Non-horsey

Radio Luxemburg

radio luxemburgDo you remember piling into your friend's house and listening to Radio Luxemburg? 

We would carefully search for the aloof signal wafting across the airways all the way from Europe. The melodic tones would fade in and out with an eerie wailing resonance. The illegality of it added to the excitement. 

I'm sure many of you reading this did your early 'courting' while listening to Radio Luxemburg. A clandestine tryst while supposedly doing homework or, 'we're just going to listen to some music'. Were our parents really that naive? 

Many evenings were spent soaking up the latest musical releases along with the interjections of the alluring DJs. Voices like Kenny Everett, David 'Kid' Jensen, Alan Freeman, Noel Edmonds, and the now-infamous Jimmy Savile. Commercial radio was such a novelty to us. For some reason, I distinctly remember the ads for tampons. 😜 I would try to act so nonchalantly while cringing inside. 

Things have changed beyond all recognition. We now have access to unlimited tunes at the simple press of our finger. We carry a device in our pocket with more power and technology than the spaceship that went to the moon. But, that can not surpass the nostalgia of our misspent youth when music and friends meant more to us than anything else. 

My favorite way to steam music is Amazon Music (UK link). (US link to Amazon Music). What are some of the songs that remind you of your teen years?

How my Horses Helped to Save my Life

I know the title of this blog sounds rather dramatic but that doesn't make it less true. Let me give you some insight into how and why my horses helped save my life.

save my life
Sam riding his pony when he was three-years-old.

In June of 2018 my adult son, Sam Davis vanished without a trace from his home in Charlotte, NC. The police thought he had taken off to clear his head and would pop back up again. I knew differently. As mothers, we know our children no matter how old they are. My husband and I pinned posters all over the area and I created the Find Sam Davis Facebook page. I regularly posted updates even though they were few and far between. Every Friday I would do a Facebook live video to mark the passing weeks.

My life was a living nightmare. Sleeping was difficult, eating was optional, and showering was no longer necessary. Every second I was consumed with dark foreboding thoughts, devastation, disbelief, and the enormous feeling of hopelessness. I had no enthusiasm, at all. I stopped teaching horseback riding. My only focus was on finding my child.

Days, weeks, and months blurred together. But, finally, after eight months of not knowing where Sam was a teacher at a local elementary school found what was left of him in some bushes after retrieving a wayward ball. My whole world fell apart. I thought I was prepared for the news but I was so wrong. My agony, despair, trauma, torture quadrupled in a split second. Even though I still had a teenager at home who needed me all I wanted to do was go to sleep and not wake up.

Learning to stay alive

All throughout this horrific experience, I had horses, cats, chickens, and a dog, not-to-mention people to take care of. Staying in bed wasn't an option. My barn became my sanctuary, even more so than normal. My horses had no idea what was going on in my life. To them, everything was normal. Night followed day and mornings meant coming in to stand in the cool barn, caressed by the fans, and lavished with breakfast and copious amounts of hay. Their soft nickers, judgeless eyes, and impatient stomachs kept me grounded.

Solitude is lonely, grief is even lonelier. Amazon Music kept me company while I took care of barn chores. I also discovered that an empty barn is a good place to cry. I can not count how many times I paced up and down the aisle weeping while talking to myself, to Sam. Trying to put into perspective what my new life now looked like.

Life goes on

Grief is a very personal journey. It is a journey, not a destination. Two years on I still have days when I don't want to get up. Unless you have experienced deep depression you can not imagine how difficult the simple act of putting your feet out of bed each morning can be. Think of yourself as very fortunate. But, every day I get up, get dressed, and head to the barn. I look at the world differently now. The sun is brighter, the dew on crisp mornings is clearer, the air is sweeter, and, most days, my smile comes more easily.

My barn is still my sanctuary. There is something very cathartic about cleaning stalls, grooming a horse, or sweeping the aisle. My horses know my secrets, and I know they won't tell. I feel Sam in the breeze occasionally, and I even smelt his aftershave one day, true story.

I am enormously grateful to my patient clients, my loving family, and the kind support from complete strangers. And, of course to my trusted horses who did, literally, help to save my life.

Let us know how your horses have positively influenced your life.

If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts please reach out to a medical professional.

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Why does the United Kingdom have so many names?

The quick answer is, it doesn't. But, I can see why people would think it does.

This non-horse related blog is brought about by questions and comments from people over the years who have asked me what the difference is between England, Britain, UK, and so on. I will attempt to answer them here.

I will start by saying that I am from England. I am also from Britain, and the United Kingdom, and the British Isles. I could go on and add Europe into that mix. It's very easy to see why people are confused. 

I will start with the large picture and work backward.

Europe

Europe
Europe

Europe is a continent, not to be confused with the European Union, a political and economic union of 27 members located primarily in Europe. Europe, the continent, covers 3.9 million square miles and is made up of forty-four countries. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and Asia to the east.

The British Isles

British Isles
British Isles

The British Isles is the name of a group of islands situated off the northwestern corner of mainland Europe. It is made up of Great Britain (more about that later), Ireland, The Isle of Man, The Isles of Scilly, The Channel Islands (including Guernsey, Jersey, Sark, and Alderney), and over 6,000 other smaller islands.

The United Kingdon, known as the UK for short

United KingdomThe United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a sovereign state made up of four countries; England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. In international law, a sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area.

Great Britain, aka Britain

Great Britain
Great Britain

Great Britain is not a country; it is a landmass. It is known as 'Great' because it is the largest island in the British Isles and houses the countries of England, Scotland, and Wales within its shores.

England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland

England, Scotland, Wales, Norther Ireland
England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland.

England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are countries. Scotland and Wales have their own governments led by their First Ministers'. They also have representation in the English government in Westminster, London, by elected members of Parliament in the House of Commons. Northern Island is also a country, it has its own government called the Norther Island Assembly. It also has representation in the English government. 

Ireland

Ireland is an independent country. It is part of the British Isles but not part of Britain or the United Kingdom.

So there you have it, as clear as mud! 

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