I’ve finally got myself sorted with a reliable internet connection, and I can get back to my blogging. It’s been a busy week.
Last week I finally moved into my farm – 330 acres in the rolling Surrey countryside. Four woods making 55 acres, one decent sized lake, six ponds and a little brook running through the middle. They haven’t had horses on the land for thirty years, but plenty before then – no paddocks survive but it won’t be difficult to put them back in.
Some of the pasture is suitable for horses now, some will be in years to come, some will probably never be suitable. Lots of wildlife – deer, hares, rabbits everywhere. It’s a very old site – the farmhouse may be two hundred years old or so but previous farmhouses on the site go back to the 1200s and two of the woods are there on the oldest maps.
We moved in last Thursday – I couldn’t be there in the morning as I had to go to court to face up to a speeding infringement. It didn’t go well – I picked up four points and lost my licence for six months as it took me over 12 points. If the offence had been one day later I’d have been alright – I had three points on 30 July 2004 and this offence was on 29 July 2007. Of the four offences on my licence three were on roads where the speed limit has been reduced in recent years. Two were on the A3 where the speed limit goes 70, 50, 40, 30 with the road hardly changing at all until you get to the 30mph section.
I’m not happy about it. I’ve been driving for 26 years picking up next to no points and no accidents. I haven’t changed, it’s the law and the way it’s being enforced that’s changed. Any number of good drivers I know have picked up points in recent times, including my mother-in-law who has just picked up the first points of her life at the age of 75 for driving at 34 mph over Barnes Common, a completely open stretch of land.
I was particularly irritated by the rationale of the ban. I have four children at two different schools – it’s impossible for one person to drop them off at the right times. The farm is well off the beaten track – it’s a ten minute walk to get to the edge of my land and the postman, paper boy and bin men won’t come down to the house as it’s too far. In court they spent a while asking about my business and the state of my finances – I’d hoped they would let me off with a fine, but they banned me because (or so it seemed) I could afford a driver. My lawyer suggested beforehand that they would do this – basically I was discriminated against on account of my wealth.
Anyway enough moaning. I’ve had a few horses run. Ours ran poorly and has become disappointing. Big Paddy ran pretty well all things considered – he’ll be better for a step up in trip and ultimately for a switch to fences.
King’s Head may come out at Newbury on Saturday (ground permitting) – if the ground is G/F he could have a decent chance. Hopefully I’ll make it along, but I’m also hoping to make the Swindon match and it’s going to be tight.
Swindon’s form has been mixed since I last wrote, but on balance I’m disappointed, particularly by the 3-0 home drubbing by Walsall. The play-offs look a long way away now. I think things can and will improve – Saturday’s game against Leeds will tell a lot.