One does need a change every so often.
I had a pleasant break the last two days, away from home, catching up with brother- and sister-in-law in Surrey for two nights. The middle day was spent at a British Dressage Convention, watching a succession of horses perform a series of tests, rising in difficulty to Grand Prix level.
It is such a treat listening to top international FEI judge Stephen Clarke talk us through his comments and marks as the horses perform. And it is even more special when a seasoned top class trainer like Ferdi Eilberg, former British Dressage team coach, enters the arena. In the space of ten minutes per horse, he picks on two or three identified areas for improvement, and proceeds with exploration and encouragement, to make a visible difference to horse and rider. The delighted rider has something positive to work on in the future, and this humble judge among a packed audience of distinguished judges and trainers leaves with a treasure of thoughts to ponder.
We all need exposure to higher things to raise our sights and refresh our minds.
And now another challenge faces me on Monday, when I talk to a room full of Women’s Institute members who will decide whether or not they wish to add me to their list of recommended speakers for the year. Why am I doing this? Well, there’s no point in undergoing a Toastmasters public speaking course, is there, unless one does something with it. And the mere exercise of getting my name out there in a different context seems to have generated a little flurry of renewed interest in my book, Breath of Africa.
For the first time ever I’ve sold more paperbacks than e-books at the start of a month!