Competition wise Luendi finished the year well with double clears in her last two Newcomers and completing her first two Foxhunters with just a pole in the jump-off. She has now more than caught up with her peer group and I am excited about her prospects for 2015.
Mark and I took the opportunity of a quiet time to have a two lovely days by ourselves in Florence. We had perfect, crisp and sunny weather, and a hotel right in the centre of the city. What a perfect city for a short visit. You can walk easily to all the main sites in the city. I loved the fact that you can see the hills outside the City wherever you are. We soaked up the culture, ate fantastic Italian food and did a lot of Christmas shopping, especially beautiful Florentine paper and leather gloves.
Click on the photos to see the whole gallery.
Returning home Anna, Sophie and I kicked off our Christmas celebrations by attending a Carol Service at St Paul's Cathedral in aid of the Maggie's Centres. I had never been to St Paul's before and found it the most beautiful church I have ever seen. It was also a lovely service in aid of a charity that is close to my heart. Christmas has now been and gone in its usual bittersweet way. Tremendous family fun, and lovely seeing old friends, but also missing some of the key characters from Christmases past.
Click on the photos to see how much it has changed!
A huge excitement for us has been that after 20 years of a yard that usually resembled a pond we now have concrete heaven and two lovely new stables and what will be a very grand tack room. We now have water and light, and by the end of next week we should have cupboards and feed bins as well. Many thanks to Roger Loveday of www.equestrianrepairs.co.uk, Levade Stabling and Chris Hibling for all their hard work.
I finished the old year with a lovely day's hunting on Bert, and started the New Year with a fabulous day with the Scarteen. Chloe and Shane Breen very kindly gave me a day as a very spoiling Christmas present, and John Breen lent me the most wonderful horse - Wally. Hounds flew all day, we never stood still for a second, and the most extraordinary obstacles were crossed, including a river where Wally, rather alarmingly, dived in from the very high bank! Luckily we survived, and this time my only injury was a scratch on my cheek.
Emma and Rabbit (Espirito Santo) are now back in work, clipped and off for their first training session tomorrow. Exciting plans are afoot for 2015.