Breyerfest 2017

I’ve been collecting Breyer horse models (possessions have become a consolation) and decided to go to the Breyerfest collectors’ event in Lexington, Kentucky, in July this year.

It was a great success, a sensible sort of thing to do alone.  I attended the event for three days running at the Kentucky Horse Park, did a ‘horse farm’ minibus tour, visited Mary Lincoln’s house, and generally enjoyed the hot weather and excitement of being back in America.

I also – since there was no public transport and I didn’t want to hire a car – learnt how to use Uber taxis, and have now tried them back home as well.  Very useful.

And I must not neglect to mention that (despite being extremely anxious about the risks involved) I managed to go horseriding as well, so have now ridden three different horses in three countries:

– Titan in Menorca
– Alfie in England
– Hank in the USA

Quiz:  How many Breyer horse models did I manage to carry home with me from America in my case and hand luggage?

  1. Two (Would have been sensible)
  2. Five (Would have been quite a few)
  3. Eight! (Well, that was the whole point of going out with a large, half empty suitcase!)


Krakow horses


(I stopped doing this photo blog a while ago because I don’t believe many people are looking at it and it just seemed too sad to continue writing stuff no-one’s reading.   Nevertheless, with the new year, I thought I’d do a couple of posts with photos I liked.)

I went to Krakow in late summer 2016, and stayed on my own in an apartment in the old town for a week.  It was very noisy all night with people talking, drinking, and laughing – particularly on the Friday and Saturday when the noise really didn’t die down until about 6am.  Difficult when it’s hot and you want the window open.

There are horses and carts giving rides to tourists in the main square, and I would keep hearing the sound of horses hooves from my room as they passed along the street below, all day and until late at night, and I would go and look out of the window at what colour the horses were.  I’m a bit obsessed with horse colours for some reason, and I liked the way they were so nicely paired up – two white, two dapple grey, two brown, two skewbald etc.  I particularly liked this unusual appaloosa colour on the photo – big brown spots.  I’ve never seen a horse that colour in England.

I do recommend Krakow as an introduction to Poland – it’s a lovely old city with lots of historical stuff to see, plus wonderful shops and loads of cafes and restaurants to try.  Right at the end of the week I discovered the more modern side of the city – a huge three storey shopping centre near the railway station that I thought was more impressive than any I can think of in London!

The trumpet call that is played from the main church every hour is so interesting and impressive – to think that it has sounded every single hour for something like 700 or 800 years to commemorate the death by arrow of the person sounding an alarm call.  Very profound to think that the poor man himself could never have guessed that that would happen for so very long after his death.



Sea Pie and Cobweb


I’ve been engaged in a long and major sort out of ‘stuff’, and am now opening boxes of things from my past, which all (well mostly) seem very dear to me.  (When you first lose someone, all things seem worthless, because you would’ve given every last possession to save someone’s life; but now I feel like my possessions are precious – I haven’t got him any more, but I’ve still got my things.)

I’ve found lots of old children’s books and have just re-read one called Wish For A Pony.  I can tell from my own handwriting in the front of it that I read it very young, yet the writing style seems so adult and highbrow, you can’t believe a child would have understood it all.  Look at some of this vocabulary:

“The girls’ eyes paid silent homage to…”
“…no room in their burdened minds…”
“…with hearty determination.”
“…until it was abruptly terminated…”
“…wallowed placidly forward…”
“…handing over the disreputable parcel…”
“She rummaged obligingly…”
“Tamzin trailed dejectedly…”
“I’ll guarantee them as absolutely immaculate.”

So I’m reading this, when in my kiddy handwriting I’ve misspelled ‘white’ as ‘whight’?  I guess that’s how you learn the language and become literate, though, by learning new words from the context.

Maybe it’s just that the writing is old-fashioned, compared to today:
“’I say!’ breathed Rissa on the threshold. ‘This is smashing!’”

Anyway, there are two girls in the book and they ride two ponies at a stables on the beach – one called Sea Pie (bay), the other Cobweb (grey).

On the same day as I found the book, I also came across two little souvenir ponies/donkeys from Corfu, made out of leather.  One is brown and one is grey, so naturally they have become Sea Pie and Cobweb.

It’s sad how I’m reverting to childhood.  It’s something to do with needing/getting comfort wherever you can.

Rocky Mountain Horse


I’ve just had a new experience, bidding for something on ebay – and winning!

I thought I had got the item I wanted – a Breyer horse model that I had particularly been looking out for and knew was difficult to get hold of – as it had been telling me for a while I was the highest bidder, but luckily I thought to be online at the last moment.  Suddenly, literally in the last few seconds, not even minutes, someone bid against me and the price leapt up to double what it had been.  I bid back twice and won.  Very exhilarating, I must admit.  Having that real time interaction with someone somewhere who also wanted the item, but reacting quickly enough and getting what you wanted.  Sort of like gambling I suppose – I’d better watch out I don’t get hooked and acquire another addiction.

Do I really need another Breyer horse?  Of course not.  But I want him!  He’s mine!


Leicester Square Horses

For the record – to note for posterity a private thing between my late partner and myself – the four beautiful big bronze horses in the fountain at Leicester Square are called, from left to right:

  • Bucephalus
  • Nero
  • Callisto
  • Florian

Doubtless other people have named them differently, but these were our names.  Every time I saw them with John I would test his memory and he would generally get them right.  Sometimes we would dispute which was Callisto and which was Florian.

May they draw his chariot through the heavens!