Tag Archives: horses

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tips of the Day

For the last 18 months, I have been regularly posting “Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tips of the Day” on Facebook. These are usually based around some day- to-day drama involving children, horses, Basset hounds or exercise, or a combination of these things.  For those of you who would like to get a flavour of the chaos and disorder that is the Saxelby household, I have made a collection of the most “liked” tips for you all to read…

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day: When your 11-year-old son asks: “Mummy, how long will it take to warm up my cup of tea in the microwave?” and you reply “turn it to 40” – make sure you specify that you mean SECONDS. Failure to do this could lead to 40 MINUTE CUP OF TEA ARMAGEDDON.

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day:- If, after a night out you have mysteriously acquired a plastic hen-night penis-shaped drinking straw, do not leave on the living room table when you crash out. If you do, then you risk coming in from mucking out to find your five-year-old daughter using it to drink Ribena under the watchful eye of your 84-year-old mother-in-law.

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day: If you want to test your reflexes, go into a small stable and throw a large rug over the back of a mare but misjudge your throw so that it lands on top of the foal behind her. This technique will also test your fast twitch mucle fibres and your swearing reflex.

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day: When you are bringing in pure-bred Trakehner two-year-old boys from playing in the sand school, do not under any circumstances think to yourself “it’ll be quicker if I just sling a rope round one of their necks and the other one will follow” (even if this is what you have done without problems for the last three days) because, when the loose horse decides not to follow his friend, buggers off and does 35 laps of your mother-in-law’s front garden, his friend will pull away from you and follow …and you will wish you had just put a head collar on to the little b*******s in the first place.

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Christmas Tip of the Day: Next time your husband tries to persuade you to “nip out” for a “quick” eight- mile bike ride before Christmas dinner, say “NO DARLING” because: (a) when you are blasting back home as fast as you can to get back in time to put the turkey in the oven – with 8 people waiting at home and (b) your front tyre explodes with a loud bang TWO MILES from home and (c) you have to run home pushing your bike in bike shoes with SPD cleats on the bottom… you will be wishing that that had been your reply..

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day: If you decide to enter a “Santa Run” and you, your friend and two of your children are dressed in head to toe Santa costumes with beards, it is advisable to take a house key with you, especially when your husband AND mother-in law are out for the day @AnotherEpicSaxelbylFail

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day:- If you are in Tesco car park on a cold day, parked next to a hot-boy and the windows will not clear on your car, do not (a) Use a pair of your mother-in-law’s scrunched up granny pants (that for some reason were in your car!) to clean the window (b) Go outside to open the boot and in doing so relax your grip on the scrunched up pants – thus revealing them to said hot-boy @yeah, I looked cool

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day:- When your four-year-old is starting big school and you decide to be extra-organised and get to the school playground 20 minutes early (because you are always late) it is advisable to check first that you HAVE THE RIGHT DAY. @AnotherSaxelbyEpicFail

Lucy’s Handy Housewife tip of the day: When entering a gruelling 11k adventure race and completely relying on your friend,Vicky Clarke to give you a leg up over the EIGHT- FOOT WALL at the end of the race, it is much recommended that you and your friend put down the same start time!

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day: If you put your car and horsebox keys down on a hay bale in your hay barn, it is helpful if you don’t (a) forget to pick them up again and (b) have a hay and straw delivery later in the day…

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day:- When faced with the question “Mummy i am bored, what can i do?” from your eight-year-old daughter, I strongly recommend suggesting writing something in fake tan on the child’s forearm. Daisy Saxelby’s fake-tan-arm is still several hours away from “developing” and I haven’t heard a peep out of her since doing it!

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day: When one of your friends drinks too much Blue Curacao-rum concoction and passes out on your sofa, filling her bum-crack in with play dough is not only highly entertaining but is also a fabulous opportunity to unleash your artistic and creative flair.

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day: If your husband is well-known in all circles for forgetting and losing things then do not (a) Allow him to be responsible for locking the house when you go out in separate vehicles when you drop off the horse box for its MOT or (b) let him keep the keys rather than give them to you. Failure to comply with ((a) and b) could lead to scenario (c), which is husband leaving house keys in the horse lorry at the MOT centre in LINCOLN…which is NOT where we live.

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day: Feeding your hound left-over sushi directly on to the kitchen floor because you can’t be bothered to fetch her dog bowl or walk an additional 5.5 feet to the kitchen bin is a false economy as, when said hound chews it up, coats it in basset-slober and then spits it out everywhere, you will wish you hadn’t been so lazy.

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day:- If you have been prematurely disturbed from your sleep by six noisy children at an unholy hour on a Saturday morning, I can suggest that watching the said children carefully assemble a Scooby-Doo-Haunted-House-Mouse-trap-esque-game on the living room carpet and then calling the dog over for a cuddle, knowing that hounds prefer an “as the crow flies” route, is a satisfying revenge tactic…

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day:- If you are not in the mood for a vigorous cross-country cardio-vascular workout involving a large drainage dyke, a 30-year-old precarious-looking bridge, 50 metres of tangled electric fencing, a horny pony and some brambles, it is wise not to (a) choose your two-year-old Garuda K colt to be on lawn-mower duty and (b) think to yourself: “It’ll be ok, he has an acre of over-grown lawn to entertain himself with, he will never bother to squeeze down the tight passage at the side of the sand school” because, when your hypothesis is found to be wholly incorrect and he (1) squeezes down said passageway to get to some fillies (2) legs it along the edge of the drainage dyke to escape from you (3) attempts to jump over the dyke into another field but fails and lands in the dyke (4) scrambles out into an ungrazed field and does 45 laps of honour before (5) crashes through electric fencing to have a quick dance on the ancient bridge (6) side-steps alongside the dyke until he has no other option but to turn round or become trapped in brambles…you will wish that you had either chosen your lawn-mower more wisely or sweet-talked your lovely husband into mowing it instead…

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day: If you want to a) Save time b) Polish your saddle c) Recreate the feeling of first learning to do sitting trot d) Get the sensation of sliding around on ice whilst sitting on a baking tray and e) Look like a complete moron, then f) Go out for a run wearing a pair of skin tight, nylon, shiny, more-mile running pants and then g) Change your running shoes for Hunters but be too damn lazy to go through two extra rooms to find a pair of jodphurs. Trust me this is not only a bad “look” (that would certainly put wind in the “that woman is mad” clan’s sails) it is also a highly un-workable combo and I cannot truthfully say that the young horse I was riding benefitted one iota from the so-called “schooling” it received.

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day: If your husband is constantly finding new reasons to moan about your hound, it is advisable not to put horse after-birth on the muckheap in a field that is accessible to the hound or, when the after-birth is found spread out all over your mother-in-law’s lawn, your husband’s whinging may increase…

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day: If you have zillions of grubby kids with zillions of grubby patterned socks that are all odd or so dirty that they are impossible to get clean, then follow my example. Empty all of the contents of your children’s sock drawers into the bin. Do not look at what you are emptying (as you will start to feel sympathy for some of the socks and try to save them and give them a second chance). Be brutal. Bin ALL the socks and go to Tesco and spend £20 on new dark coloured ones, all in roughly the same colour. @completely fed up with trying to pair up patterned socks when their twin has clearly been eaten years ago by the washing machine.

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day: If you are experiencing difficulty operating the “tip” lever of your dumper truck because it is particularly heavy when full of stone, you can get round this problem by standing on the lever instead of using your hand. Do not, however, get complacent after successfully doing this nine or ten times and start to think that you are the DUMPER TRUCK MASTER because you are NOT. Approximately 10% of all foot-tips result in the shock-waves of the tip knocking your foot off the tip-lever onto the gear-stick and turning your dumper truck into a BULLDOZER

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day: When your pre-school child comes out with something less than polite like: “Mummy, I can “f**t out of my bits!”, then it is recommended that the grown-up does not show even the slightest flicker of amusement. Showing amusement will result in the disgusting phrase becoming the default greeting for your child to everybody they meet for several days…

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day: If you are training for triathlon, then follow my example and go lane swimming in Ollerton on a Monday night at 7pm. Admittedly, you will find that you have got the wrong time for lane swimming but, if you whinge enough, they’ll put a rope out and let you swim anyway. The best part of this carefully planned training technique, though, is that the rest of the pool is filled with ladies the size of small submarines doing aqua-aerobics to a Beach Boys soundtrack. Every time they plunge to the left, your usually calm indoor pool turns into a turbulent open water/tsunami simulator…

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day: When “Operation remove pregnant mares from the stallion’s field” goes extremely smoothly, do not start to feel over-confident and let yourself relax because “Operation introduce a new-companion to the stallion” might not go as smoothly and “Operation husband needs to build a new fence” could be required!

Lucy’s Handy Housewife Tip of the Day: If you do not want to have a humiliating conversation with your credit card’s fraud protection team, do not make risqué purchases from multiple European websites for your (previously) unsuspecting husband’s birthday present, then follow this up by attempting to buy £3000-worth of horse semen from France, using the same credit card on the same day. This not only has a low success rate but is also embarrassing to explain. If you are indeed stupid enough to do this, then trying to authorize the initially refused semen payment at breakfast time is a very bad idea. Explaining the above to fraud protection is one thing but explaining to eavesdropping children over their Cheerios, is completely another…

If you have made it to the bottom of this page and have a smile on your face, please take the time to sign up for email notifications to this blog – by clicking the “follow” button at the top of the page – thanks, Lucy 🙂



January 23, 2013 · 1:39 pm

Couch Potato Versus Runner Bean…

When I am not mucking out, social networking or wiping up child spillages, I can usually be found running round the local villages, cycling round rural Nottinghamshire or at the swimming pool.

I know some people think it’s mad but this is what I choose to do for my “me time” rather than, for instance, watching TV (unless either the Grand National or triathlon highlights are on, in which case you’ll find me under a duvet in front of the fire snacking on Quality Street).

I often read people saying on Facebook or Twitter that they would like to get fit, lose weight or get back into a hobby and, in so far as any of my blogs have a purpose beyond the fact that I just feel like writing them, the point of this one is to say: “if I can do it, anyone can”.

(All right, it is also because it is extremely cold outside and I need a good excuse to avoid having to clean the bathroom in which the sink, in particular, would not look out of place in a Glastonbury portable toilet cubicle).

The thing is that, while you might often hear me banging on about how much I love running, cycling, swimming, skiing and, of course, horse riding, I am far from a “natural athlete”.

Except for netball (which I seemed to be quite good at), I was more often than not picked in the last handful of people in school PE lessons. Admittedly, this might have been down to my bad haircut, very untrendy Puffa horse riding school coat and resolute refusal to wear makeup but it must also have said something about my sporting talent…

Apart from riding, I am relatively new to most of my sports and not necessarily very good at them yet.

Take skiing. I have spent a couple of my happiest weeks on the slopes but I am no expert. In fact, I have been told by various experienced skiers that my gung-ho, jumpy style would be far more suited to being on a snowboard. My husband, however, would never let me on a snowboard as snowboards are apparently not for respectable 36-year-old mothers of five. Besides, he says, I look grungy enough in my mucking out gear all year round without having to dress that way on our family ski holiday.

Despite my lack of grace on a pair of skis, I can already kick my husband’s ass down a long bumpy black run because I’m fitter and his thigh muscles get tired. (strangely, Jon strongly disagrees with what he describes as this “outrageous” statement and claims that I don’t realize how much he “slows down” for my benefit. I feel a down-hill slalom race coming on …)

My favourite hobby – or, as Jon would say, obsession – at the moment is probably running but I am not a natural runner.

Just as with skiing, I have a rather unique and unnecessarily “twisty” running action – which cannot be very efficient and must certainly waste vital energy that I could be using to make me go faster.

I have been doing various exercises to try to improve my running technique and I think might have succeeded in toning down some of the oddities. Even so, I still look like I’m struggling through mile 25 of an off-road marathon even when I’m just jogging a mile down the road and feeling as fresh as a daisy.

While I have always enjoyed running, I have to admit that it is far more enjoyable once:

a)      You are fit;

b)      You are doing the correct type of training;

c)      You start to do quite well in races

d)      You can see an improvement in your results in line with all the effort.

If you have bothered to get this far down the page and have had even the teeniest “I wish I did some form of sport” thought, then read on and let me persuade you to log onto eBay and order yourself a pair of new trainers…

1)  Firstly, when I am at the end of a run or have finished one, although I am physically tired – I feel full of energy and I know it’s a cliché but I feel “alive”.

2)  Exercise has made me fitter, faster and stronger and I have been able to take part in some fabulous fun things, which I’d have never been able to do if I were a couch potato. Examples being “Survival of the fittest” obstacle race, Dambuster Olympic distance triathlon and the most recent addition to my weekend schedule – running for the Readyfield hunt and being chased over the countryside by a pack of bloodhounds…

3)  I have lost weight, whilst still eating pretty much what I want.

4)  I have toned up all over and only have a minimal patch of lumpy fat at the top of my thighs now, as opposed to loads of it before I started my fitness regime!

5)  Running and triathlon races not only give me a “goal” to work towards but I usually sign up to them with a friend and we have loads of fun both on the day and in training for them.

6)  I have completely replaced my horse-buying tendencies with a much cheaper lycra running outfit addiction.

7) I have a valid excuse for falling asleep on the sofa every night and leaving Jon to deal with the 5-child chaos, bedtime excuses and washing up.

8)Schadenfreude – As in when I bump into certain old classmates who were “too cool” to speak to me at school and discover that their thighs are bigger than my waist. I know it’s wrong but no one is perfect.





Filed under comedy, fitness, funny, getting older, health, humour, Running, self-help, Sport, Swimming, thirties, Triathlon, weight-loss

A Happy New Year? Lucy’s 2013 Resolutions

Wow, another year has nearly finished. We are all a year older, wiser and probably poorer (particularly those of us who are stupid enough to own horses and are finding the cost of their feed challenging the value of gold and their market value dropping worryingly close to the price of goldfish!)

In 2012, for the first time in my life, I managed to stick to all my new year’s resolutions (through the simple expedient of not making any to start with). I’ve decided to be braver this year and not only produce a list of ten resolutions but also to publish them on the world wide web so that I have no chance of “forgetting” them.

Here goes…

To keep the hound’s bed clean – my mum has a greyhound and a whippet and their bed looks and smells like it wouldn’t be out of place in the Ritz. I am not sure how often she cleans and vacuums it but I try really hard to keep Annie’s “shoe-cupboard bed” just as clean and hair-free but fail miserably on both counts. Of course, it could just be that my mum has a rare form of dog-bed cleaning OCD?

To send all of my children to school in matching socks. By this, I don’t mean that all five children’s socks will be the same (although that actually would make life much easier) but that I am going to do my best to overcome my (fully justified) “her children always wear odd socks” reputation.

While on the subject of my “school reputation” – I am going to open all school book bags and read (and answer!) all letters at least every other day. This does not stretch to allowing the school to have my real and correct mobile number – I much prefer that they shower Jon with 3 texts per day about school cake sales (he ignores them anyway, including the odd important one).

To lose another 7Ibs of unnecessary fat, largely from my bum. This will get me down to my “ideal racing weight” as described in the last issue of “Runner’s World” and will make me run considerably faster.  I have been trying to apply this theory for the last few months and have already lost a few blocks of lard. I was greatly encouraged when I finished in the top 30 out of a field of 2000 in my last race, along with my friend Vicky and brother Henry. “Santa runs” obviously only attract the fastest and most hardcore runners – or that is what I keep telling myself (and not every one of the 1970 people behind us was a small child, an over-weight middle-aged lady pushing a pram or an OAP dressed as a turkey).

To sell at least 5 horses before our 2013 foals are born. This will please me because I will a) have less work to do b) be less poor c) go some way to helping reduce my husband’s whinging.

Learn how to mend a puncture on my bike. It is amazing that I have got through 36 years of life without ever doing this (especially as triathlon is now one of my hobbies). I have no rational excuse for this lack of bike maintenance but justify myself by telling everyone that I have repaired at least 50 punctured paddling pools/mini-bouncy castles over the past 12 years. The fact that my front tyre exploded two miles away from home on Christmas day and I had to run home pushing my bike has nothing to do with this resolution whatsoever.

To pick up all dog poo before Jon gets a chance to moan about it and give me a grid reference (example “There are three separate lumps, four steps north-east of the climbing frame”). Ok, this one might require some good black out blinds in the living room (which overlooks the garden) and maybe some DVDs of hot women in bikinis (which I could put on TV as a distraction method ready for when Jon gets up in the morning).

To clean behind the fridge again BEFORE this time next year. For those of you who don’t tune into my Facebook, this year’s behind-the-fridge find included a pair of Troll’s trousers, a packet of Jaffa cakes, several cans of beer (one which had a hole in and was glued to the floor in a fermented slop) and, the piece de resistance, an old  (and thankfully unoccupied) mouse nest.

To delete unimportant/uninteresting emails after I have not bothered to open or read them.  My unread Yahoo email list now just says “999+” because it can’t be bothered to count over 1000… (don’t worry, if you are interesting, my friend in real-life or want to buy a horse, I will respond to your email within minutes!)

To reduce my Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, MoneySavingExpert, 220Triathlon, Donedeal, Iomoio and eBay web-time…by not logging on after 11pm…on a Sunday. That sounds fair doesn’t it?

I think that should do it. Happy 2013 every one!




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Filed under CELEBRATIONS, christmas, comedy, disorder, dogs, family, funny, grumpy husbands, humour, large families, married life

Reasons to be happy about being 36

It is my birthday this week and I will be 36 and, as Shania Twain once said: “that don’t impress me much”.

However, to cheer myself up, I have been trying to come up with a few reasons why 36 is better than 26.

 Things I used to do in my 20s that I can’t (or wouldn’t want to) do now

1) Go out on the town in winter wearing only a mini dress and no coat.

(I might still be seen out on the town in a mini dress but Jon would never, ever let me out the front door without a cardigan AND coat.)

2) Ride lunatic horses – bucking broncos, stroppy donkeys and even the odd surprised cow, I have ridden them all.

(Not any more. Was I braver back then or have I just developed some common sense?   Maybe falling off just hurts more when you are older – or perhaps it’s that missing disc in my spine?)

3) My uni friends and I used to buy vodka, wine, whiskey, hooch, lager and many other ethanol-based liquids, tip them into a giant dustbin and add coke or orange juice to make what we called “carbuncle juice”. Strangely, we didn’t use this mixture to strip wallpaper but, instead, we drank it.

(I cannot explain or understand why I ever did this but maybe hangovers hurt less ten years ago.)

4) We would also all go night-clubbing dressed as described in point one and stay out until 6am.

(Sundays are better when you have had at least six hours sleep.)

5) Put both ankles behind my head at the same time as a party trick.

I can no longer do this due to a stiff back. However, why would I want to? Fortunately, I am still quite flexible and can still perform useful tasks like biting my own toe nails. Jon wishes it was the other way round.

6) Tolerate grumpy husbands.

I used to put up with high levels of grumpy man syndrome when I was married to husband number one. This didn’t help our marriage in the long run and only encouraged him to become progressively grumpier. Unfortunately for upgrade husband, I learnt from my mistakes and so I now maintain a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to grumpiness. Of course, this does not stop me getting a grumpy husband occasionally but he knows I won’t talk to him until he has cheered up. The alternative way of looking at this, as put forward by Jon, is that I have become a grumpy old cow in my old age.

Things I do at 36 that I could/would not do in my 20s

1) Run a marathon, race in a triathlon, swim front crawl  – although I ran the occasional 10k when I was younger, I would have much rather gone out on a Saturday night drinking than have to stay in and drink tea because I had a race in the morning. Plus, young women are such wimps aren’t they?

2) Wear shorts. All that running and swimming has made my bum smaller.

3) Multi-tasking. Like most mothers, I am well practised at simultaneously cooking, answering the phone, bouncing a toddler on my hip and constructing a Playdough and tinfoil T-Rex. Before having children, multi-tasking meant downing two shots of two different spirits at the same time.

4) Don’t have an overdraft. When I was in my 20’s my overdraft was an essential part of my life.  I have got better with money (I think only one horse buying error this year is an improvement, don’t you?).  Upgrading husbands has obviously helped matters significantly.

5) I can now walk well in high heels……..ok, that was a lie – I still walk like John Wayne after 48 hours in the saddle.

6) Go out the house without makeup. Makeup? Seriously? Strictly for going out  or special occasions – only because I can’t be bothered and, besides, you look stupid all done up when you are covered in horse poo don’t you?






Filed under birthdays, Family, funny, getting older, grumpy husbands, happy birthday, humour, large families, nearly forty, self-help, thirties

Santa Baby

Dear Santa…

What I really want for Christmas is a top- of- the- range, carbon-framed, Specialized time-trial bike in purple and white with some jazzy Zipp 404 wheels and a pair of PRO Missile Evo aero bars.

However, unless someone wants to buy several fantastic, talented and very well-bred horses before Christmas Eve, I know that is unlikely to happen.

So, just in case there are not enough people in horse-buying mood, I thought I’d compile a Christmas wish-list, from which you can take your pick…I hope that’s ok?

1) I’d really love a volume switch and, in particular, a mute button for all five children and Jonathan – preferably one  that can be operated by a remote control that only I can see and never gets lost.

2) Would it be possible to reconfigure Marigold’s three-year-old brain so that she no longer thinks it is grown up or fun to try to tip the contents of her potty down the toilet herself? Oh, and while on the subject, how about persuading her that it is fine to do number twos on her special seat in the bathroom so that she no longer feels the need to carry her potty into the living room (especially when we are having dinner or entertaining company or both)?

3) A gadget (more advanced than an elastic band or hair-bobble) to stop Annie hound’s ears dangling in her food. Wet dog-food ears are a) not a great look b) feel really icky when they brush up against your bare legs c) smell atrocious when they dry-off.

4) Does it need to be so dark at 4pm in the winter? Couldn’t you have a word with someone? It’d make evening stables just so much more pleasant.

5) I have a grey/white hair that keeps growing in the middle of my right eyebrow – plucking it out requires that I consciously acknowledge that it is there. Please make it go away for good?

6) I’ve lost about 7Ibs recently but plan to lose a few more in the hope that this will make me run faster. I don’t need any help with the weight-loss, thanks, but if you could stop my boobs disappearing completely, that’d be superb.

7) If you know anyone high up in the fashion industry, I’d really like next year’s must-have look to include odd socks, unbrushed hair, army trousers covered with horse poo, layers of lycra cycling tops, well-worn fleeces and Hunters.

8) Do you know any Super Heroes? I think I may have positioned my latest muckheap a bit too near to Granny’s garden – it’d probably only take a dozen or so good strong heroes a few weeks to move if they used their super powers wisely.

9) Just one recipe, excluding ice cream that everybody in our household likes and will eat, no ifs or buts.

10) A Range Rover, or any car really that has not been driven on at least four different occasions into two different gates.

11) To be able to have a long, hot, entirely uninterrupted bath in my own house, without having anyone bash relentlessly on the door screaming, come in for a poo, or march in already stripped naked and climb uninvited into my bath. This includes Annie Hound – who only last week sauntered into the bathroom whilst I was bathing and starting lapping out of my fresh cup of coffee which was perched on the side of the bath.

12) Smooth, soft hands with neatly manicured office-job finger nails – as opposed to weather-beaten, dirt-ingrained, haylage-cracked, broken-nail horse hands.

I think that probably covers it. If I think of anything else in the meantime, I’ll email you. Merry Christmas, Lucy x

P.s.  I’ve been a really good girl all year, I promise!


Filed under christmas, disorder, Family, humour, large families

Collections, music, weddings and genetic defects

I collect things.

I have, for instance, unusually large collections of children, horses, lycra, shoes, music, books and exercise equipment.

These are my essential collections.

Then, there are various undesirable collections like piles of un-opened letters, broken laptops;  c-section scars; unwanted tattoos, sinks full of dirty dishes and stacks of stuff at the bottom of the stairs awaiting eventual ascension to the children’s bedrooms.

The generic name for these collections in our house is “drama”. Believe me, the Saxelby household is always very “dramatic”.

My husband says that my collections are evidence of never knowing when to stop and that it is the same trait that means I am incapable of leaving an argument without having the last word even if, as he claims, the “last word” is not exactly relevant to that particular argument.

Of course, I tell him he is talking rubbish. If I tell him often enough, he usually shuts up and lets me have the last say. Not that I’m bothered about that, of course.

Anyway, Jon’s flimsy evidence for his accusation is mainly centred around my horses, some of which were admittedly bought with only grudging approval on his part. I do not think an accidental horse purchase or two is proof of anything.

I suppose he might have a point when it comes to music. My lovely husband bought my first ever iPod for my birthday the first year we met. It held 4GB of data but I filled it to the max within half an hour. Jon obviously did not know me well enough back then.

My latest iPod is 160 GB – I had to source an old model from the internet as Apple stopped making them that big because they couldn’t make them thin enough!

My shoe collection is not typical for a woman. When you hear the words “shoe collection” you will no doubt be thinking of a bottom shelf in a wardrobe full of shiny Jimmy Choos in various shades.

There are no Jimmy Choos in the Saxelby house (hint, hint dear husband, size 5, preferably pink). There are, however:

-Jodhpur boots

-Long leather riding boots

-Extremely dirty yard boots

– Olive coloured Balmoral Hunters – ( thanks Jen and Rick of Country Attire)

– Off-road fell running shoes

-Track running spikes

– Two pairs of motion control running shoes

– Light weight racing trainers

-Mountain bike cycle shoes with cleats

-Racing bike cycle shoes with cleats

-Ski boots

-6 inch high glittery gold “Rocky Horror” platforms

– A pair of yellow and blue swimming flippers

-Ladybird slippers (with holes)

– An unworn, ugly pair of “grown-up, sensible” flat shoes – which Jon made me buy

– An over-the-knee pair of hooker boots

-Various pairs of high heels that I have owned since my twenties but still cannot walk in

– A very battered pair of unbranded almost-easy-to-walk-in heels that I bought in Spain on a hen-do and which I haven’t thrown away for sentimental reasons

-Silver Birkenstocks (fake)

-White Birkenstocks (fake)

Pink Birkenstocks (genuine), bought for me by Jon half an hour after our wedding. (I had walked to the registry office sporting a beautiful but blister-inducing pair of diamante stilettos. I wasn’t about to walk back in them so we left the guests to make their way back to the reception while we nipped into the Victoria Centre.

Yes, folks, with ring firmly wedged on finger for less than 30 minutes, it was comfy shoes for me. Jon could not complain, however. Having singularly failed to provide a Roller or Bentley, he made me hop on a number 58 bus in my wedding dress so that we could be back at his place to greet the guests (you will have to trust me that it was a fab wedding – it’s just that Jon would not be shifted from his firm contention that if he supplied a free bar and good food, no-one would be looking at the flowers or other things people get themselves into a tizz about at weddings.)

Back to collections – I think I can safely assign all the blame for my music collection and possibly some others to my dad. It’s all genetic you see.

I know this because, when I was little, dad had a massive vinyl collection which he unfortunately lost when my mum divorced him and wouldn’t let him have any of them back, even though I had only ever known her listen to one album during my lifetime and that was only because it was Christmas!

Dad soon started searching through charity shops and car-boot sales until he’d undoubtedly acquired more than he had possessed pre-divorce.

Then dad took me to visit his brother, my uncle Neville who lived in Boston. Neville and both of his sons, Nick and Howard, loved music and collected albums – literally thousands of them. I was totally awe-struck when I went up into Howard’s attic bedroom to be confronted with walls that were completely shelved and covered in CDs.

It was amazing and I wanted that collection. On the other hand, I realised I had probably inherited a genetic defect from my dad’s side.

When I was at uni, I’d often come back to stay with dad in his bachelor pad for the weekend and after getting in from the pub on a Saturday night, we would play “music quiz” which consisted of dad selecting random tracks from his car-boot vinyl collection and me having to name the artist, song title and year of release.

This came in very useful for future pub quizzes (providing the questions are about music from 1979 or before).

One lesson that I have learned for life from dad’s quizzes though is that Dire Straits are dire. Sorry dad.






Filed under Uncategorized

“Are you on drugs?”

I know that I’m lucky that I don’t have to work a nine-to-five job or commute for two hours every day, or bus children around to a childminder’s house before 7am.

As both Jon and I work from home (or, in my case, work from the yard that is at the bottom of my garden) then we can and do spend a good deal of our time drinking coffee, having internet social networking breaks or, in my case “nipping out for a run”.

For the past couple of years before signing up to this blog account, I have been venting my frustrations, selling my foals and sharing general Saxelby chaos using Facebook, Twitter and web forums, with plenty of responses, interaction and feedback from people, many of whom I have never met. Probably the most frequently seen replies to some of my posts are “How do you cope?”, “Are you on drugs?” or “You should be on drugs!”.

For those who aren’t well acquainted with my Facebook page, here are some examples of the kind of status update I’m talking about:

This month’s stats:- During September I have fallen off my bike twice, fallen down the stairs once, been bitten by one horse, broken two plates, raced in one triathlon and one half marathon, hosted one child’s swimming party, drank roughly 180 cups of coffee, collected various children from running, rugby, bowls, netball and sleep-overs, burnt at least three dinners to a crisp, made two batches of biscuits, carried a three year old on my shoulders up “Steep Hill” in Lincoln, locked my husband out of the house once, drank virtually NO alcohol (amazing), sneaked the hound onto my bed once, shopped in Morrisons, Tesco and the Co-op at least three times each, re-wired an ancient wire fuse, delivered one horse to its new home. But the best and most memorable achievement of the month is I HAVE CHANGED NO NAPPIES. This is the first time I have been entirely nappy free for 12 years!

Here’s another one from October: 

This fortnight’s stats:- I have mucked out 84 stables, hosted two children’s birthday parties, ran in a 5k race and a 12k obstacle race, had one flat tyre on my mountain bike, burnt two meals, broken one outdoor tap, dug one massive hole to enable mending of outside tap, bought seven things from eBay, been rude to one extremely persistent and annoying cold-calling loft insulation representative, read three books, one triathlon magazine, one dressage magazine, spent 10 minutes trying to work out what was wrong with the volume on my iPod – when I’d forgotten to put the earphones in, made Halloween bats and witches, swam 170 lengths, cycled 68 miles, drank two glasses of wine, approx. 70 cups of coffee and 14 cups of green tea.

A last one from July:

This fortnight’s stats: – In the last 14 days I have mucked out 48 stables, put up two tents and taken them down again, filled up one giant swimming pool, killed two large patches of grass (!) had two extra children over for sleep-overs in the tent, sent three of my children off on sleepovers for 4 days, had two foals born, chased one escapee yearling, Saxy youngsters have had two x 1st premiums at the BEF Futurity, ran 29 miles, biked seven miles, got hopelessly drunk once and marginally drunk twice, been to one charity fundraising party, eaten one Chinese, two packets of hay fever tablets, one packet of ibuprofen, read 1.5 novels, one running magazine, purchased a new pair of trail-running shoes and tested them around a 16 acre cow field, smashed one wine glass and two mugs, made roughly 20 cups of coffee for builders, changed approximately 14 nappies and emptied 2 potties down the toilet (progress), walked into a loaded-with-dead-flies fly-paper three times…

So you can see that, despite being self-employed and wasting far too much time on the internet, I do manage to fit in some activities that don’t involve children or horses and probably manage just as many disasters along the way!

As a keen runner I have learnt that, when a session starts to get tough and the voice in my head tells me to “slow down”, it helps loads if I start counting and focussing on only the next 10 strides at a time.

I got this idea from a running magazine and have found it really useful. I have since developed my own version, which is singing the alphabet song (inside my head may I add, I don’t need to encourage people to think I am deranged) and have used this technique so often that I’m now getting quite good at matching distances to the letters. For example, if I’m running along and spot something that is certain distance away, I often think “oh, that tree is a P” or “that cow is a J, second-time round”. This works because, while I am singing the alphabet song, my mind cannot also be shouting at me telling me to walk.

I also apply a similar method to other areas of my life by breaking tasks up into mini “playlists” lists in my head and only focusing and thinking about one list at a time. For example, if I had get the kids to school then muck out eight stables and then ride a horse before lunch, go to the supermarket, collect children from the bus-stop followed by a meal for seven to cook and then evening stables – the whole day starts to look and sound a bit daunting.

I get around this by absolutely and resolutely refusing to think about any playlist other than the one I’m currently working on. To start worrying about getting to a doctor’s appointment on time when I am mid-mucking out would stress me out, so I have learnt to not do this.

I also apply this method to triathlon competitions, which involve moving from swimming to cycling and cycling to running with timed transitions in between. When I am racing, I only think of swimming whilst I’m swimming, cycling whilst I’m cycling and running whilst I’m running.

A lot of practice at home is necessary to ensure I know what level of effort it is possible for me to maintain in each discipline without causing a decrease in performance in another discipline but, come race day, I only think about one thing at a time and this helps me put in my best effort and prevents the voice in my head from screaming “Stop – too much!!!!!”.

Anyway, that’s what works for me. I am interested to hear other people’s mental strategies.


Filed under comedy, Equine, Family, funny, humour, large families, Running, Sport, Uncategorized