Saturday, 26 July 2014

A tribute

As in-laws go I fell on my feet. Most people moan about their mother-in-law, so I felt rather blessed with mine. Pam and I not only shared a love of her son Ian, but all things equestrian. And it was our passion for horses which brought us some of our best times - not to mention a few giggles. In memory of you, Pam, I share two of my favourite moments.

Speedy Gonzales
Pam and her beloved Guinea
Guinea was Pam's horse when I first met Ian. A beautiful chestnut gelding, he taught Ian to ride and gave Pam a lot of fun times. So, I was very privileged to be allowed to ride him from time to time. One weekend, Pam generously invited me to hack Guinea around the lanes. As I wasn't familiar with the area, she and Ian met me at various points en route to steer me in the right direction. At one particular place, we were able to ride along the wide grassy verge beside the A33 by-pass. "You can have a lovely canter here" advised Pam. Off we went in a wonderful steady canter - which got faster and faster - clearly Guinea had other ideas. It was at this moment that I wondered if my mother-in-law was a secret speed demon! The wind whistled past my ears as we swept along, chasing the cars beside us. I had no brakes, so all I could do was steer and pray. Up the steep bank by the bridge we scrambled with Guinea barely slowing down. As we reached the lane above, I inwardly groaned - a woman was enjoying a relaxing Sunday walk with her dog. Once more I tried to slow Guinea down but  Guinea was having far too much fun."Get out of the way!" I screamed to the startled lady. "I'm so sorry, I can't stop!" On we went until, by some miracle, Guinea stumbled on the uneven ground just as we neared a junction. It ceased the opportunity and jumped off, somehow keeping hold of the reins. As my heaving breath subsided I heard a voice, "she should be here by now". It was Pam who was stood beside Ian looking in the opposite direction to where I was. "Over here" I squeaked, as my knees knocked together (yes they really can do that!). After making sure we were both alright, the 'inner BHS instructor' emerged as I was told to "get back on and walk him home", which I did (I'd read the BHS manual too). That tale has been regaled many times and I swear I've never been that fast before or since!

The Bells
Me, my mum and Pam at Charlton Park where I was grooming for Ian
hence the reference to Dobby the house elf from Harry Potter
It was Christmas time and Pam was taking her horse, Mulberry (who she bought following Guinea's sad demise) to the local riding club show. It was within hacking distance, and fancy dress. Ian and I stood by as Pam mounted - regaled in a festive red jumper bedecked with bells strung together by ribbon and wound loosely around her neck. No sooner had her bottom landed in the saddle than a startled Mulberry took off - up the orchard he went, bucking and bronc'ing at full pelt. Well, all we could hear was Pam shouting, "It's the bells! It's the bells!". Neither Ian nor I were of any use because we were both doubled up, with tears of laughter streaming down our faces. I don't know how she stayed on but, with a face now the colour of her jumper, Pam got Mulberry back under control, and that plucky lady resolutely took him off to the riding club show!

Pam, you were one very special lady to many people and you will be truly missed. Thank you for all the wonderful memories, and for the delicious picnics you made for Ian and I when we were eventing (your raspberry cream slices are legendary). I hope that you and Ian are now reunited and galloping side by side on your beloved chestnut horses.