In answer to one query on my FB page, my next book is a pure novel based on the adventures of a young girl, recently married, to goes to live in a fictional African state and gets herself into all sorts of trouble.  I’m having a lot of problems with it as to start with, she won’t do as she’s told.  I have it all mapped out in my head, but she keeps going off on her own and after I’ve written this, I’m going to have to go back and re-direct her.  She just does NOT WALK OFF INTO THE BUSH AT THIS STAGE!!  

My other big problem is that for so many years I have been writing for radio and television and stuff like advertising copy and mayoral speeches, so I keep forgetting to add any descriptive bits, so the reader knows what everything looks like.  This is a problem as you don’t do that for radio and TV, but for a book of course, some description is essential.  So I have to stop and mentally shake myself.

I don’t even have a title for this one yet, but hope to have it finished mid summer [northern hemisphere] and then take a backward step for book three which will tell about the stuff that happened while filming and general work on radio and in TV.  That should be more familiar territory.

I’ve been told more than once that I should stick to comedy, but what’s life if you don’t push yourself out of your comfort zone?

Well the riding school was an excellent example of me doing just that. We had really interesting lessons, dare I say unique ones?  For example, how to fall off your horse safely onto a mattress? If you’ve ever heard of any other riding school offering that, then please let me know!  I guess this was my sole contribution to safety in the years I ran it.  but that was the easy part, not one of the ponies was much over 15 hands, but the REAL trick was to get your pony near the mattress in the first place.  I can’t remember who donated that thing.  I do remember the stuffing was escaping in several places and I don’t think it smelled too good either!  In particular the kid’s pony flattened his ears and reared up as he approached it!  I kept telling him this was for a gymkhane and not a rodeo.

This important lesson was also important in preparing my clientele for their battle with the Selibe Pickwick Riding School in the gymkhana I had proposed.  Yes, they were a proper outfit, but we had spent hours bouncing up and down lunging for apples bobbing in the water, jumping along in sacks and passing sticks to each other in the relay races. 

The rosettes were on order, and the t-shirts arrived, illegal copies of a Thellwell pony scene but they were extremely appropriate. 

I’ll let you know how we did next time and if Amy [the book two heroinne] has learned to behave herself and do as she is told.

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Finally!! Combining horses and beer.

I’ve finally thrown everything aside and to shut my conscience up, I am, at last adding to this blog as I promised to.

I termed my riding school the “Worst riding school in the world,” and no one can prove otherwise.  What qualifications did I have to presume to teach others how to ride?  None whatsoever!  I’d played around on my friend’s horse maybe a dozen times in the last years of primary school.  This was followed by about a year’s worth of once a week lessons at an hour a time.  Then I didn’t get on a horse until I arrived in Gabarone in Botswana.  The boss’s wife also liked riding, she would and she could! So I was press-ganged into going with her and as she was in the intermediate class, I joined that. 

However after the first outride, when they realized that I wasn’t with the group having fallen behind, due to lack of my feet in the stirrups and the pony enjoying a snack by the trail – they firmly demoted me to the beginners class. As you may well have read, fate landed me in Francistown with two horses to care for.  I knew no other people who had horses, and remember no internet in those far flung days, so I was pretty much left to my own devices. 

In England it all seemed so easy, turn them out into a green field and let them get on with it. Then a net of hay at night in the stable and that’s all it took.  But there are no green fields in Botswana, and they had to eat something!

The first person I asked for help, directed me to the livestock food store just outside town and to the local brewery.

“The brewery?” I asked in amazement.

“Yes, best stuff for horses in the world.”

You want to know what you get for horses in a factory making beer?

I’ll tell you next time.