“One in five regional museums have closed”: so how can cities protect them?

“Imagine you are in London’s South Kensington district. You pass the glorious Romanesque architecture of the Natural History Museum on Cromwell Road, before turning onto Exhibition Road where you encounter not one but two more museums, the V&A and the Science Museum. Now imagine that, instead of being open to the public and bursting with tourists, they were closed and dilapidated, Dippy the dinosaur outside with a “for sale” sign around his neck.  Continue reading

Animals having the worst time in British art

When you think real life is tough, just head on over to the Tate Britain and check out the crap time these animals are having. FOREVER.

1. This horse just wanted a nice stroll in the English countryside to relax and ruminate on whether that mare in the next field was interested. Nobody told him that the local snakes had gotten hold of some kryptonite and turned freaking badass. 

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(‘The Moment’ by James Ward, 1831) Continue reading

Best books to buy for riders who aren’t still in Pony Club

There are dozens of reading options for pony-mad children. For horse-mad adults though, finding a well-written and thought-provoking read on the subject of horses can be a bit trickier. Never one to be defeated by a challenge, though, I have carefully hunted down and read various options. Here are my favourites:

‘Horse people: Scenes from the riding life’ by Michael Korda

Korda astutely nails the descriptions of the various horsey people he has encountered throughout his life (both work life and personal life) with hilariously spot-on observations   Continue reading

The trials and jubilations of learning to ride as an adult

I had practically no interest in horses or riding as a kid. The only girls who I knew that did it were mean, I’d heard the local riding school wasn’t nice to its horses and my parents have an inverse snobbery towards those who ride. So no, it held absolutely no appeal.

However, if you fast forward a few decades, all my (very non-horsey) friends probably think I am a horse. Certainly once a week I smell like one and can be found at the stables. I started riding about three and a half years ago and I’ve never been so keen on a hobby since my teenage days as a Kuk Sool Won student (Kuk Sool Won being a martial art rather than something to do with cooking, I am NEVER enthusiastic about cooking, eating on the other hand…).

That time has been spent at a few different riding schools with the occasional riding holiday thrown in and it’s been an up and down experience. There’s been some amazing highs, but there have also been some ridiculous lows, when you just leave the stables on the verge of tears and vow never to spend another penny on a horse or instructor again.

So in the interest of at least leaving this article on more of a high than I did today’s riding lesson, let me  end on the jubilations and start with the common trials of an adult rider… Continue reading