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  • A Horse Ate My Bag

    I must admit I’m a little scared of horses. Because I don’t understand them and they are so big. And generally I’m a little afraid of children because I don’t understand them and they’re so little. To me dogs have always seemed more straightforward. But back to this bag eating horse.
     
    A couple of weeks ago on one of my intrepid weekend walks, I found myself needing to cross a field where there were three horses. It was a public footpath and I put my dogs on their leads, but when I looked up I noticed they’d already started ambling towards us. They looked friendly enough but very big, and it soon became obvious they would reach us before we got to the stile. Instead of running (which my brain was screaming at me to do) I slowed right down and worked on calming the dogs and myself. I had no apples or carrots. Eeek.
     
    As they got closer I saw that two of the horses looked quite old with bowed backs and cloudy eyes. The other one was a fair bit friskier. I’d heard that horses (and cows) can be more interested in dogs than anything else, so I picked up little Stan so he wouldn’t get trampled, and let go of Betty. She promptly ran to the side of the field and pushed herself under the gate. One safe. I looked back at the horses. They had quickened their pace and were making a beeline straight for us. Double Eeek.
     
    And you know how life is all about expectations. And how managing your expectations is a good way to help with disappointments and disconcerting surprises. Well I had certainly not expected to be trampled to death by three blind horses that day. I suddenly had this strong vision of the orange wall flowers and the frothy blue forgetmenots I’d just planted in my garden. I’d never live to see them bloom again. But this can’t be how it all ends, I reassured my racing heart. And as they surrounded me, nuzzling at my jacket and pockets, I inhaled deeply and smelt their grassy breath. I know I’m pushing 60 but I’m too young too die, I whimpered. Stanley let out a warning growl.
     
    Brave as I am, I continued walking slowly towards the stile where I could see Betty was hiding in the shadows beneath some trees. Still safe. They started nibbling at my shoulders, tugging at my sleeves. I realised they were actually going to eat us alive. And then I remembered a happy song. I’ll go down singing, I thought.
     
    Inching closer to the stile one of them pulls off my hat. It’s not one of my favourites, I decide, I can sacrifice the hat. And if they start on my hair that’s fine because it’s all short anyway. I start singing a bit louder and push Stanley’s curly head inside my anorak. And I feel new empathy for all of the people I meet who are so afraid of Betty, my German Shepherd, that they would rather jump into the road than share the pavement as we walk by slowly and calmly. At least I’ll die a kinder person…
     
    But you know how this story ends already, dear reader. Although you were probably scared stiff I’d be mortally wounded at the very least? I remember looking around at those three long faces and I really appreciated their gentle softness from the other side of the fence. I couldn’t resist a little tickle on one of the soft grey muzzles held outstretched. Getting bolder I tried wafting away the flies from their eyes at which point the frisky one pulled at my shoulder bag and chomped right through the strap with his yellow crunchy teeth. I’m left with slightly greenish slimy strings.
     
    Well as I live to die another day, I’d like to share with you the dates and times for our May events.
     
    15th May 12-4pm Pet Portraits & Afternoon Tea on Zoom
    18th May 6pm Sales go Live for my new collection of original pictures, drawings and bronzes at www.samtoftoriginals.co.uk
     
    15th May : A Virtual Afternoon Tea with Pet Portraits and Prizes!
    If that sounds good to you we’d love to have you join us… you can drop in, have the whole thing running away in the background, or tune in to specific events… Register here to get the link. 

    Here’s what to expect (times in BST):
     
    12-12.15 Get a pot of tea on, plate up the sandwiches and enjoy a warm welcome from our sofa in Brighton. There’ll be a bit of a meet and greet from Sam, Graham, Betty and Stan. And most probably Almondine the budgie, as he never likes being left out
     
    12.15-2.15 Eight 15 minute Portraits drawn live, for the people who have booked already.  ?Mr Mustard and your pet, imagine that!
     
    2.15-2.30 Sam has a break to rest her fingers … she’s getting quite a lot of cramps nowadays. Take this time to do your drawings on the theme of Afternoon Tea. Later you’ll be asked to hold them up and there’ll be PRIZES for our favourites!
     
    2.30-3pm Two 15 minute pre-booked portrait slots (all sold out now)
     
    3-4pm During this hour we will have plenty time for a bit of fun, Mustard-style. The two FREE ‘nominate your friend’ Portraits awarded to Little Mustard Club members will be completed offline (and all of the portraits will be sent to you the following week). In no particular order, here’s what we have in store:
    • Get your Afternoon Tea drawings ready… we’ll be giving out PRIZES for our favourites!
    • Do you have a Question for Sam? Write it in the comments box on Facebook during this hour and Andy will get them together for our Q & A sesh
    • Over to Amber, Executive Director of Little Mustard Club!
    • A special Members’ giveaway and her chance to show off June’s BIG COMPETITION prize. June is Sam’s birthday month so she has been extra generous. There will be THREE prizes. And if Doris Fruit Salad means anything to you, it’s time to get excited. Little Mustard Club will always be small so there’s a very good chance to win prizes and competitions. The Club runs for the whole of 2022, offers a Welcome Box (a perfect surprise gift), monthly giveaways and priority booking for the next event. You can join or buy a gift membership at www.littlemustardclub.com
    • Over to Nan at our online shop in Cornwall with news of our self published prints and a special Nan Mustard giveaway
    • Any other ideas of what you might like to see??
    18th May from 6pm BST we are opening up sales for Sam’s new Exhibition: We’ll Know Where We’re Going When We Get There We’ll have a new collection of paintings, drawings and bronzes. You can collect from the studio by appointment or we can send to any UK address for £30 (It is so very difficult to send abroad since Brexit, import duties are horrendous and postage to the US in particular has leapt up in price. Possibly you could have something sent to a UK address and organise your own international carriage?)
     
    Anyway I’ll love you and leave you. I’m off on a trip just now to see Nan in Cornwall. A train trip and some Cornish air. Marvellous.
     
    Looking forward to seeing you soon!
     
    Big Love,
     
    Sam
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