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Showing posts from August, 2011

Amazon news

The OFT has postponed its decision on Amazon's proposed acquisition of The Book Depository until 2nd September.  I presume that means the decision has not been straightforward.

Guest blogger - Hannah Merson, artist

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One of the artists exhibiting at the Society of Equestrian Artists' exhibition in Nottingham from 18th September is Hannah Merson.  Hannah's my guest blogger today, talking about trying to doing something that is certainly less complicated to do when you don't have children.


My Addiction

I've never been particularly maternal.  Even as a little girl I shunned dolls in favour of farms and all the exciting things that came with them like tractors, cows and horses.  So, it was with some surprise in 2004 when I was working as a Senior Finance Manager for the Alliance & Leicester banking group that I fell pregnant with my son Thomas.



Now, much as I love my children, and would do anything for them, I was completely unprepared for motherhood:  the lack of sleep, the crying, the dirty nappies, the vomiting, the tantrums.  Life as I knew it was well and truly over.  My daughter Gemma followed on 17 months after Thomas.  I will never forget one particularly bad night.  It was …

Society of Equestrian Artists' Exhibition

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I wouldn't have a proper horse obsession if the horse in art didn't also make me ridiculously excited.  Just up the railway line from me in Nottinghamshire is the Sally Mitchell Gallery, which will be putting on the East Midlands Open Exhibition of Equestrian Art, in conjunction with the Society of Equestrian Artists.

The SEA is a charity that "promotes the best in contemporary equestrian art and supports and encourages artists who share that passion."  Their website is very well worth a look.  I have a Christmas present list filled up for years now.

If you're an artist, you have until 2nd September to submit works for the exhibition; if you're just interested in looking, then the exhibition is open online from 18th September to 22nd October, and at the Gallery itself from 25th September to 8th October. Although the chances of me, or my nearest and dearest coming up with any major money making scheme any time soon is remote, I will not lose heart.  Pieces are…

Fancy Dress

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I've just bought another set of vintage Pony magazines, which has an article on a perennial favourite of mine, the dressing up class.  Alas the quality of the photographs is pretty basic so it's not always easy to tell what's going on.  I think a better photograph would have done justice to the splendour of Miss Middleton's Panshanger Riding School doing A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Pamela Templeton at Ayr got her man...

The hounds were ready for the hunt,

But to no avail, as the fox got there first, in the Bucknall family's Fox's Frolic.




Guest blogger - Linda Newbery on Monica Edwards

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Linda Newbery,  Carnegie Medal nominee for The Shell HouseSisterland,At the Firefly Gate, silver medal winner, NestlĂ© Children's Book Prize for Catcall, and Costa Children’s Book winner of 2006 for Set in Stone, is today's guest blogger.  Linda was a fan of the Romney Marsh and Punchbowl Farm books of Monica Edwards, and this piece, which first appeared in The Martello Magazine in 2007, explains why. 

I can say without doubt that Monica Edwards made me want to be a writer from an early age.    
Wish for a Pony was my first encounter, at the age of eight.   There’s something special about the books we love as children, something I don’t think we can experience as adults.  I read and re-read Wish for a Pony so many times that I could recite chunks now, smell the paper, and see the Anne Bullen illustrations.  I virtually inhabited Westling; wanted Tamzin and Rissa for my friends and Jim Decks to confide in.  At that age I was taken with the wish-fulfilment of the plot, but what …

New hens

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I've put off getting new hens for months; mainly because neither of us could face the thought of more months trying to prevent our Black Rocks, who are the Al Capones of the hen world, making determined efforts to keep the hen population at what they considered an acceptable level: them, and their hench hen.  Last time we got new hens it took months of keeping the hens separately, Black Rocks patrolling the dividing fence like sharks hoping for seals, before peace finally broke out.
It's not as if our hens lack space.  Here is the hen area at Badger Towers, all surrounded by electric fence. 


They have a large bramble hedge that they spend hours and hours in.  "What do they do in there?" I asked my husband.  "Just chill, like teenagers," he said.  I think that's pretty much it, though now it is blackberry time, they do make the occasional foray out to snaffle any blackberries which have ripened since the last time they looked.  Or have a sandbath in any on…

Review: Linda Newbery - The Damage Done and The Nowhere Girl

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Linda Newbery - The Damage Done
Linda Newbery - The Nowhere Girl
not in print but easily available secondhand

I usually review books which are in print, as there's not a great deal of point going completely overboard about something brilliant but so gallopingly obscure and out of print it is obtainable only for a small mortgage and the gleaming locks of your first born child.  These two books have made me make an exception. A while back I reviewed Linda Newbery's Barney the Boat Dog, and the author got in touch with me suggesting another couple of her books she thought I might like.  She was right.

The Damage Done and The Nowhere Girl are both YA books.  They both became my car books. I don't know if anyone else does this, but I have a car book.  In fact, I have several car books.  I get panicky, fretful and generally not nice to know if I am faced with having to wait somewhere without a book.  Who knows when you might be stuck, stationary on the M1? Condemned to wait for the…

Re-use, recycle, restore

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In the 1980s, there was this:


and now, there's this:

Thank goodness for Photoshop.
Thanks to Hannah Fleetwood for this.

Morning walk

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Until I get my dragon

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this pony will do instead.




Unless the Apocalypse intervenes, of course.




Thanks to boing-boing for the first, and Susanna Forrest for the second. And apologies for repeating myself if you follow me on Twitter.

Guest blogger - Janet Rising: The Observation of Horses

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I'm delighted to welcome my latest guest blogger, editor of PONY Magazine, and author of the Pony Whisperer series, Janet Rising.

The observation of horses
Car journey boredom is not something from which I suffer, for there are always horses to see! As a young child, even before I swapped a shilling for I-SpyHorses &Ponies, my head would swivel from right to left on any car journey. I was, and still am, an equine-seeking missile.
On the route from the family home to my grandparents’ holiday caravan on the Essex coast every field containing horses was imprinted on my memory like a brand. The cobs on the right, the lone grey on the left, the palomino and bay on the weed-ridden paddock by the mobile home – even the tree-lined lane leading to the riding school advertised in the horsey press, too far away and expensive to attend, caused my pulse to quicken. It was a matter of honour never to miss a pony field. The excitement of any family holiday started the moment the car hit unfamil…

Moorland Mousie rides again

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The Moorland Mousie Trust has re-released Golden Gorse's Moorland Mousie: the quintessential Exmoor pony book, and one of the forerunners of the modern day pony book. The book is, I am delighted to say, is hardback, oh joy.  So, not only can you support the endangered Exmoor pony, you can support the survival of what looks like an endangered book form too.  The book contains all the original Lionel Edwards illustrations, and the Trust have tried to stick to the original in format and style as closely as possible.




Moorland Mousie costs £11.99, plus p&p (which is £3 for a single book in the UK - please contact them for postage on overseas orders or large UK orders).  All profits go to the Moorland Mousie Trust, to conserve and promote the rare-breed Exmoor pony.   Since the charity was founded, it has helped more than 400 ponies, most of them foals, to find new homes.   In Autumn each year the Trust takes on the surplus unbought ponies from the moor, and domesticates and trains t…

New books for August

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Here's this month's releases.
Patricia Leitch - Horse in a Million Out today (1st August) is the latest in Catnip’s Jinny series is Horse in a Million (£5.99).  In this episode, the sixth in the series, Jinny and Sue are organising the Finmory Gymkhana, but Clare Burnley, pot hunter supreme, decides to compete. After that, two of Miss Tuke’s ponies disappear, and then Shantih disappears...

A few weeks ago Catnip's commisioning editor wrote a piece on why she commisioned the reprints
Kelly McKain - Daisy and Dancer Also out today (Stripes Publishing, £4.99) is the latest in this long running series.  I keep thinking that I really must read another, as I haven't read one since the first, about which my feelings were ambivalent.  The series is a popular one, and more new titles are planned.  In this latest, Daisy is the latest attendee at Sunnyside Stables, and her pony for the week is going to be Dancer. Daisy isn’t quite up to the gymnastic brilliance displayed by her fell…