Monday, 19 May 2008


Ye Gods, can it only be Monday? Knackered already and it hasn’t started yet.
We spent all last week frantically building, painting and tiling. I must have done two days on my hands and knees laying tiles and then grouting them – without getting any spots of cement or dirt on them. Tiles now OK, knees need replacement.
The plants came on Thursday – including an olive tree we’re hiring just for the week.
I must say it looks pretty good – the fountain from Marrakech despite weighing half a ton made it safely, and is even working – a miracle!

Last night we arrived at Knightsbridge barracks with Emma, our little donkey from our Trustee, Carl Boyd’s farm in Chertsey.
The Blues and Royals had arranged a nice comfy stall for her, but we had reckoned without the hormones in the troop horses. They all fell immediately head over heels in love with her. Silver Stick (the Grand Fromage of the Household Cavalry), and the Commanding Officer both had their huge chargers (17 hands or I’m a Dutchman), stabled just across the corridor. They became completely besotted with Emma, who just played hard to get. These great big softies spent the whole night stomping up and down, yelling and calling out to all and sundry. Nobody got any sleep, except Emma. Or did she? We will never know!

Emma the donkey and royal horseNext morning, she inspected the Queen’s Guard mounting in the Barracks Forecourt, before riding out to Whitehall. Great pictures – especially one with a trooper on a huge black mount who is looking down with horror and amazement at this strange looking thing standing beside him. Of course there were lots of cracks from the boys about Gordon Brown’s defence cuts, and the new cavalry mounts etc etc.

Now it’s Monday afternoon, freezing cold – the judges have been and gone – Clare Balding (very nice, very complementary about SPANA) and the BBC also.

Sadly, it was decided that Emma had not got security clearance, so would have to go, before HRH and the Royal Party arrive.

Jeremy Hulme

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