It's been a 'challenging' few days here, to put it mildly! In amongst the general end of term mayhem, and Christmas chaos, we faced the prospect of our cold icy weather turning to heavy snow. Bethan, who has been turned away with the youngsters for the last few weeks, due to tweaking her tendon slightly, needed to be brought home for Christmas. So on Thursday, in freezing sleet, I loaded her up like a pack pony with all her gear, and braved the weather and the busy main roads to walk her home. It was a grim and unpleasant walk, with a pit stop at Proper Job recycling centre halfway home for a quick cuppa. Luckily, Bethan was quite happy to be heading home, and is unfazed by most traffic - the exception being large tractors with silage bales carried high on a front loader (and I can quite understand that - they look just like a huge predator preparing to pounce). We got home just in time. By the evening the snow had begun, and by the following morning, schools were closed, and roads impassable without a four wheel drive vehicle.
It is so cold that even the Ginger Ninja has moved indoors. Of all the cosy places in the house, this is his favourite - on top of my pile of 'junk'!
And all the family sit in a pile beside the fire. This was taken on Friday night, a sorry reminder of how things should be. Unfortunately, battling up the hill through the snow yesterday to feed the ponies, my husband slipped on the ice, and broke his leg as he fell. We had what felt like an endless wait in the snow and the cold for a helicopter to come and airlift him out, and now he waits in Exeter hospital for an operation to pin his leg. Thank goodness for wonderful friends and neighbours, who rescued my children and dogs from the scene, who looked after ponies, who came out in land rovers to get us to places as my car is not a four wheel drive, and who set out across country in the darkening snow with torches to escort children to the main road where they could be picked up and brought safely home to me.
And so, I sit here, looking out at snow, with a pot of tea, glad that everything is OK. Yesterday, life seemed awful, but this morning, I am grateful for everything, and everyone.
So, here is something that I have been watching to take my mind off things. Puppets have been in my thoughts a great deal recently. When I was at college I was very interested in puppetry, and the mechanics of movement, and spent a lot of time making puppets and automata. Those are stashed away in a hay loft somewhere, so I can't show you those, but these are a couple of puppets gathered on my travels. My children are a little spooked by the old lady above, with her breasts on strings so they flap!
And this film below is of 'The Sultans Elephant', which my father introduced me to recently. Many of you may have seen this before, as it was a huge outdoor performance by the French company 'Royal de Luxe' in London in 2006. Somehow, I seem to have been completely unaware of it, and so it's magic was new to me.