Luckiest Girl in The World

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It's My Birthday - What We Did

I was quite nervous when I woke up, I had a few cards to open and then just a few big envelopes...all my cards were lovely and inside one of the envelopes was a voucher for a red balloon day, me and a friend were booked to go horse riding in Centennial Park at 10am that day...all my friends were working, I wasn't sure who would want to come with me...except for the one person who I wouldn't dream of going without...Chalky! Luckily he wasn't working.

We headed across the harbour and in true Chalky timing arrived on the dot at 10am. We fitted ourselves up with helmets (this will be important later on in the story) and shoes. One thing I don't like to do is to wear other people shoes and other people's hats but hey it is my birthday so I got passed it.

We met our guide for the morning and more importantly our horses - I was to be riding Decs and Chalky was on Billy.

Off we headed, out of the Equestrian Centre, across a road and into the park, even though it is the middle of our winter I think we're having weather that you'd love in Yorkshire at the moment for summer, it was about 15 degrees and lots of blue sky. The park has paths for horseriding, bike riding, walking & running and a road for cars to get around, we set off walking on the horses, enjoying the activity in the park.

Our guide, Natalie, seemed content for us to just walk around the park so Chalky asked what the plan was, would we be trotting?? She replied, if you feel confident enough then go for it, with minimum tips from her we both gave our horses a kick and off we went...

I was having a great time, it was great to be out doing something different, having the whole day ahead of us and it was my birthday. We continued to make small talk with Natalie, asking questions like where else would she recommend riding in Sydney? What's the fastest that you can ride in the park? What was Billy's history? (he used to be a race horse!)

After stopping for a quick drink I think Decs remembered back to my question of how fast can you go, not content to trot, he quickened the pace and before I knew it we were off down the straight leaving everyone behind, it all happened so fast I can't really remember but I was being swung from one side of the horse to the other trying to get him to stop, pulling frantically on the reins calling out STOP!

He just wasn't obeying and now I was hanging off the side of the horse, luckily it was on the side opposite to where there is a fence and next thing I knew my head was bouncing on the ground, luckily for me i'd managed to free myself from the stirrups and reins and was clear of the horse, once I was bouncing along the ground the bugger stopped!

Meanwhile, Chalky was just having to watch all this unfold, thinking great - I've bought Bek a Birthday experience that could kill her! He also tells me that he wanted to come and help but wasn't sure how to get off his horse, or if he approached on his horse would this further excite my horse! I was a little shaken up but managed not to cry, I could feel that I was now in for a right headache and my bum was a little sore and really all I wanted to do was give the naughty horse a smack! Our fearless guide Natalie came down and suggested that she take the naughty Decs from now on and that I ride her horse Jenny! (those who know me well will know I don't have a great history with Jenny's!). It was about this time Chalky suggested that I should have said "WHOA!" to Decs and maybe he would have stopped, I thought it was just in cartoons that WHOA would stop a horse.

Naughty Decs!

We were near the end of our hour, Chalky continued to just pat his horse - saying "Good boy Billy, don't you go and do anything stupid like Decs - look after me Billy and I'll look after you!" We can laugh about it now, the bruises haven't yet come out and I'm only a little stiff in my neck so I'm sure in a few days I'll be back to normal.

Onward through the day, Centennial Park is right next door to Fox Studios so we wandered over there with the plan to have lunch in the restaurant where I taught Chalky one of my food rules, Double Dipping. There is a temporary ice-rink set up at Fox Studios as the school holidays have just finished - we toyed with the idea of ice-skating but I really couldn't bring myself to wear more shoes that weren't my own and I didn't think that my bum needed any more of a pounding that day.

Chalky says this is the horse I should have been riding!

The restaurant didn't live up to our memory so we decided to hop foot over to Bondi (as you do!) and have some lunch there at a place we'd been to before that did a great burger! We jumped at some early parking and enjoyed a long walk down to Campbell Parade, we passed a number of eateries but couldn't find the one we'd been to before (it must have closed down!) so we walked back up the Parade to a cafe called Trio and enjoyed some lunch there, looking out at the sea!
We walked off our lunch by doing a lap along the prom, we were going to call in for an ice-cream and to say hello to one of Sydney's best looking ice-cream scooper men (according to Joan) but we just didn't feel like one.

We headed back to the car as the next engagement for the day was a movie at an old cinema on the North Shore. It's a film that has increased takings each week over 9 weeks, it's a film shot in 1994 and it was a Swedish Film about a conductor who returns to remote Sweden and ends up giving some advice to the local church's called As it is in Heaven and I would recommend it. We both enjoyed it and we bought the average age of the cinema session back down to about 50!

We headed home then, expecting some love on the answering machine and some more love in the letterbox - we weren't disappointed on either count. Joan & Garth's cards arrived on the day and I was presented with yet another envelope, their joint present, a voucher to attend a cooking course at Govinda's (a hare krishna vegetarian restaurant we took Joan to and one of my favourite places in Sydney) so I'll look forward to doing that when they next offer the course and maybe I'll even cook a lentil shepherds pie in Joan's kitchen when I'm next over there to visit! Thank you.

Les was greatly amused with our horseriding antics so she understood when I said I wouldn't be redeeming their red letter day for sailing straight away, based on today's track record maybe I'd be thrown off the boat and end up drowned! So thank you Les, Andy & Isla I look forward to sailing sometime in October when the weather is a little warmer!

We settled in at home, watching Titanic on DVD - another present from Chalky for my birthday, ordered some chinese food to finish off our treats for the day! Oh and I hadn't forgotten, the other present that Chalky got me was a ticket to see Billy Elliot!!!!! I'll be going Sunday 23rd December it's the last show in Sydney, I'm three rows from the front and my friend Sarah is going to join me. Sarah & I met through the lovely Aly and little did she know how much we'd have in common... including scrapbooking, keeping fit and musicals - especially Les Mis! So i'll be really excited to watch a show set in the North of England with a girl from Newcastle!

So.. what an action packed Birthday - I couldn't have asked for a better day so big thanks to Chalky for spoiling me and putting so much thought into my day! I love you!


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