Even after a solid ten hour sleep I still felt hungover this morning. God only knows how wretched the people that do drink on planes feel the next day. Still, I told myself to toughen up and get on with the business of living in England. The first objective was to get myself a mobile phone. Too many days disconnected from the world could cause a person to shrivel up and die on the vine of loneliness so it was imperative to get a tumor-box back on my ear asap. I must have stood in front of the pre-paid mobile display at Tesco for half an hour making an informed and sensible decision on which company and phone offered the best value for money. Genuine comparison shopping is the sort of thing you find yourself doing when you've only got one horse to ride in the day.
A certain calm came over me when I was reconnected with the world and I was ready to move on with life. The next adventure had me tracking down a saddlery in which to buy a riding helmet, as my helmet had been a necessary victim of the excess-baggage repack at the airport before I left Sydney. Even though people go on about how small England is, a 30 mile trip here really is a big mission on windy country lanes. It was 30 miles well spent however as my new jockey skull cap and black silk means I'm looking more and more like The Fox every day.
With my phone now working and a helmet to protect me from falling asteroids I was ready and able to find my horse. Even after going to the US earlier in the year the novelty and surprise involved in finding your horse in a field in England doesn't wear off. It might have been almost 3 months since we last laid eyes on each other but Tiger is hardly the sentimental type, and I can't help but think the attention I was trying to lavish on him while he grazed was just a major inconvenience.
Burto and his groom Amanda have done a great job getting him into shape, and I know that he looks far more beautiful for me than he would have done three weeks ago when he arrived to them. It was fantastic to be back on board, and I'm happy to report that my first ride in England was a good one, even if I didn't really achieve anything of great value. One thing's for sure, that won't be the ride that wins Burghley for me.
Sam Griffith's has a great place at Symphony Farm and I'm sure it's going to be a lot of fun there over the next few weeks. I haven't actually laid eyes on Sam or Chris yet because they were eventing at Aston-le-walls today, Burto was riding five horses and I think a good day was spoiled by the truck getting a flat tyre on the way home. Bugger.
See you back here tomorrow.