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August 24, 2011

Captain's Log, Star Date 8/24

Captain’s blog, star date 8/24, the year 2011…

No, I'm not a Star Trek fan—just always find that amusing.  

Well I finally got on a plane 10 days ago after leaving my dogs at the farm with fresh bones and a tear in my eye. I arrived at the Raleigh, N.C., airport with enough time to self check-in, which for me never saves time as I always seem to need assistance, then to get some food and wait to board. Oh, and did I mention get my toenails painted also? It’s essential.

Quite often I have been known to mock American airlines, especially United. My first flight is with American Airlines, and I have to say, thus far I love them. There were flight delays all day, due to weather, and the poor guys at the desks were getting an earful from irate passengers.

This is something I don't get—those guys are not responsible for the delays and generally are making every attempt to rectify your situation. I wanted to check that I would make my connecting flight at JFK and chose Option 2 (smile and charm the men) as my way of dealing with the situation. To cut a long story short, I changed my London flight by two hours, got switched from British Airways to American Airlines and got upgraded to business! Thank you Mum for teaching me to be polite and smile in the face of adversity.

As I flew, I yet again thanked Mum for teaching me to chew gum with my mouth closed. In fact, thank you for teaching me to eat with my mouth closed at all times. I wrote this as the woman across from me chewed her gum, clearly to clear her ears, with as much gusto as a cow chews its cud and sharing the lovely aroma of spearmint throughout the cabin.

It seems an eternity since I wrote that last paragraph on my way back to England. To bring you up to speed…

• My flight in business class was fantastic. I'm sure it is something that I could definitely get used to.

• All the ponies looked very healthy when I got back. Will and the girls had done an amazing job with the four horses. Andy and Peanut are clearly loving the grass over here, looking at the ever increasing size of them. (This expansion is something they have continued to do since I got back.)

• Will ran both Ernie and Missie at Hartpury. Which ended with fabulous cross-country rounds on both.

• Unfortunately we missed entries to Highclere for Andy and Peanut, so they won't run again until we get home. They are, however, doing a dressage competition (low key so no braiding, yay) tomorrow and enjoying the British summer (much the same as fall in Virginia).

• And last, but not least, I have begun my 12-week training program for my half-marathon in November and so far, so good..

Now to expand on what's happening in the last week or so leading up to Burghley...

Sinead Halpin arrived just before Hartpury and also had a good run there. Tate (Manoir de Carneville) looks great and a lot stronger than the horse I saw at Boekelo last year. She and Meg (Kep, her groom) seem to have fit right into the rather international program here at Maizey Manor.

Between two Australians, one Kiwi, one Irish and two American riders and a recently departed Italian, there are many flags being flown here but all for the same reason: Burghley or Blenheim. I'm never sure when you cross the line between chasing and living the dream, but on each day, depending on lessons, soundness and anything else that life with horses throws at you, someone here is doing one or the other. It's great because everyone has something to learn from everyone else, whether it be what to do or what not to do!

Then there is quite often the discussion of human fitness and diet. Some go to the gym, and some of us run and curse the hills of the gallops. Then we get together at night discussing our triumph of said hills or treadmill, groaning as we get up off our chairs for another glass of water. Then completely ravished, we tuck in to yet another fabulous meal of Jackie’s, not dwelling on the half-stick of butter you saw her put in the pan to start the process. Like I said, we discuss "diets"—not necessarily on one though!

I’m sure most people know me as Aussie Nat, but I am however by passport, British. I know, don't tell anyone.

This being said, most of my family live over here including my mother, and only 45 minutes away, so in great British tradition I dragged Will off to Sunday lunch to meet the family last Sunday. Thankfully it was a great success. Will had asked me if there were any "no go" areas as far as conversation subjects were concerned, and it was at that point I realized how open-minded my family is.

The answer was no. Yhe only thing he would have to do is have good table manners—you know, eat with his mouth closed, cut his food up before putting it in his mouth, etc etc. You can talk about absolutely anything with my family but don't eat badly.

The lunch was full of laughter and was lovely for me to introduce my boss and friend to two uncles, an aunt, my grandmother and mother all in one hit and to have the usual singled out question time diverted from me for once. It was also a nice break for Will and I to get away and do something completely different.

One week from today Missie will have jogged up and Will will have walked around Burghley for the first time. Aaaaagh, how exciting. Oh, and I will be up to my 6-mile run week. I hope to keep you up to date as things lead up to both Burghley and Blenheim. 'Til then enjoy the sun, winter is only just around the corner…