractors’ must all be awfully rich, here, the way they treat the folk who pay. Not me. no more.

On the horse front – and what other front is there? -- Duchess is being lined up for her insemination. When she had her pre-service check-up, Douchelette (one month old this week) came into the crush with her and, amazingly, eventually permitted us a first pat or three … her baby fur has gone, alas, and she now looks as if she’s been brylcreemed. Bt still beautiful.

Elena has been to the races again, at Timaru, and did better, but can still do much better. In a decidedly fast run race (they broke the two-minute mile) she started well and finished well, but got a bit lost in the middle stages. She missed the 5th prize of $125 by a nose!

D’Arcy has been bundled (literally) into Murray’s float to go off to Motukarara and his ‘finishing school’, where Fritzl and Seppl are already in training.. He was a bit bemused by the moving (edible?) room …

Ténor goes to qualify in France on Thursday, and today little Aussie Livia got her name registered and was entered for Australia’s rich Breeder’s Crown series. Well, one can dream! Livia, alas, will be Livia Degerolstein, as Australia is stingy with the number of letters and spaces you are allowed, and won’t permit cases, or apostrophes. The Victorian authorities rang me up today to ask what the name meant! Do you think they might have thought it was rude? Doesn’t everyone know where Gerolstein is?

But hey! At last most of our horses are doing something!

Which means it has no chance of being a quiet spring. And what about summer!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A room with a loo


We are getting there .. today the utilities were installed..

Richard Revamp has almost kept to his promise to be on time...

But the folks making the opaque glass walls for the shower are going to nut him. Apparently they work at a leisurely pace. At their price, I'm rather surprised..

Oh, how I long to get my bedroom and nightlife back in order!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Horse progress

Well, the day has been and gone. Elena went to the races. We haven’t come home from Ashburton jubilantly bearing a prize – Elena finished 11th – but with some motives for satisfaction. The result isn’t as bad as it sounds.
Firstly, she behaved. She went away well from her second line draw (see pic, she’s the yellow one) and, even though they went a cracking pace over the first half mile she went along with them. However, up front, there was a deal of cat-and-mouse going on, and during one of the sudden slowings of the pace, Elena .. tightly enclosed on the rails in the large field … got squashed for space, ennerved and ran out for a few strides. She made the ground back, but .. she wasn’t comfortable in there. And her hood had come adrift. Into the straight she was still in the middle of the field, and she trucked on past one or two of the fading ones and being passed by the fast finishers from the rear…
John, the driver, said she had done fine, and she will doubtless do better next time. But we have begun. After all this time, we have at least begun.

Back at home (where the bathroom and bedroom had been painted in our absence), it was time to turn the spotlight on baby D’Arcy. He is scheduled to leave us for his ‘finishing school’ at Motukarara this week, so it was time to teach him to walk into the barn. This is not a simple thing. Babies (a) don’t want to go ‘in’ places and (b) they have never experienced concrete under their feet. Last year it took ¾ hour and the threat of a mighty 4x2 to get little Mikie in, and finally we had bodily to winch him in.

So D’Arcy was walked down the racetrack, round the corner, up to the barn where big Boofie was acting as bait and .. wonder of wonders -- he simply walked straight in!
So he got his photo taken ‘on concrete’ (which he quickly discovered isn’t too much fun to scrape with your unshod hoofs) and I was in wonderment as to how he has grown since he was that wee boy with the bandage on his knee, just one year ago!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Kurt's Folly and the Cup

While the New Zealand Cup was running... life didn't stop! The tiles are down in the Best Bathroom Ever, and the man has been measuring up the glass walls... Progress photos are rather difficult to take, as my lens isn;t up to it... but these are the two ends .. the green waterseal will be covered with opaque beige glass panels..
well, wait for the next instalment and you will see

As for Cup Day, well my tipping wasn't so bad after all. A super win for Monkey King in the Cup, an ALMOST for Running on Time in the big trot, a fourth for Explosive Turk, a superb second for Fake Chance, and the day finished in glory when dear Raggy simply murdered a fine field in the last race. And when I went to my archive, I don't even have a picture of him .. not even as a baby .. with which to decorate this post.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hey lads, it's the Coop!

Well, here we are at New Zealand’s biggest harness racing week of the year. Most of the best horses in New Zealand will be up against each other this week, starting with Tuesday…

If I say that, hopefully, we will be starting on Thursday, I don’t mean we’ll be part of it. Only once, ever, with dear little Dodo (Master Ado) have I had a horse run in The Cup Meeting. While all the tenors are fighting it out in Christchurch, we are going to shimmy 50 kilometres south to Ashburton, to give Elena her first race day start in slightly less town-hall company. Unfortunately, some of the big guns have the same idea, but hey .. you have to race!

Anyway, Tuesday the big boys will be up and I thought I might try to give you some tips. As with everything, except musical and theatrical history, my heart gets in the way of my head, so I’ll just give you my list of ‘I would love them to win and if I ever was a bettor (which I ain’t) I would back..’s.

Race one: De Gaulle .. a great man and a very nice horse owned by very nice people
Race four: Fake Chance for a place. The superstar favourite, who should be in the Cup, has ruined this race for the second echelon
Race six: torn between Running on Time, potentially one of the very best trotters in NZ, and The Fat Controller who is the uncle of our Duchess…
Race eight: Kotare Mach. Hot favourite, but we love the Kotares (our one is just across there in the paddock)
Race nine: Ronnie Coute .. GO RONNIE! (another relation)
Race 10: the cup. They unfairly denied Special Ops a start, so I’ll be cheering for the Monkey King. But anyone can win (and I pick Australia 1-2-3) as long as – and I have most of the right-thinking racing world with me in this -- its not that toxicomane called Changeover
Race eleven: sneaky outsider tip of the day: Passion and Glory (a little bird…)
Race twelve: Oh! Raggy! The ‘family’ horse… could he? might he? Cross your fingers for Raglan. (Alas he’s up against another horse I love called Second Wind, so maybe its quinella time)

And cheers for M J Fulham, Biella Star, Explosive Turk and all the other pals… but please, don’t spoil the Cup Carnival for me on Day One: no Changeover

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

4th November again already..

Three years today.
It feels like ten.

All my love,

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The birth of a bathroom


It's happening
Now it looks like a room at least..