My poor sister's just come back from the slopes with torn ligaments in her knee and shoulder after an almighty tumble and is now hopping around gingerly on crutches. I've not skied for the last few years and the last time I did, Jules put me to shame in Italy. She's completely fearless and will charge down any run while I'm happy to potter along slowly on the blues and greens.
Witness my pathetic approach to skiing from this photo from a few years' back on one of Chris McGrath's excellent Champoluc gatherings. Aoibhlinn and I, on the left, both have our skis off, not from fear of tumbling over in the picture but because we'd spent the afternoon yakking in a slope-side bar while the others (including Jules, far right) went in for reckless adventure. Pathetic really but I've just always enjoyed being in the mountains and don't do speed whether it's driving, riding or skiing (or, if this morning's exertions with Gemma are anything to go by, running).
Yes, the running shoes have been dusted off, last sighted two and a half years ago when I ran the Windsor half marathon. I swore I'd never go running again but the advent of spring has tempted me on a fitness drive. Almost everyone I know, including Carolynn, Dawn, Camilla, Jamie, Alix and Lorna, is now a member of the Newmarket Joggers. I'm not sure I'm brave enough to sign up as Carolynn's now ladies' captain and she knows how lazy I really am. Gone are the days when we dossed around at the back while Dawn and Anna took each other on up Side Hill. Captain Carolynn is now a seriously talented athlete and woebetide anyone who doesn't lay up.
And on the subject of our Scottish correspondent, hearty good wishes to Papa B, who is just recovering from surgery. The team at Beverley House Stables is longing for a visit once the Borders racing guru is well enough to travel to Newmarket.
Also, a warm welcome to our new blogger The Lemon. Have no idea who it could be but all new input gratefully received.
John's in my bad books as he decided to ride out with his camera this morning and took pics of the others while galloping along behind. At least he was on Lady S, a relatively quite ride, but I'm not massively keen on the idea of him ending up in Addenbrooke's A&E, even if he did take a superb shot in the style of Snaffles' great 'The best view in Europe' picture showing the view of the hunting field from between his horse's ears. Southfields was our string's happy hunting ground this morning and even more happily they've all made it back in one piece despite being chased by the papparazzi. For examples of John's recent shoot, tune into his blog, but meanwhile, here's a lovely pic he took of the delightful Giant. She's an excellent cat.
Off now to prepare myself for a feast of racing after welcoming our new charge from Chris Dwyer, Racey Gracie. More details to come. Toodle pip.
PS. Dickie, I think I've found you a new squash partner. Gemma confessed that she's an addict. Check out the staff page to see if she'll be a suitable candidate to take you on next time you're in town.