Tuesday 31 July 2012

Equestrian Beauty

It has been a busy few days! The opening ceremony on Friday night started the weekend off well-I loved it! Then on Saturday morning we were up early to walk across the heath to Greenwich Park. We were helped on our way by a soldier who told us the nearest entrance, then we were greeted at various points by happy smiling people-volunteers and more soldiers. We wandered through the park, a totally changed environment with fences and jumps, and the giant arena at the bottom. It was strange to be somewhere so familiar yet unfamiliar. We were there early, so had time for some breakfast before going in to see the dressage. I know what dressage is of course, but had never taken a huge interest in it, and avoided having a go when I was on a riding holiday aged 10, as I thought I would not be able to do it. We were pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable the whole thing was. We soon got into the scoring and technical terms and began to think we knew what to look for. It was only on Sunday when watching the second day of dressage that I began to understand a little more about the different movements the horse does-basically walk, trot and canter, but either collected or extended. I loved seeing them do the extended trot, and a lovely movement where they trot on the diagonal with their legs crossing over. The move I like the best is when they change their leading leg in the air-a flying change I think that is called. All the horses and riders were amazing, whatever their scores. Horses are such beautiful creatures and such a pleasure to watch. I make no apologies for the amount of pictures here-I took so many! My trusty zoom lens came in handy as we were sitting at the very top left hand back corner of the arena. It was a great seat as we had a view of the riders entering and leaving the arena, which added interest and many more pictures!
Olympic flags seen through the clover on Blackheath.
Just look at the view! The weather stayed dry on Saturday, though it did not on Sunday, and one of the British riders rode in torrential rain and did really well!
A bell rings, the little fence is moved back, and the riders then have 45 seconds to enter the dressage area. They ride around the outside of the area before this.
I loved the part where they did their little bow to the judges. This is one of the moves they are marked on-the horse must be perfectly still for this.
This horse is doing the extended trot I think.

One of the Japanese riders just after dismounting.
I think this horse is doing a collected canter. The horse is Ringwood Magister, ridden by Tina Coudray for the USA. The horses follow a route involving lots of turns. They go perilously close to the little fence.
This is Nicola Wilson of team GB on Opposition Buzz.
When he went out of the arena he had some fans waiting, so he went over for a little chat!

This is Mary King from the British team. This is her fifth Olympics! I was very impressed by the amount of older riders in this sport-the ages ranged rom 20 to 53. No ageism in Equestrian Eventing!

I say it has been a busy few days, as I have been glued to the telly watching the rest of the eventing. The second day of dressage on Sunday, the cross-country yesterday-thrilling, scary and amazing, and the show jumping today! You probably already know, but just in case you don't-Germany got gold in the team event, GB got silver and New Zealand got bronze. The individual eventing gold was won by Michael Jung of Germany (and today is his birthday too!), the silver by Sara Algotsonn Ostholt of Sweden and the bronze by Sandra Auffarth of Germany. The medal ceremony was lovely and I felt quite emotionally involved with the whole thing! The Princess Royal presented the team medals, giving one to her daughter Zara Philips-who was riding in her first Olympics on a beautifully named horse-High Kingdom.
As we left the park and went into Greenwich, the sun was shining and catching the flags. The Cutty Sark sailed on a bed of wild flowers and we enjoyed our sandwiches before going home to have a long nap!
There is more Equestrian sport to come I am happy to say! Although it is not as good as being there, it is not bad sitting on my sofa crocheting, drinking coffee and watching horses!

Friday 27 July 2012

News of a Tea Party....

...from far away in Arizona. The news was carried by a little rabbit with an enormous bag of old watch pieces. He scattered them on the table, asked his important question-''Can you come?'' then ran off super fast. We heard his name is Usain Bunny but I don't know if that was just the Cheshire cat (who is very slow and a little lazy) just having a joke. As the rabbit bolted, a little piece of paper fell from his pocket-the one where he keeps his watch I think. On it, in tiny but very neat handwriting, were some directions, written in rhyme.
''Follow the trail of glittery feet,
of sunflowers, dancers and doggies sweet,
Ask for Vanessa and then you will meet,
The magical tea party lady.'' 
We got our best lace and dresses out, fed the horses, polished the silver and set off.
It was a long journey, through fragrant fields, and past giant furry monsters with big teeth and claws, who would run away at a strange rattling sound from inside the giant's house.

Please join us for a while, and have some tea and cake,  before you fly away to A Fanciful Twist, to see what surprises are waiting there...

Thank you Vanessa, for hosting another mad tea party!


This is a little cut through near me that you would not know was there from the road. The area is fenced off, so whatever animals live there are protected from humans and dogs. It is one of those little forgotten areas you find in cities, which seem to be becoming rarer as more and more land is developed. The weather has become a bit damp and humid today which is good weather to go through woodland as it smells so good! I was on the way back from the hairdressers quite early this morning.

Thursday 26 July 2012


A mixture of pictures with all sorts of subjects and no links except they are from today. We didn't go to Hastings in the end, as my friend felt it was too far and too hot. So we went to Rochester instead.
 A tangle of poppies, verbena and fennel surround the one big sunflower that has survived the snails. Though I see they have had a little go at one of the leaves.
 Small wooden people enjoying the sun. They may have to live more under cover if the rain returns.
 Cassie off to the roof. She loves it up there, prowling around and looking down on all of us. She jumps from the corner of the roof onto the decking, which makes a very big thump and does not look very safe at all.
 A man who could be Father Christmas holidaying in Rochester. The ivy covered house is amazing-almost like the ivy has eaten it.
 Rochester was extremely busy and we almost didn't find a parking place, even though we were there quite early. I guessed something must be going on, but it was only later that we realised there was a graduation ceremony at the cathedral, as lots of students in caps and gowns appeared. The Olympic bunting was looking pretty in the sun.

 Two cats in a window.
 Two glitter balls in a window.
The title of this book tickled me with its anthropomorphic spin. 
 I liked the cover of this book, but restrained myself from buying it as it looked a bit dull.
 I also didn't buy these-£12! Too much. But I liked them! The wolf looks so jolly. Mr Wolf was the favourite baddy in my class this year.

 Torch bearer, torch and Royals.  The torch is nearly there, and the olympics are nearly here. Tomorrow we are staying in to watch the opening ceremony, then on Saturday we are going to our only event, the equestrian eventing in Greenwich park.
A recent journal page-my journals have been a bit sparse recently and have mainly turned more into sketch books. This is a moleskin book with watercolour paper-it is lovely! The drawing is of four of my china poodle collection. The one with the quizzical head and flappy ears has a moveable head. The one on the left is my first ever china poodle. He is some kind of Dutch liquer bottle. The second from the left is just white china and the one on the right is pink. Very fifties dressing table looking.
I don't know what it is about them but I love them. There is such a variety around.