Tag Archives: horse riding

Scaredy Cat

Last weekend turned out to be very horsey. Apart from my usual Sunday morning riding lesson, I spent Saturday at the races (and even won a whole £2.50) then Sunday afternoon I went to watch some eventing at the local equestrian college. I’ve always loved horses, in fact I love pretty much all animals apart from spiders, wasps, and Mr F’s cat. Don’t get me wrong, on the whole I would count myself as a cat person. Just not with this particular one. If it’s not whinging for food, or throwing up, it’s shedding hair everywhere or spreading litter all over the house. You can’t do anything in our house without the cat getting in the way. If you try and read the paper she has to sit on it as soon as you put it down, if I get my laptop out she’ll try and walk across the keyboard in an attempt to stop any work being done. Every time you move somehow she manages to get in the way.15799936

Now before anyone calls the RSPCA on me I should point out that this dislike is entirely mutual. Since Mr F’s cat became part of the household, me and the cat have tolerated each other. However it is definitely an mutual tolerance not a friendship. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the
night and the cat will be sat on top of me just staring. I recently saw a book called ‘How to tell if your cat is planning to kill you’ and I’m pretty certain it must have been written by Mr F’s Cat.

A few months ago we really thought she was on the way out. She had stopped eating and could barely walk. She couldn’t even climb the stairs let alone jump up onto the bed. This of course was a blessing for me (although Mr F was obviously rather upset) so with a bit of a spring in my step, we once more dutifully tramped along to the vet where we are regular visitors. The waiting room was full of yapping rats (they may have been dogs), but rather excitedly there was a nice large poster advertising kittens needing good homes. As I say it’s only one cat in particular I don’t like, so I made a note of the number and started planning what we’d need for the new pet.

Of course what I hadn’t planned on was the deviousness of cats. It took thirty seconds from the Vet placing the cat on the floor to her making a miraculous recovery and leaping up onto the table in a jumping display that William Fox-Pitt would have been proud of. You could see the smugness in her eyes. Not only did we now look stupid in front of the vet who clearly thinks we are some deranged mad couple that just like taking their cat out, she’d managed to get my hopes up just to dash them down again. To make matters worse we seem to have found a Vet that won’t even take bribes – I didn’t specifically say I wanted her put down I was just sounding out the scene when Mr F was on holiday but the Vet was having none of it.

I suppose the problem is animals are like people, there are some you like and some you don’t like. One of the horses I ride has clearly got a moody side and has been known to take a chunk out of people she doesn’t like. Yet at least with animals like horses they are kept outside and you are safe from any murderous tendencies they may have. With cats you can just never tell. I think it’s time to start sleeping with one eye open.



Filed under Hobbies

An advancement of learning

This year at the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writers Festival Eddie Izzard was special guest. Whilst his link to crime writing might have been tenuous (he is friends with Mark Billingham and appears in the TV version of Hannibal) he turned out to be really interesting and quite inspiring. One of the things that he says is that he tries to learn a new skill every year which I think is something to aspire to. His examples included running 43 marathons in 43 days and learning Arabic so he can give his stand up routine in the language.

Last year I started horse riding again after a gap of approximately 20 (and a bit!) years. As a child I spent most of my time mucking out and going out hacking round the fields rather than actually learning properly. This time round it is all a bit more serious and I’m actually learning how to ride properly. The past couple of weeks have been very exciting as I’ve been learning to jump. Admittedly I suspect people would say I was just staying on top of a horse rather than actually jumping but the thing is I don’t care because I love it. I have probably lost my chance at riding in the Olympics therefore it doesn’t matter that I’m not very good because it’s all just for fun.

I think a lot of the reason people don’t learn new things is fear of failure or embarrassment. As a child we are constantly learning and it’s seen as the norm. Clearly as a child we are expected to not know most stuff therefore we can accept that we have to learn. As an adult we spend so much of our time at work pretending that we know everything about our jobs (or is that just me?) that I think people forget that they don’t know things and it’s ok to learn.

I’ve always enjoyed learning new things, and am happy to admit that I don’t know a lot of stuff. I think it is helped partly by the fact I have very little in the way of competitive spirit. Even as a child I had no interest in competitive sports – when I was in nursery (or primary clearly I can’t remember that far back) apparently during a race in school sports day I was in the lead but stopped to wait for my friend ultimately losing. It’s probably a good job I haven’t got pushy parents who forced me into sports I would have been such a disappointment.

I think that all adults would be happier if they accepted the point of learning something new is that you are not supposed to be any good at it to start with. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve not done something because I might not be any good or might be embarrassed. Running is a great example that I put off for ages in case everyone laughed at me as I jogged (or walked) round our local park. It took me a good while to realise that no one is looking. The only people who look at other people trying to run are those that are runners and without fail are remembering a time they started out and were not any good. Therefore I think it’s time to all embrace our inner Eddie Izzard and learn something new and not care if we are no good at it. As long as we enjoy it. I may give learning Arabic a miss though.

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Filed under Hobbies, running, Theakstons Festival