… on the blogging front.  A relief for all readers I am sure but a wee holiday – five days skiing high in the Tyrol, masses of snow and wonderful conditions for a big family outing; a leisurely journey home yesterday, a longish bus ride through Austria and Switzerland admiring spring emerging on a fine morning, tidier countries than ours I felt.  27 passengers on the 15.45 from Zurich to Edinburgh, 21 of them the Alexander party – you had to feel slightly sorry for the others! Delighted to find a change in the weather here, the bitter east wind replaced by a strong mild showery westerly, much more suitable.  In close touch with the yard whilst away, the team here have done an excellent job in my absence, all appears in order and the horses should be fit and fresh.  We withdrew both our runners at Kelso last Monday on account of the drying ground and don’t have any entries until Ayr on Friday, busy after that, most particularly at Perth I hope – it comes as  a great boost to know that as we near the end of the traditional  jumps season we have Perth to keep us so well entertained through the summer.

It's funny who you bump into lunching at 9000 feet

It’s funny who you bump into lunching at 9000 feet

A few dramas of course both in Austria and at home, none more so than Lucy having two heavy falls at Wetherby on Friday, after the second one she was transferred to Harrogate Hospital but fortunately was released later that night; it was uncomfortable trying to monitor the situation from afar and many thanks to those that did so much to help her practically and keep the worried parents in the picture – she missed her four booked rides at Market Rasen today but seems fine now and is keen to get back riding as quickly as possible.  Both of those falls were caused by interference from other horses, it is such a  fickle sport as was demonstrated by Ryan Mania’s fall at Hexham last Sunday.  The achievements of the Aurora’s Encore, Sue and Harvey Smith, the owners and Ryan in winning the world’s most famous race cannot be underestimated and I would have blogged about this before now had it not been for his awful fall the next day; with a runner in the following race it seemed very bizarre to be listening to the drama unfolding from afar as they waited for the air ambulance, thank goodness he was OK and with merely (in jump jockey terms) a fractured vertebrae he will hopefully be back in action later this week at Ayr.  Huge credit should also go to Tartan Snow, Stuart Coltherd, Rory Westwood and Jamie Hamilton for bringing the “Foxhunters” back North – a great Aintree for this part of the world and surely better for the sport than the normal transfer of the biggest prizes to those with the biggest wallets- well done Kelso for having them parade on Monday.

Speaking of minor fractures it appears that “Uncle Jamie” has been nursing one for a few weeks, news broke via a few panicky phone calls from his Doctor trying to tell him to stop skiing, fat chance of that nor riding I suspect, more surprising was that “Uncle Michael” didn’t sustain serious injuries when wiping out whilst trying to break “Uncle David”s speed skiing record for the holiday – 75.2 mph, I thought I was going really really fast but could only clock 48 mph, disappointing but consoled by Johnny pointing out that I was faster than Frankel…. Sorry rather a long blog but don’t let me forget to mention one of the team – speedy Dan Ockenden – who today completed the Edinburgh half marathon in a record time (for him) – he ran for a worthy cause – donations welcome –  https://my.give.net/Kenyabuild2013 and now the annual battle to stay awake for the end of the Masters