Ben's first lesson was last Tuesday and luckily the sun shone and everything was hunkydory. No tears (although he was pretty chatty in the car so I think he was a bit nervous) and straight into it, getting along really well with the instructor and loving his 1/2 hour. As soon as he came out he asked to have an hour's lesson next time!
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School work as we know it is very hit and miss at the mo. Maths seems to be the only work that takes place every day but we've also thrown in some Latin, cooking and cultural work too. We looked into the origins of the word Easter which we found interesting and read about the Queen's very full life before watching a couple of You Tube vids showing the birthday gun salute. We've also started watching Walking with Beasts which we taped from the Eden channel as well as the BBC1's Horrible Histories series on Thursday afternoons. Katie and Ben both seem to enjoy cooking and we did have a cooking frenzy the other day. Katie made chocolate rock cakes (to sell for charity at our group planning meeting) and ultra yummy peppermint creams. Ben made delicious chocolate covered fairy cakes. Do love the way they are both now able to get on and bake things themselves - so grown up!
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A sure sign that the warmer weather is here - we've dusted off the bikes for some local cycling. Found a very idyllic spot last week and spent the whole afternoon lazing on the banks of one of the many streams close to us. Ben and Katie took turns to wear Katie's wellies for some stream paddling which turned out to be "quick" mud paddling. Squelching through the mud seemed brilliant fun, but eventually the mud became too strong in its pull and Katie fell over in it! No lost wellies (or children I should add). Lovely just to lay in the long grass listening to the various sounds of nature: bees, flies (OK, they aren't so nice), ducks, tractors and bird song. We have been hearing the most beautiful bird song around here and at the stables and finally tracked down that it most possibly belongs to a Skylark (using this RSPB tool here).
We have spotted 10 Swallows flying around and nesting at the stables as well as a lot of Pied Wagtails (one of my favourites).
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Lots of veggie seed sowing (see the picture of Ben above, lots of seedlings lining the windowsill) and gardening has been taking place too. Check out The Garden Plot to catch up.
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Katie took part in another horse show yesterday. This one was at her riding stables and was just showjumping. Started off on her favourite horse Icy for the clear round and managed to complete this on her second attempt (and won a rosette). There seemed to be some confusion for her next jumping class as she initially seemed to be booked to continue to Icy but at the last minute (literally as she was about to go into the ring) the judge said the pony was too big and she needed to tack up Jack a 12.3hh little'un. Not very fare for Katie or Jack as it meant he wasn't properly warmed up before being jumped. Katie did fabulously well with Jack just refusing one jump and so Katie pleaded to enter the next level up, still on Jack however. Next class the jumps were raised to 2 foot and she, together with the other two competitors, got a clear round. When it came to the jump off Katie lost her stirrup close to the end and then the pony decided to play up and the saddle slipped, taking Katie with it! I guess the saddle slip could have been avoided, we both tried to tighten it as best we could but it is a known fact that saddles and horses settle after some work (especially jumping) so it could have come loose during the competition. Katie, naturally, was fed up with herself for not doing too well, but after a hour's ride on AJ in the afternoon she's already looking forward to the next competition in June and there's talk of another show for her and AJ at the end of May. Think I need to start saving my pennies.