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11 March 2014


On Saturday evening the news filtered through that legendary jockey Roy "The Professor" Higgins had died after a short illness.  To say short is probably inaccurate, because it would appear he'd battled health issues most of his life.  No doubt almost 100% atrtributable to the unfortunate tendency in the racing industry to have jockeys ride racehorses at what is essentially an unnaturally light weight.  Diabetes (type 2 I believe) had dogged Roy Higgins throughout his later years although of course I've no idea for how long.  One would suspect it would have been undiagnosed for some time.  I know how hard a condition diabetes is to manage.  It is relentless, unpredictable and frequently aggressive and frightening.  I wish the racing world could adopt the lead followed by other equestrian disciplines and establish a more rational and achievable weight scale.  I feel it would achieve much good.  Roy Higgins was of course the rider of many great champions.  Light Fingers and Gunsynd to name just a few.  I can't say I knew Roy terribly well, but he always smiled at me and said hello every time he saw me.  There will be a public funeral at Flemington on Thursday, although I'm yet to hear what protocols will be in place for media and whether I will need to/should attend.

Then to compound this news this evening I learned that the elderly father of a friend had died this morning.  I guess it is more accurate to say that Gordon is an acquaintance.  He was a friend of some mutual Facebook friends, and one day out of the blue he sent me a friend request.  I accepted it, although I suppose a little bit hesitantly because I'd never met him before.  However I think he's a very nice and thoroughly decent person.  He's a former Sub Editor I'm told.  He's a stickler for writing well, and from what I can tell he seems to have found love and happiness the 2nd time around.  His wife is a great writer and I really like her Blog when I remember to read it (which granted isn't all that often).  I like that he's found happiness the 2nd time around.  It proves it's possible...  That's a good thing right?  Somehow the death of Gordon's father exposed some nerves in me which I find are still sensitive and raw.  Perhaps this is because both of my parents have had health scares recently??  Or perhaps it's something else??

What else have I been doing?  Well, yesterday, both during the morning and at night (until WAY too late again) I tried to catch up on images.  We were spared the agony of another 2 days of our house becoming an instant oven by the wonderful wonderful cloud cover that hovered here for 2 days.  It was warm but without the sun beating in and down on the house we survived.  

I thoroughly annoyed myself by trying (mostly fruitlessly) to locate some images of Roy Higgins.  I've decided I hate myself when I don't finish naming image files because it makes the process of finding images you might have taken next to impossible down the track.  And I'm a shocker for doing this over and over again...  

Much to my disgust I also spent what seemed like ages and ages treating my daughter's hair for nits.  My children are almost 9 and 12.  It's only the 2nd time I've had to deal with nits.  They are repulsive.  There's no other word for it.  So after dousing her hair liberally in nit killing lotion (I have to be ruthless!!!) and then lots of combing she's clean.  

Today, because it was a student free curriculum day, I took the kids to Scienceworks.  In the afternoon both of the kids had their tennis lessons.  It began raining heavily at the start of Heath's lesson and he didn't cope well.  He was sulky, he wouldn't try, he was grouchy.  He was a warty toad.....  He  remind me of Archie when he gets contrary and uncooperative and wants to take his hair off.  Or Freelance doing the same thing.  It made me grit my teeth and suppress the strong urge to interfere.  I didn't, and let the coach deal with it.  It has to be said that my son made Tony work for his money today.  There are times when his temperament and his issues makes me feel close to despair and wonder how we will get through this.  By the end of the lesson he was smiling and had begun to try and listen,  instead of being sulky and warty, so I didn't feel it was a complete disaster.  I took a deep breath, and tried to focus on the positives, and we returned home to cook dinner.

Going forward I've 3, or possibly 5 different photoshoots to organise and I must make those phone calls tomorrow.  The first two shoots involve broodmares who are related and coincidentally both are having a rest from breeding this season.  One of these shoots will involve a foal as well.  The other is a stallion for Emirates Park.  He's a half brother to the lovely Sepoy.  I pause when I stop to remember Sepoy, both as a racehorse and as a stallion.  He was unquestionably brilliant and very very special...

Tomorrow I am desperate to work Archie.  I hope he's ok and not still lame.  I didn't see Lyn or the bright bay horse this weekend.  Lyn was busy with a friend's daughter's wedding and I actually spent the entire long weekend just with my kids.  I am desperate to see the horse though.

The rain begins to fall again more heavily as it grows later.  I wind my windows open so that I can hear and smell it better.  I love lying in bed listening to the rain.  I love waking up to the sound of rain.  Although I like it far more on days when I do NOT have a photoshoot or race meeting on!!!

Lonhro.  One of my all time favourite horses.  He was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame on Sunday evening.  He's become a terrific stallion as well and I photograph him on occasions for Darley up at Aberdeen, NSW.

10 years ago Lonhro won the Australian Cup.

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