Saturday morning on the Meadow was cold as ice. As a tiny full moon set away in the West we woke up to a world all frosty and white.

Vincent, the Black Currawong, called out from the very top of the stable block, “Hurry up sun! Hurry up sun!”  With manes still covered in white icicles we gobbled our hay from the frozen ground. The water troughs were all frozen over so Kathleen had to smash through the ice with a sturdy piece of hose. Finally, the sun broke through the morning mist and the kookaburras burst into song!

And guess who then came visiting, his coat all ginger and shining in the morning sun?   Mr Fox!  Bold as brass, he trotted across the small paddock and down to the chicken coop to check if the gate to the coop had been accidentally left unlocked. Fortunately for the chickens it was latched tight!  Poor Mr Fox. He was very hungry after such a cold night and really felt like a nice white hen for his breakfast! He looked so disappointed as he trotted away, his fine bushy tail dragging along behind him.

Not long after we had another surprise visit. This time it was a very welcome one!! Three  children, together with their mother and grandparents, came to visit us on the Meadow. The eldest boy, whose name was Oliver, had a friendly face and ginger-red hair just like Mr Fox. His little sister, Imogen, had a big smile and hair the color of golden straw and his littlest brother – Henry – had brown hair, red boots and a determined look in his eye. They had grown up in Singapore, which is a very busy city a long way from the Meadow. They have pet hampsters in Singapore but they didn’t have puppies to cuddle or horses to play with. Their family was thinking of moving to a place like the Meadow so the children could grow up in big green paddocks and have the chance to have their own dogs and ride horses.

The children were so excited to meet us!  We were all on our best behavior and very welcoming, except for little Freddy who is still a little shy with strangers. They fed me carrots, tickled Maximo on the tummy and visited the Magic Horses on the Hill. Oscar was a very polite pup, letting the children take turns to cuddle him. Even though Henry was only four years old he asked, “Please, can I hold Oscar?”  He did a good job of cuddling Oscar but was surprised to discover how wet and muddy little Oscar was!

I do hope Oliver, Imogen and Henry come back again to visit us on the Meadow. Maybe next time I can give them a nice ride.

It’s amazing how days can be full of nice surprises, even the ones that start off all miserable and cold! Have you ever had a lovely surprise?

Ryan O’Brien