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  • Ali

Strange Times.

As with everyone else I think our lives have changed unrecognisable in a startlingly short space of time due to the Corona Pandemic and along with everyone else it has impacted every element of our daily life. Working from home has become the new normal for us whenever we can, which requires some discipline when the sun is shining and our list of jobs waiting to be done are ever increasing. Luckily the horses came home on Boxing Day so that means the need to leave Potters is reduced massively. Prior to the Lockdown I had every intention of having the horses back on their summer grazing in Wells by the end of March but with the current situation it seems a bit daft to be moving them to a more built up area, it just means that I will be feeding hay a bit longer and so whilst I still have some hay left I might as well carry on although we really have no grass left here. This is because we only have an acre paddock so we have tried to limit their time out to half a day or just a few hours if its a bit wet in order to stop them poaching the ground and causing too much damage. This year rather than stable them for hours for the first time I stabled them all together in the brick barn and then fenced off half our yard so they had a large space to wonder around outside as well. This has worked so well for the winter with them entertaining themselves peering over the wall at everyone passing by. But as the ground dried up I decided to give them a bit more freedom and taking advantage of the lock down shut the main gates to give them the run of the place.

To begin with they were very sensible and just mooched around the yard picking at the Alexandra and hedges but soon their curiosity got the better of them and they ventured round the back of the house onto the lawn. Luckily Pat was busy doing some paperwork and was completely unaware of the 3 large trespassers on his turfed lawn. As they were quietly grazing I wrongly thought they would be fine where they were as they weren't doing any harm, in fact they were saving us a job of mowing the grass. Oh how quickly this change! Having surveyed the scene very innocently Tipper spotted his chance and jumped down from the raised lawn and disappeared around the side of the house at a gallop, the other two realising they might be missing something followed at a sprint leaving standing start skid marks on Pats grass! For a moment I was more concerned about the churned up lawn but that quickly changed when I realised they weren't coming back so I charged after them on the very narrow path around the house only to see the front foot gate swinging open. Talk about panic! Luckily in their excitement they couldn't organise themselves to squeeze through it one at a time and were too busy bucking and squabbling at each other so seeing my chance I charged though the melee and slammed it shut. For a moment this bought them to their senses and they stopped and stared at me in shock, that was until Pat hearing the commotion stuck his head over the wall from the cattle yard to see what was going on and set them off again but now their blood was up there was no stopping them. Off they sprinted back around the house and back up onto his lawn to finish off ploughing the bits they had missed the first time but this time with Pat as a very loud spectator. Past experience has taught me in situations like this there isn't much you can do but laugh and if they head your way wave your arms, Pat was not convinced! Anyway after a while we were able to herd them back out into the main yard and rig up a makeshift fence to stop it happening again and I returned to treading in the divots although I think my front garden will need a bit more than that, but its not like we haven't got the time nowadays.

It's unsurprising in the current situation that time can seems to stretch on forever and the thought of 3 months Lockdown seems an uphill task but on reflection how can Christmas already be 3 month past and that seems to have flown by so fingers crossed it won't be too tedious. I had such plans to use the long evenings through the winter to catch up on paperwork and blog a bit more but here we are at the beginning of April with the evenings already beginning to draw out and my admin no more done and the last blog being back in October!

We have now been here for 16 months and time has flown by although in a completely different way to what we had initially planned for our first year. Since my last blog we trialed our first lot of workshops and they went brilliantly thanks to our amazing tutors. The first was our no kill sheepskin rug workshop run by the talented Jen from Fiber Workshop.

We ran morning and afternoon sessions where each person was shown how to select their raw fleece, then shown the technique of how to wet felt the back of the fleece in order to bind it together and make a beautiful rug . Not only was it great to learn a new skills but also it was really good fun with both sessions having a lovely atmosphere and everyone ending up with a beautiful rugs to take home.

Our other workshop was the Christmas wreath workshop with our local florist Lea from Darling Buds Florists South Creake who made it look amazingly easy to teach all us novices to produce a designer quality wreath.

As our old barn had been decorated for the wreath workshop we decided to put it too good use and invited our horsey neighbors from Wells and Walsingham to hack up to Potters on the Sunday before Christmas for homemade nibbles and buckets of mulled wine to raise funds for the local Riding for the Disabled Group at Walsingham. I have to thank our amazing friends and family who helped me make the endless trays of sausage rolls and mince pies and for the none horsey ones who were so brave handing out goodies and collecting donations. Amazingly we had about 20 tinselled up visiting ponies of all shapes and sizes and raised £100 for such a great cause.

Once the Christmas festivities had passed the old barn quickly reverted back to its original purpose with a big deep bed of straw that was amazingly draft free and cosy for its winter residents.

So I am guessing 2020 isn't quite what any of us expected but along with everyone else we will stay at home, send our heartfelt thanks to all those frontline staff working so hard and feel very much part of a small community that all come out on a Thursday night clapping, whistling and cheering their thanks to those keeping us safe.

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