Trotting on

Time for a bit of a Prem update, and because it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, the update comes in a few different flavours:

  • Leg update
  • Weight update
  • Turnout update
  • Exercise update
  • Lumpy update
  • Photo update

I’ll try and be brief, but there’s a lot to report:

Leg update
The most recent ultrasound scan shows that Prem’s injured leg (torn superficial flexor tendon) has made a near-perfect recovery

Weight update
I’ve been keeping Prem’s weight slightly light, instead of keeping his weight up (and therefore putting pressure on his limbs while he was standing in 24/7). Now that things have taken a turn for the better I’m gradually bringing Prem’s weight back to where it should be

Turnout update
I started introducing Prem to turnout very gradually. He didn’t have turnout as a racehorse, and he hasn’t been out of a stable since his injury in March 2017 – 8 months ago. In October I started him on ten minutes on grass, in a 10m by 30m post and rail enclosure, seven days a week. Very gradually I brought that up to four hours a day, then moved him to a 20m by 40m turnout five hours a day. Prem is now turned out 7.30am to 5.30pm in a 2 acre paddock

Exercise update
I picked up Prem’s exercise very gradually. Ignoring the horsewalker I started walking him out in-hand, in the arena, in August (before he started on turnout), for ten minutes a day. We stayed at that level for three weeks, and then stepped up to 15 minutes a day for two weeks. And then to 20 minutes a day for two weeks, and then increasing by five minutes a fortnight until we got to 45 minutes. When we got to 45 minutes a day of walking in-hand I started sitting on. We brought the duration of sitting-on walking down to 20 minutes a day, increasing by five minutes every two weeks. After six weeks I introduced trotting for a total of 5 minutes each day. We’re now at an hour of ridden exercise a day, and ten to fifteen minutes of trot work

Lumpy update
This is a puzzle. Prem has had two outbreaks of lumps. The first outbreak saw lumps over his back, neck, and a huge haematoma on his belly. The vet put the first outbreak down to an adverse reaction to a broad-spectrum wormer. Prem was on antibiotics for a week (have you any idea how difficult it is to get two large sachets of antibiotics a day in to a fussy eater?), and the lumps cleared up. The second outbreak was six weeks later. This time the vet couldn’t put his finger on anything. He said ‘Maybe he’s just a sensitive soul’. Hmmmm… Anyway, Prem had a shot of cortisone and is currently back on antibiotics for another week

Photo update
I’ve been spending some time tidying Prem up; his tail is looking smarter, and his mane is starting to look less like he’s borrowed it from a wild zebra. With the ridden work he is now beginning to muscle up and take proper shape again. And he loves being groomed. So after all this time, and after all these changes, the ups and the downs, this is how he looks today:

Premier Grand Cru

Premier Grand Cru

Not too shabby, I hope you’ll agree?

You’re having a laugh

There are few (and getting fewer) simple pleasures in life these days.

This clipping, from an Isle of Man newspaper, featuring a letter from a regular I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue contributor made my sleep-interupted night a happier place.

So I thought I’d share the ISIHAC love.


The Mummy (2017)

Sam spent £9.99 so we could watch a decent Saturday night film.

Unfortunately this Tom Cruise vehicle isn’t it.

This version of The Mummy takes the enjoyable Brendan Fraser film of the same name out for a ride to the dark, dismal and dirty place, in film industry land, where part-formed ideas of awful films live.

And left it dumped there.

The Mummy is a shockingly bad film.

Someone, no, several someones in the US film industry, thought this was a great film to make.

Every single one of those someones was wrong.

The Mummy (2017) is a film of rambling, shambling, idiocy, from a collective of skilled Hollywood professionals.

Top people in the film industry were paid really well, with real money, to make this happen…

I have no words.

Don’t pay to see this rubbish.

In fact, even if it’s free, don’t see it.

You’ll only encourage them.


Backs are amazing when you think about them.

Firm and inflexible, yet pliable and bendy.

Strong and supportive, yet yielding.

And load-bearing.

Connected to almost every part of the body, and if you add in the spinal cord and central nervous system components, your back is the hub of everything that you do.

It’s 3am.

I’ve been awake for two hours.

Awake because of back pain.

I have done ‘something’ to my back. No idea what.

It just isn’t working like it should.

I’m not whingeing.

I have a golden opportunity to catch up with my latest rewatching of The West Wing.

And I can tuck in to some serious reading.

So what’s not to like?

Getting in to the bathroom, for a start.

It’ll pass soon. The back thing, not the wanting to go to the toilet thing.

And look at the exercise my bladder is getting.

That’s got to be positive too, yes?

Bobbing about a bit

In a change to our typical weekends (although I’m still not terribly sure what a typical weekend is), the four of us have spent the weekend cruising/living on a narrowboat.

There’s a reason behind this waterbourne adventure, but more on that another time.

We spent Friday night, all of Saturday (inc night) and a good stretch of Sunday aboard ‘Carlton’, a 56′ narrowboat belonging to Ashby Boats.

The weather held fantastic all weekend.

During our two days afloat we cruised from Stoke Golding in Warwickshire to Shackerstone in Leicestershire.

Overnight we stopped at a remote stretch of canalside/countryside, a few miles north of Market Bosworth.

The peace and quiet Saturday night was awesome.


And there was absolutely zero light pollution.

It has been a very relaxing weekend.

But our lookouts were rubbish.


Lookouts not looking out

We had a going-upstream and coming-downstream conversation with a woman who has lived on her narrowboat for 13 years.

She said that selling up and becoming a liveaboard was the best thing she’s ever done.

When I asked her what the worst thing about being a liveaboard was, she thought about it before saying ‘muddy towpaths in the winter’.

She was a very jolly lady who, when we came back downstream, was about to start wielding an angle-grinder onto the outside of her boat (Nimrod).

It’s been a fun weekend, and one very different from any we’ve had.

This is the view when we woke up on Saturday morning:

Narrowboat: the view outside

Narrowboat: the view outside

Although we live in a quiet country village, the change in the view, and the shift in the pace of life were very welcome.

One year ago today…

At exactly this time (13.07) I was in Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham, A&E.

I was being told that I’d had (and was still having) a heart attack.

It was a Friday.

I knew I didn’t feel very well when I woke up, but put the relatively mild symptoms down to a cold, or manflu.

All my joints ached, I felt a bit vomitty, and I was heavily sweating.

Sam and I had had a row the night before, there was still an air of awkwardness in the house, so I went off to work.

By 9.30am my symptoms were unchanged, but I felt so much worse.

I did nothing about it because I had a big meeting at 10.30 with my team and my Director.

Around 10.15 I experienced an extra symptom. I felt as if someone was pushing with all their weight against my chest.

I figured out what was wrong.

I texted Sam that I thought I was having a heart attack and went in to my meeting.

The meeting ended at noon.

Sam had called every phone I have, and emailed every account.

I took my Director aside and said I was very unwell and going home.

I drove home.

Sam met me at the house, and drove me to hospital breaking every speed limit, and driving like she was auditioning for a part in The Sweeney.

At QMC I was hustled through A&E and underwent tests which quickly confirmed my self-diagnosis.

After a four day stay in hospital, an angiogram revealed I had a torn artery – the main artery that feeds blood in to my heart.

This was repaired on the spot through the fitting of a stent, and I went home later that afternoon.

The moral of this story is fourfold:

  1. Don’t be stupid about your job. It’s only a job. Life goes on without it, and the job goes on without you
  2. Look after those who love you, no matter how prickly or how big a pain in the arse they might sometimes be, they might help save your life one day and be a tremendous comfort to you
  3. Look after yourself. The buck stops with you
  4. The NHS saved my life. Please buy a nurse, a doctor, a porter, a surgeon a drink from me

We’re going out this evening to celebrate my Not Deadaversary.

Sam even had a card made up:

Not Deadaversary

Not Deadaversary

The BMW 120d is a sack of crap

For the last week I have been driving a BMW 120d.

That’s one of these:

BMW 120d, a sack of crap

BMW 120d, a sack of crap

In the not too distant past BMW used the phrase ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’ to describe their cars.

That’s certainly not a description I’d be happy using, if I worked for BMW, else the Trade Description enforcers would be all over me.

The driver’s ergonomics are awful (if the driver is over 5′ 10″). Apart from this point, the cabin is comfortable, fore and aft.

The engine is quiet which, frankly, it should be, given that it has the output of an arthritic hamster.

The gearbox is so vague that key components seem to have been manufactured from jelly.

The media centre developed a mind of its own, and had to be shut down.

And the hatch-boot space could barely accommodate a medium-sized ham sandwich.

But on the positive side, fuel consumption was good.

And the mirrors worked.

Another positive thing about driving the BMW 120d was that it really made me miss my car.

How I yearned for the beautifully-engineered, precision-manufactured (German designed and German built) gearbox.

And the (German) gearing ratio that just worked, and didn’t have to be fought against.

And the cavernous hatch-boot, which could take one very large suitcase, one medium suitcase, one small suitcase, two rucksacks, a handbag, AND a medium-sized ham sandwich.

Seriously, BMW, I don’t know who the target market is for your 120d, but as sure as hell isn’t anyone who you could call ‘a driver’.

Four legs good!

The vet came out for Prem’s second scan today.

Backstory: the injury to his near-fore Superficial Flexor Tendon occurred in March. Since then he’s been on box rest, with in-hand exercise on an increasing scale. For the last few weeks I’ve been splitting up his in-hand: half of the day’s exercise in the morning, half in the evening.

The first thing the vet commented on was that the leg looks much reduced, and had lost its ‘banana’ appearance.

The second thing the vet said, as I was towed, at great speed, down the trot-up, was that Prem is sound.

The re-scan showed major improvements in all areas.

Comparison photos and measurements showed how much Prem has improved. And it’s a lot.

The vet has said that we should continue the walking exercise, but there’s no need to stay in-hand; we can progress to being ridden in walk.

Prem's near fore being ultrasound scanned

Prem’s near fore being ultrasound scanned


For the last two weeks I’ve been walking Prem out in-hand, but tacked up, so that when I do put a saddle on him, it isn’t going to trip his mind out.

So the next time I tack him up, I’m going to try to sit on (if Prem will let me!).

I’ve put together a bridle from Beech’s tack which fits Prem as if it had been measured for him.

When we reach 45 minutes of walk, we can introduce five minutes of trot.

And in four weeks Prem can have an hour of turnout a day.

This is all such positive news, the vet said I was to keep on doing what we’ve been doing.

So we shall.