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30 October 2013

For Bridie

I am sitting with my mare Freelance this morning. I have a precious 10 mins with her before I have to head off to work. I'm choosing to spend it sitting next to her, rather than doing paddock chores. I need her company a little this morning. My horse is safe. And safe is good. Those who know me well understand how much I need my horse.

She's dropping feed all over me, which remind me her teeth need doing. Another thing to add to the huge and ever growing "To Be Done" list. I hate that list sometimes. She's getting less feed at the moment because she's not exactly skinny. She thinks this is terrible! And that its not fair!! "Sorry Freelance", I murmur softly. Life isn't fair at times. I know that. I like sitting with her. I like the way she puts her head in my arms at times. I like that she follows me about. I like the way she nickers to me when she sees Dan trundling down the road. I like it even more when she whinnies to me, especially when she does it, with her head held high, as I leave.

Her leg is wearing a bandage again. The swelling above and thorough the fetlock is still worryingly present. It is worrying because I'm away so much. She's a warty toad when she doesn't heal well.

My nephew Talon, who's a lovely boy, missed me when I was away. I missed them too. He asked my brother "why don't all the good horses come to live in Canberra?" Fair point Talon. Fair point. They don't though....

On a final note, I am always surprised but immensely touched when someone I have never met approaches me, asks me "are you Bronwen?" Or simply calls out "Bronwen!" when they see me because they have seen my photo and know me by sight.

This image is of a framed pencil drawing now sitting on my bookshelf with my other horse trinkets. Next to Zenyatta, Totilas, Barbaro, Phar Lap and others. It's good company. A young girl called Bridie drew it especially for me. She came to the statue launch last week (yes I know, where are the images, I hear you ask?? They are coming, they are coming) and she approached me shyly.  She reads my Blog. Regularly she said, so she was able to pick me out and knew who I was.  She said she loves the images I take. 

So this post is especially for you, Bridie. Along with my gratitude, and my apologies that I only had my iPhone to take this terrible image of the lovely drawing you gave to me.  It's hopelessly inadequate, I know, and I will redo it when I can. 

Hopes and Dreams, Bridie.....  Hopes and Dreams.

26 October 2013

"I will kiss you in four places....."

Today was the Cox Plate.  I've had a busy few days.  As my readers can probably guess, by the fact that I've not written anything for several days.  I went in to today hoping and dreaming (as I am prone to do, a girl can dream, can't she????) that my "New Boy", It's a Dundeel, could pull off the impossible and win the Cox Plate despite the troublesome time he's had with his foot abscess.  He didn't win. He was posted wide, had a torrid run, and finished 8th.  I felt bitterly disappointed.  I was proud of my other Arrrowfield "Boy", in Snitzel though, who sired his first Cox Plate winner when the maiden 3yo Shamus Award prevailed narrowly.  But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed with the result today, because I truly did want Chappie, as they affectionately call Dundeel, to win.  And the result also highlighted the loss of recently retired mare Atlantic Jewel, and made us wonder what might have been.

The atmosphere in the Press Room was as warm and friendly as ever.  And the day went swiftly, as these days are tiring and hard work.  The real highlight for me though, following the disappointment at the scratching of "AJ" and the failure of Dundeel to overcome all his setbacks, was meeting my 2nd cousin once removed Mark Seymour, of Hunters and Collectors fame.  My truly ace sister Caroline was able to later tell me what the family relationship was.  All Mark and I could come up with at the time was "are you a McInerney????" to which I excitedly said 'yes!!!!'.
"I will come for you at nighttime
I will raise you from your sleep
I will kiss you in four places
As I go running along your street
I will squeeze the life out of you
You will make me laugh and make me cry
And we will never forget it
You will make me call your name
And I'll shout it to the blue summer sky
You will throw your arms around me..."
When Mark sang his famous song, "Throw your arms around me" I had tears in my eyes as I struggled to photograph it.  There was a punter watching me photograph him, and I found myself hoping he couldn't see the tear sliding down my cheek.  Such is the poignancy of this very great song. My great buddy Mark Gatt ran over and took the photos of Mark and me for me!  He is so great to me...

As I write this, I put the song on my iPhone....  the crowd's reaction to Mark singing this song was one to behold me.  And as I walked up the straight, to where I would photograph the race from, the crowd as one were still singing his song..  Great theatre... Darryl Braithwaite, eat your heart out.....
"I dreamed of you at nighttime
And I watched you in your sleep
I met you in high places
I touched your head and touched your feet
So if you disappear out of view
You know I will never say goodbye
And though I try to forget it
You will make me call your name
And I'll shout it to the blue summer sky..."

22 October 2013

About The Valley... from Carlton

I'm staying in Carlton this evening.  At my aunt and uncle's apartment.  I like being here, and like being with them, and in many ways I feel right back at home, having 'apartment-sat' their little flat for a month in January of 2012.  It was in this month that I took all those very special images of The Famous Pony, Black Caviar, at the beach.  As I said, I like it here, and I'm looking forward to being able to see more of the people who are important to us.  It was pouring with rain when I arrived, and I ran inside with one lot of gear, then Martin and I ran back outside to get the rest.   Photographers rarely travel lightly.  Well, not this little black duck anyway....

My alarm went off at 5am this morning.  Perhaps you could argue that I could/should have set it for earlier, but it was dark, and I didn't get to my sister's house until 11pm last night, and as it was, I got there in plenty of time for the things I needed to do.  I was essentially there for one horse, and he's a pretty special little horse at that.  Yes, you guessed correctly, for it is It's a Dundeel of whom I speak.  The nice thing about these sorts of mornings is the people that you see.  Everyone knows each other, and it's a nice friendly atmosphere.  My buddy Mark Gatt came along because he knew I was going, and we had fun.  He couldn't stay for the barrier draw, he had to get to work, but we hung about together as we often do.  And some of the paper guys were there, and they are always fun to be around.  And we had a big table at the breakfast.  Pat poured me a cup of tea, at the point where I was about to fall over because it was 10am and I'd had absolutely nothing to eat.  Wayne had coffee, because he was bad, and guiltily admitted to eating 3 disgusting sausages sandwiches downstairs.  Julian said like me that he inhaled his bacon and eggs.

After the draw, I went and saw my friend Julie at Nikon.  I love seeing her.  She's very special to me, and hugged me as usual.  We sat and had a coffee, and talked about work and life.  When we move, we'll spend a bit more time together, and she likes my kids and is looking forward to seeing more of them.  Again, I am touched by the support that my friends give me, and how pleased my friends and family are that we are moving. 

The gloss came off the day somewhat though when, whilst having coffee with Julie (who has bailed me out by loaning me a lens and getting my sick lens admitted to the hospital), my friend Gary texted me with the advice of AJ's (Atlantic Jewel) scratching from the Cox Plate and likely retirement from a tendon injury to her good leg.  This is shattering news.  I had the photo I was going to take in my mind.  Alas and woe, it was very bad news indeed....

21 October 2013

"I've Still Got Time.......!!!!!"

I'm sitting at the airport waiting to catch my plane back to Melbourne.  I only got back to Canberra late yesterday morning.  As Gerard Whateley once wrote to me, "these are punishing times".   I've arrived at the airport a good 20 minutes before boarding, and am actually sitting with a glass of red wine.  I had toyed with the idea of catching a cab, but in the end, drove the faithful Dan, it just seemed simpler.  And simple is pretty good right now.

My trip to the airport tonight, despite the fact that I've had a busy day today, is in stark contrast to my drive yesterday morning!  I felt like Mr Incredible (from the Pixar movie "The Incredibles"), back in his Super Hero days, when rushing from one rescue to another, looking at his watch, before exclaiming with delight "I've still got time"...

Yesterday morning I dragged myself out of bed in the dark again, because I was supposed to be going to the beach at 6.45am with It's a Dundeel.  In theory this allowed me plenty of time to spend at the beach, before driving to the airport, aiming for 8.20am to make my 9.20am flight in plenty of time.

Only problem?  The horse I was going to the beach with was going with other horses.  And they were running late.  I bit my lip, and twisted my hands while watching the time tick away.  7am...  7.15am...  7.30am..  I start checking Apple Maps, to work out how long it took to get from the beach to the airport.  Bugger me...  35mins...  Really????  By the time we set off, with me ducking in to refuel the hire car on the way, I arrived at the beach before the float at 8am...  And I knew at this point I absolutely didn't have time!!!!  But having gotten up early, and waited around for an hour, I was going to kill someone if I didn't take a single frame of a horse splashing in the water.  

So I waited patiently (hah!  I hear you laugh, you don't do ANYTHING patiently, let alone when you know that this could mean you'll miss your plane!) for the horses to appear from the carpark, which they finally did, photographed them doing 2 laps of the beach, and then hightailed it out of there.

The way there thankfully I didn't get too many red lights, and probably I made pretty good time, and went from "I'm going to miss my plane" to "I'm going to miss the bag drop off" in my mind, before skidding into the carpark almost 35 minutes before the bag drop closed.  I got held up by some man driving at an excruciatingly slow speed, before flinging the car into the park and literally running into the terminal.  

It is at this point that I again pledge my eternal love and loyalty to Qantas, who checked my bag in despite it being closed.  See, this is why I fly with them, because when I bugger it up utterly, they still look after me....