Thursday 1 July (Cone Day)
Notgrove to Kineton
We had an amazing day with Harry and Diana Acland and their daughter Bella. In the morning I took the dog for a long walk in the park. We then had to try to get breakfast! There was a problem – the BBC had arrived to film 'Father Brown' and there were people everywhere and vans and more vans and mobile loos – Harry and Diana just let them take over the house and they go off on their normal daily duties. There was a great atmosphere and everyone was very chatty. Harry and Diana have a gorgeous Blood Hound called Marbles. Oscar was grooming the boys and had left the back of our trailer down. He came back to find empty dog tins and dog packets strewn all over the drive! Marbles had been in the trailer sniffing out food and had caused mayhem! After a coffee at the Nuttery (coffee shop) which they call the HUB (rather than the PUB as it doesn't sell alcohol!) and then harnessed up the boys. We drove the boys down to the Hub and Diana donned her purple helmet which had an even bigger pom pom than mine! And drove down with us. She is so enthusiastic! We then set off – this was definitely the most challenging day for 'the boys' as very soon we found ourselves going down such a steep hill that we literally had to 'tack' across the road to stop the boys from slipping. At the end of this we had an impossibly steep hill up the other side – Now, the boys know that if they see a traffic cone that means a treat. So Oscar walked ahead part of the way up the hill and eventually the boys could not resist the chance of a treat. We stopped a little way up the hill and this lady hangs out of her window. 'Are you collecting for something?' she shouts – when we tell her she came rushing out and we had a long chat – her father had MS and gradually everything packed up and he couldn't do anything and died aged 67. We eventually persuaded the boys to continue up the hill and at the top this van stops and a lady starts to cry. 'My brother has MS' she said ' he is getting very bad now' – she eventually got out of the van to get a photo and we discover that she used to Carriage Drive and also was an editor for the magazing 'Carriage Driving' – she now runs courses on foraging and was on her way for a meeting at Notgrove!! Rachael had found a good picnic spot at the end of a golf course. The problem was they were also building 'Gallops' in the area next to the golf course. This enormous articulated lorry was reversing his lorry into the small track off this tiny single track road to deliver 'stuff' for the builders of the Gallops. It was amazing how he managed to reverse such a big truck in such a small space.
We had a delicious lunch while the boys munched grass. A few golfers came up and had a chat and one of them made a donation. The remainder of the 5 mile journey to Kineton was very undulating, but luckily none of the hills were as bad as the first two.
Sally-Ann Morrissey and her husband Mickey greeted us. We followed the usual routine of settling the boys in their stable and doing their hooves. After being fed we watched them both have a jolly good roll. We then all sat round on their sunny patio sipping tea and chatting. A wonderful day.