I’ve been trying to think: what have I done this summer? Have I done all the family stuff I intended?

 Well, I spent a fair amount of time with my youngest son. I took him riding a couple of times a week, and dragged him, protesting, with me every time I had to go out and do some jobs. We played a lot of ‘yellow car’, an annoying and yet compulsive game where every time you see a yellow car you shout “yellow car!” and that last person to say it gets a pinch. Towards the end of the hols Will had introduced the yellow mini variation, which means last one gets a double pinch.

We got stuck in the July floods on our way to Cornwall. There were no passable routes to the south west on the night of July 20, and we know because we tried all of them. Eventually my husband admitted (temporary) defeat and we found a layby (on a hill!) where we could park the caravan and get a few hours kip. I was extremely relieved as I am not good with flood water. I was traumatised by the story of Noah back when I was 10, and if on flat ground I always keep my eyes peeled for a higher contour – I’m terribly twitchy when I’m on holiday near the Norfolk coast. We finally got on to the M5 at 11am on Saturday morning and drove slowly past a long line of abandoned cars, where edging gravel was washed all across the carriageway, and then over the River Avon just below Junction 8. Normally it is barely noticeable beneath the motorway; on this day it was about half a mile wide and filling the valley. On our way home, 11 days later, the river was back in its bed but very smelly mud had been left behind.

What else have I done? Well, I’ve read a lot (see previous post) and also made several trips to the library in an attempt to keep my book buying habit in check. I found two books by Margery Allingham, who had been recommended by a friend. The Tiger in the Smoke was absolutely amazing, almost a spiritual read, as well as being a cracking crime story. Flowers for the Judge was good, much lighter, but I think comedy has changed somewhat since the 1930s (when these were written) as although I enjoyed it I didn’t find it particularly funny whereas the reviewers’ comments claimed it was ‘vivid and witty’. I think I will buy Tiger  for my sister’s birthday. Give her a book and a big packet of biscuits and she is very happy.

I was family groom at the Dales Pony Society performance show. My youngest brother’s girlfriend rode Waterside Alick (Duke’s full brother) and my sister organised her friend Pam (nearly 50 and never competed in a horse show!) into entering on Tinker. So we had a great time cheering Pam on, and were also pleasantly surprised by Alick’s enthusiasm for jumping. He would stand outside the ring, seemingly asleep, then on got Lizzie (petite, blond and shy) who would growl “gerron Alick” and he snapped to attention and flew round every course put in front of him! I desperately want to get to more horse events but my weekends are booked up for several months to come. I may have to sneak off down to London to see the Dales pony class at Olympia on December 20. I offered to take my husband with me, but he said he couldn’t possibly be off work the week before Christmas even when I promised to take him to the Imperial War Museum. So, a lone trip it is then.