…Of toddler groups, in case you were wondering. I have to get at least 80 womenwho have given birth in the last four years, preferably within the Mid-Yorks Hospitals Trust, to fill out my questionnaire. The best way I’ve come up with of finding them is to attend toddler groups. My head is throbbing with baby conversations. I WANT TO TALK TO ADULTS! ABOUT ADULT THINGS! Like this blasted project. So I think I may have to root out a few friends and say “We’re going out now. No refusals allowed!”

However time is at a premium, given that I spend all morning at said toddler groups, then come home for lunch and walking the dog, then do a bit of NCT work and class preparation. Before I know it my boys are coming in from school and I’m moving into ‘clean the house and make some tea’ time. I’ve written the bulk of my Method section but I need a plan for my Intro, and also to set up my data file. This is hampered by the fact that I can’t find the disc with the SPSS programme on it, and I also suspect the password will have run out so I’ll have to go in Leeds to pester the university IT department for a new one. But when do I find the time to drive into Leeds!

To top it all there’s a teachers’ strike tomorrow. It’s been called by the NUT because the Government refused to refer the proffered pay deal to an independent review body. Whilst I’m with them in principle, in practice I’m thinking 1) you’ve been offered more than most public sector workers, so what’re you griping about and 2) that means I have to keep an eye on two of my sons (aged 12 and 14) in between visiting another toddler group and trekking into university to see my supervisor. Firstborn son (aged 16) gets to go to school as not all the teachers are striking, and he’s coming up to GCSEs. He’s not as furious about this as I thought he would be as they’ve been told they don’t have to wear uniform.

So here are some memories of good company, plus some stuff I’m looking forward to. First, a bunch of Cherries at the Cherry Con in Cincinnati last year:

Rox is on the front row, second left, with Kay just behind and to the right. Kim is front right, with Cory and Chris behind her. I’m second from the right on the third row, with Betsy, Michelle and Jill behind me. Great times. I’d go again, but I haven’t paid for the first holiday yet.

In my diary (I’d provide pics from previous years, but I have no idea where they’re filed):

May 3: Dales Pony Society Spring Show, Barnard Castle.

June 5-8: Bramham International Horse Trials. I’m going on my own on the Thursday, for dressage and the hunter show, and Saturday for the cross-country with m’husband and third and final son.

July 8-10: The Great Yorkshire Show at Harrogate. Fabulous, fabulous. I do my utmost to get there all three days. Love it to bits. Expect many photos, of horses, dogs, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, judges….

August 26: Kilnsey Show. Everyone should go here at least once, if only for the beautiful setting. The show is held on the water meadows next to the river, with Kilnsey Crag looming above you. Other reasons: the sheepdog trials are fabulous, albeit not as smooth as you see on One Man and His Dog (performance nerves seem to kick in quite frequently, whether in dog or shepherd I’m not quite sure); the crag race itself and third, and finally, the trotting races held at the end of the day. The speed those horses move at cannot be believed until you see it.

September 4-7: Burghley International Horse Trials. This is a four star event (Bramham is a mere three star) and a favourite escape from family responsibilities for m’husband and I. He’s not a horsey person, and gets a little twitchy if required to watch dressage for more than 10 minutes, but he loves the cross country day, the young event horse finals (we sit by the ringside debating which we will buy when we win the Lottery), the driving classes and the tradestands, not forgetting the beauty of Burghley House itself.

Conclusion: Plenty of good stuff coming up this summer.