Tag: derby


Since we first moved to Derby, I must have driven by this water-meadow on my way Morrisons to do the family shop, every Saturday for the best part of twenty years.  And no matter what time of year, I’d always noticed the horses but had never been able to stop. This morning I was determined to find them, and so I cycled.  Sure enough, there they were, knee deep in the buttercups and lush grass.  20160529_084042 There was a kindly gentleman by the footpath, upending a bag of hay and breaking up some carrots. I asked him if they were his horses.  “No,” he replied.  “They’re gypsy horses”.  One of the male horses came over to investigate my bicycle, and I could see he’d been fighting, and had bite marks on his rump and tail.


He emptied the bag and we watched as a group of them came up to eat. There was a shaggy foal with them. He’d felt sorry for them in the winter when the water meadow was like a lake and they’d been marooned with nothing to eat, so he’d started feeding them.  “But this’ll be the last time till next winter, now that the grass is up,” he said.

“Think the gyspies work them?” I asked.  “No,” he replied.  “But they do rotate them.  Sometimes you see different ones in the field.”

The sunlight reflected on the water and lapwings flew high in the sky.  On the far side of the water meadow, the Sheffield train went by and the horses galloped across into the next field.  I said goodbye and walked along the green way, thinking about the Romany, where they had gone and when they were coming back for their horses.









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Snowy fields near Kedleston Hall, Derby

Winter has at last arrived – and it is mid January!  We had a night of hard frost followed by a flurry of snow on the weekend.  There has lately been an uncoupling of time and temperature, and things have gone askew.  Warm winters can be more disturbing than cold summers.  A bit like when Tiffany Aching dances with the Wintersmith and, mistaking her for the Summer Lady, he falls in love with her.

Haven’t read ‘Wintersmith’ by Terry Pratchett yet?  You have a treat in store.

This is the time of year to keep body and soul together.


One way to do this is to put a pinch of ground ginger in your tea.  It doesn’t matter what kind of tea you drink, or whether you have milk or not.  Just take a little pinch and stir it in.  You will barely taste it, but it has a magic effect.  If you have a cold, it will make it better.  If you don’t have a cold, it will prevent you getting one.  This clever tip came from the Indian check-out lady at my local Sainsburys, and I can vouch that it works.  Do try it.

Three wise colleagues recommend ginger ale if you are suffering from morning sickness.  And the next time you are on an ocean cruise, they swear there is nothing more effective than ginger ale to quell the nausea of sea-sickness when the going gets a tad squiffy in the Azores.