Sunday, April 28, 2013

Whoa there!

To be honest, there has been so many times that I could easily have written a new post but I didn't. No excuses..I have run out of them now!

The 2012/2012 Florida winter season was a sheer whirlwind. So much was done, as in riding/working/visiting/spectating/competing....the list is as long as my hair at this stage.

I left off after the Palm Beach leg of the World Dressage Masters that was held at the end of January. It is from here on that I really had a mind blowing time!!

I spent most of February riding LC and any other horse I was told to! LC was getting better and more confident as time went on. We even took her off the farm and hacked her down the loop to another arena to work her in. It was amazing to feel how confident she has become since she first came to Foster Meadow.

And then the best part...

I was told I was to compete and so off I went and joined both USEF and USDF

I am deemed here as a professional (since I earn my living from horses) so I have to compete as one. Not that I care!

Under USEF and USDF with each level there are max 3 tests. As in Training Level Test 1,2 and 3. No more. Each one progressively more complex aiming towards the next level. In opposition to BD tests which have like 20million tests in each level.

Here is the breakdown of each level and which level is equivilant to BD ones:

USA                                                  IRE/UK

Training                                             Prelim
First                                                  Novice
Second                                              Elementary
Third                                                 Adv.Medium
Fourth                                               Advanced
PSG                                                  PSG
Inter I                                               Inter I
Inter II                                              Inter II
GP                                                    GP

You can see that they don't have an equivilant to Medium. There is a big jump in the levels here from Second to Third.

Here is a link where you can read each test from Training to Fourth. I am a big fan of the US' way of doing these tests. All progressive, all reviewed at the exact same time so no unnecessary confusion just as you start your test!

Pam wanted LC at a show a 5 min hack from our base in FL so we didn't have the worry of trailering in. All the better for LC anyway to be able to hack to and from a show. The norm here is that a horse does one test a day, of course it is allowed to do more, but it rare.

We entered for the Welcome Back to White Fences I for Training Level Test 3 on the friday and First Level Test 1 on the saturday, so at least she still gets her normal day off (sunday). It is a great show ground, three competition arenas, two warm ups (one with mirrors) and a large lunging arena. Lunging IS permitted at shows here in the USA provided you do it in the assigned places. Again another good idea, more so for the young horses who have never been exposed to a show before etc. Mind you, this show grounds are deemed as the "small showgrounds' in White Fences, but the show I was entered in with LC was the size of our Summer Nationals in Cavan. It was over the course of 3 days, with a schooling day on the Thursday. Go big or go home, right?!

Oh Wait!

The tues before our debut, Pam said I had to ride LC in a demo for a web based company called:

I'm sorry but you have to be a subscriber to the website to watch all the online clinics. And of course I am not!

So of course, not only was I going to get to compete that week I also got my internet debut lol. So it was really just a lesson from Pam with the founder of videotaping it. Pam used LC for anyone to know and understand what a typical 5yo in training should be doing and what is expected of that age. It was over 30degrees celsius that day. And it was late in the afternoon. I will never forget it! It was the best session I had on LC to that date. I was so syked for the show.

The show went great. She went around, did her job and did what was asked of her. Which is a seriously far cry from where she was at when we first got to FL. We placed 2nd on the first day with a 73%! The second day was not so good, she was long and flat, tired and tight! But still managed a 65.3% at a higher level. Pam was delighted, she now knows what LC is like at a show. And I was delighted to have shown in America!!

Above is the video of the first day :)

At the beginning of March I ended up riding a clients horse a few times a week. He is a 14.1hh Lusitano stallion bred in Mexico called Tome. He trains the GP  but has shown successfully at PSG. His owner Wick is fabulous and a seriously great rider.

One lesson, Pam made me ride out all the canter and trot tour from the PSG. Sure I thought this was brilliant! I am getting to ride a sportscar of a pony AND do some cool stuff too. Turns out she was testing me as I got told a week later that I was going to compete Tome at a show the end of March. Nearly wet myself! I loved riding Tome, he taught me so much... canter pirouettes, piaffe, spanish walk, how to ride my corners and half passes better.

He truly is a great horse. I am now bitten by the pony bug, its an addiction...I have a problem!!!

We were entered for the Welcome Back to White Fences II for Fourth 2 and Fourth 3. We won our first class on a 66% and we were placed in the second on a 62% :) It was my debut at that level and I am still shell shocked.

Video of our winning test

I was so sad when we had to leave Florida and I could not ride Tome anymore! I had such a blast of a season and I feel so lucky to have been given a chance. This past Florida season was by far the best, we knew what it was all about this time. We met loads of new people, went out socialising more, rode more, saw more...the list is endless! (Plus I won't rub it in what with all the fun and sun we had) :)

We soon after had to pack up the barn and think about the drive up north. I stayed behind again this year to get the horses on the shipper and close up the barn. Shauna and Ali left a few days earlier to get the NH place all set up and ready. Had a really bad drive back up north, stuck in traffic all through Georgia and some of South Carolina. Instead of being on the road 13 hours, I was on the road 16 for the first day. Got a few hours sleep and was on the road by 6.30am the following morning and made it back to Foster Meadow by 8pm. You have no idea how happy I was to see my little bed!! I was not happy to be back in the cold though :(

                                            X marks the spot in Georgia

So I must love ye all and leave ye all, we have clients moving in today (YAY! This place is too quiet without them all) My dearest Philip is coming back to me for another summer of torture (he really hates to see me) but I am actually happy to see him and his owner Kelly back. She really is great. And Jen is moving here from Florida for the summer with her Grand Prix horse Vito. Can't wait to see her too!!


One last thing.... I am hitting Eire hard in a few weeks for a holiday! I will hopefully be back on my Irish number (087-9136900) so text me, I could be anywhere so maybe we can meet up! (p.s. mine's a pint)


Monday, January 28, 2013

The Craziest Season so far

Apologies for lack of correspondance, but my lord the past three months have passed so quickly!

First of all Florida came around so fast. It was an uneventful drive down, we all arrived safe and sound. All being the horses, ourselves, Pam's dogs and our beautiful "daughter" Mischa. You all will be glad to know she still lives on! She has escaped the wrath of the NH coyotes and our resident alligator thus far. She now walks in a harness with a leash! So proud :)

December was a hairy month as we would say back home. Shauna unfortunately had to leave us for the month as she was scheduled for surgery and needed the month to recover etc. All is great now! She can smell, taste and breathe well again!! We did miss her though, both at work and outside of work!

So December was manned by Ali and I. With some help from one of the clients, Jane aka "Mom". Oh man we love that woman. She is a miller to muck out stables I can tell you!! I won't lie, December was a tough month. We worked a hell of a lot, but on the otherhand I rode a ton too. I had the two four year olds, a grey that was destined for the jumper ring and anything else that needed riding.

Ziggy was having a tough time of it, he just recovered from a really bad abcess in his right hind that had him laid up for easily 2 months. So his right side was as weak as water. As he got better, his opinion and attitude shone out a bit too much for our liking!! It was understandable... he was only pushed as much as he was physically able to take, but now he was doing much better physically and he didn't like the idea of having to go back to big boy school. He turned to bucking. And I sat all the bucks until one day.... he was being a pup, I smacked him with the crop on the shoulder and he gave me the finger basically. Well actually he made me eat dirt. I had it, until he threw in a dirty one and dropped his left shoulder and ducked out to the right. Needless to say, he didn't do that again in a hurry!! He is now going fabulously. Walk, trot, canter, leg yields, transitions up and down, centre lines. He basically had an issue with me taking a contact and getting my legs on. He is learning now that he can complain, but can't be an asshole!!

LC on the otherhand has just been a superstar. She took to Florida really well, she likes the heat and all the goings on has helped her become more adaptable. I cannot say how much I enjoy getting to ride her and learning how to ride a 4yo turning 5yo. To know what they should be doing at this age and teaching her along the way is invaluable. Everyday I am learning and everyday she is too. I always struggled at home with knowing the time to start upping the ante and why. Pam has taught me to be vigilant and having the insight to know when new things need to be introduced and what needs to be better before moving on to teaching them new things, what is age appropriate, was is not, how much to ask, what not to ask, understanding the biomechanics as to why this or that is difficult for her at this stage or that stage etc etc. Lads the list is endless!! The connection now is getting quite good. She is carrying herself really nicely - up and out to the contact. As I said before, these thoroughbred types need contact, but need to ride out and up to it. It is said for all horses that they need to be "in the box" but it is vital that you ride the horse UP INTO the box and not PULL it BACK INTO the box.


So Remi was the jumper horse I rode for a few weeks. He actually belonged to a client of Pam's that had him as a dressage horse, but it wasn't his calling in life! So he came to us to get fit and get back into the jumper mode. I had a blast, I haven't jumped in donkeys years!! Pam taught me how to do "jumper changes" where you ask for a flying change over the jump with the aim to land on the correct lead after. So I learned some jumper things too!!

                                                      Remi and I - Christmas Day 2013

Christmas Day was one of the best that I have ever had. All of the people at the barn that had nothing to do, converged at Jen's house (a fabulous client and great friend of ours) for the evening's festivities! It was a potluck kind of dinner, we all brought something and we also did Secret Santa!! It was a great day. We rode the horses in the morning, while listening to Il Divo's christmas CD blaring on the music system. Twas a funny day!

January followed really closely, Shauna came back....YAY!!!!!!! We though Jan would be nicer since there were more peeps to man the barn, but with over 22 horses on 3 different properties.... I think you get the idea. Oh and yeah, we had over 18 horses in December between just Ali and I. Wowsers.

The Palm Beach leg of the World Dressage Masters was on this past weekend, it also had a 3* CDI incorporated which Pam competed in. She came 4th in the PSG and 8th in the Inter 1 with Bernie. He hasn't been shown since last year and for Bernie, it was a fantastic result!!

Had tickets again this year, wasn't as big a show as last year which was slightly disappointing, but then again... Edward Gal and Hans Peter Minderhoud were scheduled to compete!! But then Gal dropped out due to illness (I can confirm that he was sick, as I stalked him and saw him cough and wipe his nose a lot). The Hans dropped out of the freestyle due to soundness issues with his horse. So then there were only 7 in for the freestyle. Was pretty bad to be honest. The only one deserving to be at this supposed high level competition was Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven. She stole the show and I am not exaggerating. Her freestyle was harmonious, flowing, in time to the music, the music was perfect. She was the only one that gave me goosebumps. Last year I had goosebumps with her, Charlotte, Anja Plonkze, Stephan Peters, Carl Hester....get my drift?!

Here is the link to Tinne's freestyle of the weekend just gone

PS See if you can see me.... I am in the front row on the left of A as you watch :)

Tinne.... talk about a really good rider. She is just amazing!! She deserved that win.

I shall try and keep this updated I promise!!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

To be, or not to be, - that is the question

Back in my Leaving Cert days studying Hamlet was the biggest mental block that I have experienced.... that is until now!

My latest block is figuring out what to do after my time here. Here in the US at this moment, I would be deemed as a professional. Horses are my profession, my job, my life etc. At home somehow I think it would be different. I often wonder could I see myself doing horses as a career at home or is that a silly notion?

Or am I better to keep horses as a side earner for myself and work part-time?

I had a chat with Mam and Dad when they were over. I will be nearly 28 when my visa expires ( I know everyone says that is still young! ) BUT I do not want to be still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up when I will already be grown up!! I need a plan. Now mind you I am not freaking out about this just yet but as ye already know I am a procrastinator - hence my lacksy-daisy attempts at keeping this blog afloat. A vague plan would be nice. :D

I do know this much, whether I will make horses my career or not I will get myself a great horse that I can get to FEI level. My Dad said to me that I am very demanding which I was horrified at! I said am I that much of a b***h??!! He said "Of course not! I meant that whatever you want you will make sure that you get it for yourself, not in a deceitful way but in a hard-working way". Basically whatever I put my mind to I will make sure I make the best out of it, for myself.

I guess he is right? I know that this will be a long road. What was the mean age of all the dressage riders at this past Olympics? Forties. So I have some time yet. Not that I am saying I want to aim for the Olympics. Some CDIs in England would suffice!! I know my limits.

Ugh. Growing up is difficult.

On a lighter note, the horses are going great here! I am riding Bernie a few times a week which is amazing. I do the 'physical therapy days' where I have to learn how to get him more through, listening to me and ON my aids. Not easy! This week was a great learning curve, Pam told me how to get it and left me alone. She said I needed to figure it out for myself. Day 1...I got him pretty good but it took quite a while. Day 2...YURT!!! I got it really good and quicker too.

LC had a hard week, our contact has been getting much better. The weather was quite nice and mild so we worked outside for a few of the days. That was a big issue for us for a while as she was originally quite shy and easily bamboozled so I could barely get her around the arena. Then she got quite bold and attempted to stop and try and buck. Difficult as I had not got the control of her shoulders, couldn't get my legs on her etc! Now that the contact is much better this week was brilliant. No major issues outside except turning! Her paces are HUGE. We can cross the short side in 3 canter strides!! The contact was an issue because she is part thoroughbred and TBs tend to need a trusting, solid contact where they have to ride forward and take the bit forward. Because she was still growing, not able to control her own legs and getting to know herself I was finding it difficult to keep it all together! My lower back was in bits boi! But this week it all came together...yaytimes!!

 Here is a video of us in action....bear in mind she was tired and I was booting her around the gaf

Hope my riding has improved!!!


                                              Oh lord. We dressed Mischa up. Oh lord. I am a cat lady :'( Crap.

Sooooooooooo excited to be celebrating Halloween here. Like you have no idea. Van Guard Stables is the home of the Behind the Mask theatrical troupe, where one of our amazing clients (Katherine Dow) teaches, rides and competes and part-takes in the troupe. check this out... 

So Van Guard are having THE biggest party tomorrow night. Pictures will follow for sure! The Party is called Van Gore! They have the indoor decorated with a fire pit in the middle manned by skeletons. their viewing room is actually transformed into a viewing room....!/photo.php?fbid=369376159812306&set=a.295532550530001.67857.294897363926853&type=1&theater

So while I finish this post, I am also writing a last minute list for any garb needed to finish off our costumes for this partay....


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Way beyond procrastination :'(

I am officially inept at keeping this going. It is now mid October and I have been here in NH since early April. Fail.

These past 6 months have been the sun, moon and stars to me. I have laughed, learned, roared, had tears in my eyes, aches all over my body and I am still up for more. I have went from a basic elementary level rider to one who now knows how to ride PROPERLY!!!!!

I am still struggling with the concept of owning it, riding every stride, taking no prisoners and knowing when to stop. It is the most difficult thing for me. My parents came over to visit me September 18th. They got to see me ride Bernie, Pam's Inter II horse. Dad could not believe how much I have improved and for him to actually say that to my face made my year! He was always the one to push me at home, but I guess it is hard for a close relative to say to you, "Cop the F**k on and ride! Do something instead of just sitting there poking and praying!!" Pam, sound for calling me out on this!! "You are going TO ride not GO FOR a ride!!"

That yell will forever ring in my ears.

Back in May, a 15yr old Morgan owned by an adult amateur came for what was only supposed to me a mth....he is still here!! Kelly was so pleased on how he was shaping up she wanted him to stay for an agreeable lengthy eductation. I was the proposed jockey. He has turned me inside out. I have learned how to ride a tricky moving breed and the main part, I have learned respect. One day he was going great, and Pam said do some walk-trot transitions. Sure not only did I do some, but I tore the arse out of the poor horse doing them because they were so good! He started acting up as he is temperamental by nature, so I was hard on him. Pam called me on it, "He can be only good for so long SJ, remember that!! He can be bad all day of he wants because it is easier for him to be that way. Working good is so hard for him. Know the god damn difference!!!!"

Filion being hand grazed

I believe it is so important to be an open book when being taught. Before I would have taken serious offense emotionally to being yelled at in such a way. Now it happens 20times a day! Would I have learned all I have thus far if I closed myself down?? Nope, I guess not.

In June the horses Pam bought from Denmark were to be shipped here. The 2 mares had to go into 2week quarantine for CEM tests. They have to have 3 clear CEM uterine swabs before being released. Ziggy, the only gelding was able to be picked up straight away from the animal import centre in NY. Guess who the proposed jockey for this boyo was? Moi! Nearly soiled myself at the thought because riding young horses under someone else's instruction other than your father is a daunting thing. Not knowing what she wants you to do and when etc. All that aside he is a super star for a 4yo. Easy to do in everyway. He can go outside on his own and hack around. When riding young horses and breakers at home I was always just asking for the bare minimum, if they did it without a hassle I left it be and didn't push for anymore. Now I see how bad that was!! How else are you going to improve them if you are not the teacher?

Ziggy being led out of quarantine in the NY Animal Import Centre

He wanted my ice cream!!

Can you see here my trend? I am not riding and asking enough of the animal I sit on. I need to be more on the ball as the saying goes. But I think I am getting there. I have relapses quite often. You can ask Pam that!

So my current mounts are UVM Filion ( the morgan) and the 4yo Danish mare Lucienne that Pam imported. Quite often Bernie too, as of late. He is a great one to learn ownership on! Today for example, he took over on every diagonal I rode, which I had intended in doing tempis. He is an arse on them anyway Pam says. But all the same, we went through easily ten mins of HALF HALTING and riding him forward so he got the picture that I am not one to mess with. I had to be on the ball every stride, otherwise if he was given just 1 stride, I was back to square one. Pam said that she rides EVERY STRIDE! Whats the point in just half halting and not kicking forward to the bit? He falls on the forehand and goes out behind, kicking me in the arse and ignores my leg aids to change. Guess what?? Half halt him and RIDE him forward and all peace will be restored! I had to change my t-shirt after this lesson. Whew.

LC is a chestnut beauty. Very sweet girl, but shy unlike Ziggy. She always tries to be good even if she is scared. She has thoroughbred in her, so she is fast when she wants to be. My major worry about riding her was that I was too slow. I guess I would have to learn huh?! Oh yes I did! She has been growing all summer so to ride her varied from day to day. She has the most unbelieveable hind end I have ever seen. So much so we have her nick-named Spiderlegs. She can't get her front legs out of the way quick enough at times! She is very strong but in a good way, once you have that right side you can do anything. As we are getting into winter and she has stopped growing the ante has been upped now that she can take it. She has to accept the contact and stay on the page. She still is a little young to stay inside the lines, but we will keep asking more of her and see how it fares out. I need to be more stern with her, her shyness is leaking away.


The summer has came and went, the trees are turning and talk of returning to Florida is a hot topic. Still have enough time to get LC where she needs to be before FL and Filion is set to go home at the end of this month. But he has been booked in here as soon as we get back from FL. I can see him becoming a regular fixture :)

6.30 AM Autumn Sunrise with my beloved Kobota ;)

How amazing is this? I am riding up to 3 and sometimes 4 horses a day, all under constant instruction. I work with amazing people, amazing clients and amazing animals. I never have regretted making the decision to leave Ireland for a few years to learn more about riding, dressage and myself.

Next post won't be so philosophical. Promise!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My new home (until Flo-rida again!)

So as promised, here are pics of Foster Meadow in the metropolis that is Boscawen, NH! ( Please note the sarcasm intended with the word 'metropolis') Boscawen is a small town 15 mins north of Concord, NH. Concord is the capital of the NH state.,_New_Hampshire

The most activity about Boscawen is the Dunkin Donuts and the 2 petrol stations. Woot craziness here lads!! But mind you, it is has a large surrounding farming community and there are plenty of farm stands that sell fresh produce.

But the MOST AMAZING THING ABOUT BOSCAWEN (besides Pamela Goodrich's top class dressage training facility) is Richardson's ice cream parlour that is situated no less than a third of a mile down the road!
Holy moly lads they have the BEST produce I have ever come across. Not only that but Jim and Sue are the cream on the sundae. I get such a kick out of them. Ever remember the couple John and Mary O'Leary in Father Ted? Mind you there are no murderous business about them as seen to the extent in Father Ted! But they are always slagging each other and everything. Pure highlight at the end of a work day. Their sundaes are killer, and their ice cream flavours are to die for. I love their coffee oreo, cookie dough, orange sherbert, peppermint oreo...the list is endless! Sue's pies and crisps are heavenly.

Ok, ok I know all ye want to see are the farm pics so here you go lads!!

                              Front view of the barn

                           Stabling on the left side, and indoor to the right

                         Parking lot and indoor. Delia is still alive and kicking too!!

                                    Barn aisle - Sixteen 12ftx12ft stables

 Grooming and wash stalls on left, tack room on near right, door to our apartment by the indoor last on the right
               Outdoor view...with a beautiful backdrop and a hilly field for 'play days'
                      Where all the yelling at happens
                      Pam's house
So here are all the pics! Not much said, but I am writing the next posts on the horses I have been riding. So the fun stuff is coming up!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New Hampshire...the first days

After the shock of falling down through my newly appointed bed the first night and the fact that it was bloody cold up here, I began to feel a little ill in the following days.

Mind you it all boiled down to the fact that I was pretty dehydrated and wrecked tired from the packing, driving 25hours with lack of water and sleep. Once we had settled in the apartment, resurrected the Lyons Tae and caught up on sleep I was a new woman!

All the horses travelled well, they did lose some condition but that was expected. However, the colder weather had all their backs up!!

Pam was due to fly to Europe as soon as she got back from clinicing in Ohio. Her holiday was both business and pleasure as she was going to visit family in France and then on a 3 day horse hunting trip in Denmark for herself and clients.

Of course we had a list as long as my nicely grown out haircut.

We had the whole barn, indoor arena mirrors, windows and screens to clean, the outdoor arena fence to put up, our apartment and her house to clean and put order to again. Luckily, we only had max 6 horses in the barn to look after until Pam came home!

                                                             The tack room floor needed painting

I used to work for my mother's family business, Shanahan Paints. I was a colour consultant and assistant to all home decor needs. My Dulux dog was not happy that I was using other brands :( Nonetheless, I had stairs to sand, stain and varnish.

                   Our only way out of the apartment since the stairs were undergoing a beauty treatment. Scary.

Finished product!! I know, I only had a circular electric sander, hence the edges are not great. I'm calling it "New England Rustic" ;)

The best thing was though, was that Shauna's family came over for Easter week. It was just so good to see them all again. They really made me miss my family, but I am thrilled that they could see how happy Shauna and I are here. They saw us ride ( I had Wyvern to ride while Pam was away). They bought us a kettle (YAY!!! No more boiling water in a saucepan!) and they fed us and all!

But the best part was......

                                                         No more falling through my bed in the dead of night!!!

                                                       Fair play Bernard and Kevin Finneran!

The rest of April went pretty quietly and smoothly, until Pam came back and kicked my butt for letting Bernie (Wyvern) take me over ;) So I knew then my dressage education was going to take a major turn for the better!

Next of Foster Meadow!

Monday, August 20, 2012

The big move!

I am now royally annoyed at myself for not keeping on top of this. Consider this a mid-year resolution!!

Quick few posts and pictures up to the present day methinks!

Early April was our marker date on getting up to New Hampshire. So the logistics behind it were pretty simple. Ali and Shauna leave a day earlier than the horses, driving in convoy that consisted of Pam's truck and trailer ( packed to the scut with all the barn things) and Shauna in Ali's car. So that left me on my ownsies in the Mini :D

                                               Ali's amount of things broke the wheelbarrow
                                                                  Packing the trailer!

It was 5am when the girlies left, so I had the barn to do myself with the help of Pam throughout part of the day. I made sure that all the horses were happy, clean and that all their belongings were all ready to go. I had to make sure that all the horses' halters had shipping fuzzies on them and that each horse had a pair of bell boots.

It was WAY too quiet that day, no Ali and Shauna, no clients just me and a handful of horses. Too weird!

D-day approached, I was up at 4am stripping the stalls trying to make my workload a little easier once the shippers start to arrive. We had three separate shippers due to come that morning. Our own being the first, which was scheduled for around 6am to take 6 horses back to Pam's. Then Alpenkonig's was due before 8am, and Remy's around then also.

It was hell for leather getting our own guys on, as the shippers were not just taking the horses, but all the feed, hay, water and feed tubs, barn utensils etc that we needed for the past 2 days. It was easily 25 degrees celsius at 6am that morning, I was a sweaty mess before the horses even got on!! Humid and dark. Totally weird.

                           Shipper has arrived!!  'Twas like looking out for the Xmas Coca Cola truck!!

The last friend I made in Florida!!

It was a relief when our guys finally went underway, as then all that needed to be done was strip the stalls and get the last two horses gone.

By the time all that was done, I had sweated through my shorts and t-shirt covered in a layer of shavings dust and more dust!! A shower was in dire need! There was no way that I could face driving 12hrs or more feeling stinky, itchy and icky! Quick shower, packed the mini, of course 200miles down the road I realised I left my overnight bag and all my cosmetics behind. Typical me. Don't worry folks, I got it "mailed" to me the following day.

So by the time I was ready to hit the road it was just short of 10am. I dropped Pam off at WPB airport as she was travelling off to teach a clinic and I was on my way!! Next stop, North Carolina to a hotel.

                                                           I wanted to shoot myself

Stayed in a pretty ok hotel, all I needed was a bed really and I was off again by 6am the following morning.

I handled the drive by myself quite well. I thought about nothing really, just bopped along to the music and took in whatever sights I-95 could offer me. It was amazing how much varied landscape I passed through the first day. I drove the length of Florida, into Georgia, South Carolina and then North Carolina. I drove through the palm tree scattered landscape of Florida to big leafy green hilly states like North Carolina.

I only stopped when I really needed to. I would tie in eating, peeing and getting petrol into each stop if I could!! I really wasn't too comfortable stopping regularly since I was on my own. And I stupidly drank very little the whole drive to minimise stopping which I paid for dearly a few days after I got to New Hampshire.

Second day went smoothly, drove through North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, part of Vermont and then into New Hampshire. I knocked 2 hrs off Shauna and Ali's time for that same journey. Lads, I should have gotten a million speeding tickets! That Mini Cooper S series is a fecking rocket!!! Not only that, but it only took maybe 4 tanks of petrol for the while 1500mile trip. I am in love.

Got to Pam's about 7.30pm. It was freezing cold and a major kick up the arse, as I can now say I am a soft weather person!!

Hit the bed as soon as I was able, only to figure out at 1am that my bed was tied together with socks.