I take my safety seriously, especially when travelling. It’s not a lottery. I am responsible for me. I have had my fair share of accidents in the past, in cars and on horses and these, along with other incidents, have prompted a radically different way of thinking and behaving today. For instance, when I was … More It’s all in the mind
The most amazing thing has happened. Lomax is back! You may recall I told you previously about a feral cat that I become very attached to. He fell ill and I nursed him until the end. Through my tears on the last day I asked him to come back to me. I had had this … More The reincarnation of Lomax
How we experience nature is a very personal thing. My own connection has been largely a result of a radical change of lifestyle – a metamorphosis from ‘city professional’ to ‘semi-feral’ and born out of necessity. However it happens, it has the power to create an elevated sense of self, heightened consciousness of the world … More Connecting with nature (podcast)
Observing my cat, Bryngwyn, got me thinking. My ever present ‘assistant’ was helping me muck out the horses’ stables (in truth, he was more a hindrance, as he buries his pooh in the bed which is difficult to find and otherwise ends up on the bottom of my boot) and went to great lengths to … More A peculiar type of logic
Christmas is a non-event for me. Partly because I live on my own in the middle of nowhere but also because it really has ‘lost the plot’ and become a season of extreme commercialisation and over-indulgence. I admit, I like to have lunch with family or friends if that’s logistically possible, which it was this … More Let there be light!
I have two guiding philosophies regards staying safe in life. The first is to ‘control the controllables’. For me, this is highlighted by living remotely on my own though, in the past, it was was also a key component of my preparation in sport, rowing at international level early on in life and, more recently, … More Controlling the controllables
Yesterday was a very sad day and a lot of tears were shed over poor Lomax. The vet was coming to put the old horse, Sovereign, to sleep. He had been on loan as a companion for Talisman for the last few months but at 36 (which is an exceptional age for a horse) he … More Inconsolable
I gawped in amazement at yet another stunning sunset and was filled with wonderment at how every sunset is unique and exquisite. One of the only advantages of the short winter days is that I am outside feeding the animals at sundown and able to enjoy the natural ‘wall to wall art’ which is omnipresent … More Our true human nature
For 15 years, I abstained from a daily intake of news. I didn’t even have a telly for most of that time. The only connection with a world beyond my own life was a magazine called ‘The Week’ – a 40 minute read which summarised all the key global news from the previous 7 days, … More A love-hate relationship with the news
Goodbye Rose, hello Sovereign! Rose has been replaced by veteran ex-dressage horse Sovereign who is 36 years young. I have known about Sovereign from the start of my search for a suitable companion for Talisman, 10 months ago but was reluctant to take him due to his age and the fact he had been in … More Don’t ask, don’t get!
Talisman’s next friend (number 5 in 10 months) was Polly, a small but rotund little person from just up the road. I was hoping she would be ‘Polly Perfect’ but it was not to be. She was great with Talisman and he adored her though, in fairness, he adores all friends. But when I took … More Solving life’s puzzles
Glorious sunshine continued for several weeks, so much so that I came to expect it to be the first thing to greet me each morning. I even started fantasising about what it would be like to live in a warmer climate where sunny weather is the norm. Sadly, it’s now back to a mix of … More The poetry factor
This is a very big question! For me, spirituality is on a spectrum from practical applications in every day life to full-blown esoteric. My spiritual journey began age 17 and has become an increasingly big part of me as time has gone on. It’s a never-ending pursuit……in this life time and others. There is nothing … More What is spirituality? (podcast)
I can live happy at both ends of the spectrum. Expansive, extrovert and in the centre of civilisation was how I lived during the first 20 years of my career. Building a business in London took that and more. It was full on, day and night and the never ending challenges provided never ending learning … More Conflicted!
‘Walking your talk’ is one of the hardest things in life. Talking is the easy bit – thinking, living and being ‘it’ on a consistent basis is much more difficult (perhaps the subject of another ‘spiritual musing’ video). So when a large number of extremely irritating small issues recently threatened my equilibrium (wrecked it, to … More Counting my blessings
It feels more like spring now, the daffs are out, the lambs are bleating and the temperature has risen. However, following rain of biblical proportions which arrived after an epic melting of the epic snow, the ground is saturated which means grass turnout for the boys has been limited. I am expecting things to change … More Serendipity
Things deteriorated. The wind swirled relentlessly day and night and heavy snow continued to fall, whipping itself into drifts of 10 to 15 feet in some areas. Bizarrely, other areas had almost no snow at all. It was surreal. The drive looked like a frozen sea with huge waves coming over the hedge and … More Concluding euphoria
….I can’t think of any right now, except that I have survived (so far) the indescribable Siberian weather. Snow arrived three days ago and has continued mercilessly, along with arctic gales (‘feels like’ minus 14 even during the day) while blizzards rage. Fortunately, as soon as things started to deteriorate, I jumped in the car … More Reasons to be cheerful?!
It’s been another challenging few weeks of ups and downs, frustrations and the odd triumph. The relentless bad weather continued with more bouts of snow and acute cold, followed by rain of biblical proportions turning the ground into a bog! My photographer friend learned how to use the fairly sophisticated video camera I have (which … More What a palava!
I was reduced to tears of frustration yesterday with yet another challenge of living remotely – failed internet. The trauma of having no internet for several days (and therefore no phone or mobile connection either) was bad enough but the exasperation of dealing with an utterly dysfunctional internet provider makes this pale into insignificance. Hours … More Technology sucks
The weather continues to define daily life! Basically, it’s been rubbish – either unbearably cold, torrential rain, sleet, snow, ice or gales or a combination of all of these at any one time. Riding has happened where and when it has been safe(-ish) to do so! There were a few dry days in the middle … More Foreign correspondent
Here are a few lines reflecting on my own metamorphosis (especially since moving to the wilds of Wales) – I wrote it as a poem to usher in 2018: Only one thing is certain And that is – life will change. Ups, downs and challenges Will bring the full range. It’s never easy, We … More Metamorphosis
New Year in this part of Wales is currently being ushered in with more ridiculous weather! Arctic gales and horizontal rain have persisted all day, progressively getting worse and our third bout of snow in so many weeks came and went last night. Not a snowflake was in evidence at 10pm when I tucked the … More No more Mr Nice Guy!
Finally, the elements have swung the other way. It’s now pouring with rain and the temperature has risen to just above zero, so the snow is receding and there is evidence of life beneath! However, this brings another set of challenges. If it freezes tonight, the ground will be utterly treacherous and once the snow … More The big thaw
It’s finally stopped snowing, the gale has ceased and the sun is shining making the snow sparkle brilliantly. I can breathe again. Better still, I have dug a ‘path to freedom’ for the horses. My original plan was to get the small tractor out and create a set of tram lines down the yard and … More The path to freedom
Today we have serious snow which makes life challenging with the horses and out on the yard and it is changing minute by minute from brilliant sunshine to whiteouts. How extraordinary, beautiful (and cruel) is nature?! Late last night before the white stuff arrived though, while it was blowing a gale and painfully cold another, … More Secret lives
The search for a suitable companion for Talisman continued and in the end, helped by fellow equestrians, I went to see a few local candidates and chose a lovely little Welsh Section A x B mare called Pip who’s 8 years old, in rude good health and very cute! She hasn’t been handled much, though … More No more surprises
Kitchen decorating is complete and while I never want to do battle with the flexible filler or wield a paint brush again, I do love the result. Two adjoining rooms make up the total kitchen space with an old Rayburn in the front area and a shiny new biomass boiler (which doubles as a cooker) … More An agonising decision
While more Welsh weather sets in and a gale blows outside, the painting continues inside. It’s been a steep learning curve as I was a ‘decorating virgin’ when I came to the property but I am discovering the best techniques to apply different paints to a variety of surfaces on-the-hoof, so to speak! I have … More No longer a virgin!
Summer has evaporated following several weeks of never-ending rain. The ground is soggy, the horses are shedding their summer coats and sprouting fluffy winter ones and the long summer evenings have been replaced by dark wintry nights. I have been amazed by how quickly the seasons have changed this year but ‘one mustn’t grumble’ as … More Transformations
Was it the fact my head was still in ‘building works’ mode and I was exhausted from the constant noise, mess and relentless cleaning, so I wasn’t my normal mentally alert and physically sharp self? Things should have been finished the previous weekend but ended up spilling over into ‘planning and packing’ purdah just before … More Crunch time
‘Oh my God’, there has been mess! This tests me as I don’t do mess AT ALL but I am staying focused on the end place which is a total facelift for the kitchen. I have a front and a back kitchen (don’t ask why!) and both are in a state of unbelievable naffness and … More Let there be light!
Yesterday, it poured relentlessly after weeks of uncharacteristic continuous sunshine, so it was a question of picking the least bad time to ride. There wasn’t one and I ended up getting soaked right down to my hand-made New Zealand riding knickers (appropriately named Fanny Adams) and Talisman looked like a drowned rat! He has been … More Thrilling
‘A change is as good as a rest!’ Well, there certainly hasn’t been any of the latter since returning from the competition, though I am having a week off training which does feel like a let-up, while Talisman has 10 days as a field ornament before coming back into work to prepare for his third … More Oh mother!
How resilient is the human spirit……..The couple of weeks preceding the trip to Norfolk to compete in the 120K 2* were flat out. This is nothing new. On most days, my bottom only touches a seat when I am eating! So as I was trying to get fields topped to beat the unstoppable grass for … More Devastated
I am constantly surprised by the kindness of strangers who are prepared to help me in my moment of need…. The last few weeks have been up and down and just a little on the challenging side! Some of you will know that I had been trying to find a ‘good home’ for Horse Hero, … More Divine intervention
A feeling of connection to all things begs the big questions, ‘who are we, why are we here and where did we come from?…..The wild Welsh weather has shot to the other end of the spectrum and, for most of last week, we enjoyed a full blown heat-wave with temperatures up to 29 degrees. I am … More Battle of the bulge
It’s amazing what’s available if you know how to find it……Talisman rested after the competition and I had a week off training but that didn’t mean I had a rest from anything else. After a mountain of washing and cleaning for horse and rider, there was endless harrowing, rolling and topping to catch up on. … More Attention to every last detail
My life has been (and continues to be) one of perpetual motion which isn’t a bad thing from a fitness point of view, although it has other drawbacks! Since my teen years, sport has featured strongly. Initially, the usual things like school hockey and tennis (I also had a pony from the age of 11) … More Fit for purpose
It’s the journey that defines you….. It was full-on today and thank goodness the clocks changed back to summer time, as I needed every last drop of daylight. Half the day consisted of outside jobs (I can’t take credit for doing all of them myself). They included a first cut of the lawn, first strim … More Utterly exhilarating
Is patience another word for timing…….. I don’t know if it’s just me, or human nature but I don’t like transitions. I am an ‘all or nothing’ person. If I decide to make an important change in my life, I would rather change completely, ie. end one thing and start another! But life isn’t like … More Timing is everything
It’s a fine line…. I braved the elements today and snuck out up the ‘hill from hell’ between sleet and snow showers. Boy, it was arctic 500 feet up on the ridge! On the way back down, I got thinking about fitness training… I am less experienced than some at international level endurance but I … More Making it up as you go
The merits of a backup plan…. I am sitting in the eye of the storm typing. I have no power, therefore no phone, lights or water (as the borehole pump is out). There is a sink full of washing up which I can’t do and I can’t take a shower either – lovely, if you … More Carnage
I am the sum total of all my experience and don’t need hard evidence to prove it…. When I came out onto the yard this morning, the sun shone down on me which was a treat as the thermometer was only just above zero. I took this as a birthday gesture from ‘mother’ and with … More Happy birthday to me!
How lovely is it when you count your siblings amongst your best friends… My brother came to stay recently from London, along with his trusted hound who is adept at negotiating the Underground as well as main line trains and, of course, is always a great starting point of conversations with total strangers. I haven’t … More A particular type of madness
“The basic necessities of life are the most important things”… In researching whether attracting birds of prey to my land might act as a deterrent to pheasants (sadly they won’t), I came across ‘the bird man’. Mike volunteers for a nature charity in the area and one way and another, I ended up having 10 … More Kindred spirits
“You really have to value the people who are prepared to get ‘down and dirty’ with you”…. The winter turnout field is well and truly wrecked. That’s the whole idea but, even so, there came a point when I decided I would have to move the horses and improvise. My land is on a hill … More A cunning plan
“I felt as turbulent as the storm and found myself thoroughly questioning my rewilding life”…… I so very nearly lost the plot! It was the day from hell with extremities of Welsh weather including ice, snow storms and an arctic wind which made it crazy trying to do the horses. ‘Survival’ was the name of … More A question of survival
It was love at first sight! Just like falling in love with a man or a horse, something you can’t explain!… I live in an ancient farmstead. The yard features some very old farm buildings (now having a new lease of life providing for all my horsey needs). It includes an old fashioned milking parlour, … More Who found who?