Wednesday, 4 April 2012


Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Thump, thump, thump, goes the sound of me falling back down to earth. I suddenly realise I have been in a joy haze for the last three weeks. I suppose it had to wear off eventually. Even Red the Mare cannot entirely defeat the human condition.

I like to present a good front for the blog. Everyone has their griefs and grumps; I’m not sure they have time to indulge someone else’s wail.

Wailing is pretty dull. Witness the current outrage on Twitter over the fact that a faintly narcissistic woman called Samantha Brick is complaining that all women hate her because she is beautiful. (I am not over-simplifying for effect; she really did say that.)

Everyone got furious and some people were disproportionately horrible. Then Mrs Brick wrote a triumphant follow-up saying, See, See – this just proves my point.

I think the reason people got so furious was not because of the rather odd lack of self-awareness or empathy displayed in the piece, but that a woman was moaning about something which many people crave. I think also it was such a silly moan. I think of moaning as a waiting till you see the whites of their eyes kind of thing; don’t waste your emotional capital on small, insignificant things, because you are going to need it when the big battalions roll into town.

This is why I hate moods so much. Most of the time my emotions are explicable, and rather straightforward. As someone in Nancy Mitford once said, I think it might have been Linda in The Pursuit of Love: I’m simple soul; I laugh when I’m happy and cry when I’m sad.

Sometimes I get ambushed by emotion: I’ll think I’m having a perfectly fine day and then suddenly find I am sobbing for my dead dog. But at least that makes sense: there was a creature I adored, and I miss her, and sometimes that makes water come out of my eyes. I’m not frightened of sorrow, perhaps because I listened to so many Leonard Cohen albums at a young age. It hurts but it is a pointful cathartic hurt. It means something profound; that there was someone you loved well, who is no longer there. This sounds quite strange, but it pleases the rationalist in me. Imagine if you lost someone and felt nothing. That would be truly terrifying.

What I don’t like are the uncomfortable, grating, scratching, pointless emotions. Every so often, I get the feeling of being stuck. I feel almost physically constrained. I don’t want to walk the dog, cook the lunch, tidy the office. (Who am I fooling? I never want to tidy the office.) Everything seems heavy and dull. I am grumpy and demoralised. That is how I feel today.

Don’t tell the Dear Readers that, yells the strict keep buggering on voice. Make something up. Say something funny. Be goofy and romantic about your horse. Don’t wimp and wail and whine. Stop sitting there gazing at your navel and do something useful.

Nothing horrible has happened; everything is as fine as it was yesterday. But for some reason the cloud of unreason has swooped (can clouds even swoop?) and I am in a rage. I wish this stupid flat cold weather would sod off. I don’t want any more stupid buggery snow on the ground. Yesterday it was pretty and scenic; today it is just dirty and irritating. I want to ride again. I don’t want to take the mare out for the first time in her new home in this weather; also, the snow tends to ball up in her hooves, so it’s not safe. I want the balmy sun on my back, and hers. I want to see the Pigeon sniffing about in the fecund, spring earth. I want to be able to go out in the garden and gaze happily on the green shoots of promise, instead of worrying about the cold crimping everything.

See? It's like being six years old. I want I want I want.  It really is not a world-shattering problem. I sit in a warm house in a democratic country where I have the vote and many, many human rights. I am not being oppressed. I can type. I am the lucky recipient of manifold blessings. I have a horse, for God’s sake. (In my crazed, irrational mind, this of course mean I am never allowed to be miserable again, even for a single second. Which may be the heart of the matter, since I have a tendency to think this anyway. It is as if I have a duty to be happy, because I am not living in the Congo.)

It’s just a grumpy day. This is the warp and weft of the human condition. Everyone has grumpy days.

Now I would like a nice final sentence to round everything off. Preferably something mordant and ironical and a bit funny in that cross, amusing way that the grumpy people on television manage. I rummage in my brain. Brain says: are you joking? Brain eyes me as if it would like to punch me in the nose. I back off.

No final sentence then. Just some stupid snow pictures:

4 April 1 03-04-2012 09-46-57 4032x3024

4 April 2 03-04-2012 09-48-18 4032x3024

4 April 3 03-04-2012 09-49-03 3024x980

4 April 5 03-04-2012 09-49-15 4032x3024

4 April 6 03-04-2012 09-49-21 4032x1449

4 April 6 03-04-2012 09-53-01 3024x4032

4 April 8 03-04-2012 16-21-44 4020x913

Red, from yesterday, looking ravishing, as always:

4 April 9 03-04-2012 16-11-57 4032x3024

But even the Pidge looks slightly fed up. Although she does sometimes affect this look as a joke when I point the camera at her, like a supermodel who has just been on one too many shoots:

4 April 11 03-04-2012 09-50-43 1776x1986


4 April 10 03-04-2012 09-48-53 4032x3024


  1. When I lived in Canada, this time of year (& continued "inclement" weather) was blamed (named?) as a major cause of something called "cabin fever"...when perfectly sane people went off the rails in any number of ways.
    Knowing how I feel when spring takes it time in truly arriving -- those last minute cold snap fits & starts are such a downer! -- I think you have done quite well to make it this far.

    Funny, witty quotes escape me...Sorry!

  2. It is simply a Black Dog Day - we all have them, even Churchill was chased by them, snapping at his heels.
    That Samantha Brick person (who I have never heard of before) is totally gross - beauty is obviously in the eye of the beholder, I am therefore not a beholder.
    You've got your health, your Dog, your Horse and lots of inappropriate snow for the time of the year.
    As a family, we all had a crap day today, but in the grand scheme of things, 'twas only a hiccough and it will be sorted.
    Courage, mon brave!

  3. I have spent the day trying to decorate a bedroom with my OH having one of those days! To be fair he had some reason: we had snow, there was a power cut for about six hours but mainly he just felt like having a grump. I used to hate it but have learnt to either ignore it or point out that it's not rational. I wouldn't suggest that to you for a second but it works very well on him as he likes to think of himself as a rational being!
    Hope you have a better day tomorrow!

  4. Here in the upper Severn valley in mid-Wales it has snowed all day, none of it has stuck down at our level, in town, and yet it is cold and wet and windy and it isn't even pretty. I tried to make pea and ham soup out of Quick Soak peas (where, please, is there a supplier of dried marrowfat peas? I will buy up all their stock and put it up in the attic to keep me going for the remainder of my terrestrial existence)and the brand-newly retired husband has sciatica and did I ever know it.

    It is one of those days. Mercury is retrograde, or some such tosh. One is allowed to feel baleful every once in a while provided one doesn't make a habit of it and visit oneself all over other people in an attempt to spread the misery. Let yourself off this once. I prescribe a hot bath, some delicious cocoa or whatever other night-time hot drink floats your boat, get your head down with The Pidge hunkered on your feet and see what the morrow will bring.

  5. Tania, I just loved that post. You have put into words how I feel when one of those black, grumpy for no particular reason at all days comes along and there is absolutely nothing that will cheer you up. I have thought your thoughts many times but I could never express them as you have done. Just thought I let you know. I guess you know anyway. And I think it's okay to be grumpy or sad sometimes. I have accepted my moods, I don't like them but I know they won't last. So that's okay. You have Red and the Pigeon after all. A big advantage in the happy mood category, I think.

  6. There must be something in the water, or the air, (although I am far too far away from where you are for this to work) but I too have been feeling 'down'. And I know exactly how you feel about not being allowed to feel this way - I too am blessed in so many ways, and yet... Let's say it's the weather. Which changes daily and sometimes hourly, so there's hope?

    Great post, topical, emotional, humane (although can't say it was cheerful).

    Helena xx

  7. If you haven't already, treat yourself to L Cohen's new album "Old Ideas" and play on repeat. I fell in love with his music when I was 16 in mid 70s and saw him perform in Oakland 18 months ago. It was one of the very best concerts I've been too. Less misery, more wry acceptance of life and wit.
    I think your Dear Readers would rather you shared your glumness than fake it. This too will pass. Feel better.

  8. It's called having the grumps in this household. Winston has them at the moment (evinced by being narky at the other dogs , who are BOTH much bigger than he is, for heaven's sake!). So he has his Thundershirt on, which settles him somewhat.

    Anyone who can come up with the sentences "Brain says: are you joking? Brain eyes me as if it would like to punch me in the nose." is not beyond hope. For some strange reason, it reminds me of Nigel Molesworth, and I am seriously tempted to abandon my serious, paid work and rummage through my St Custards books. Much more enjoyable than trying to unbreak an application.

    It will wear itself out, as it does with all the Dear Readers, and we are all nodding our heads in recognition.

  9. Good to let go once in a while. Its human! hope you feel better once the snow has gone.

  10. Of course everybody has grumpy days. So you wail away. You still managed to make me laugh - stupid snow...

    Take care, rug up and do lots of heavy sighing. Hope tomorrow is a better day xx

  11. In our house it's called 'feeling soggy'. Like dirty snow, I suppose, after it has stopped being deep and crisp and even. Just soggy. Lacking in all motivation, and sulking. It always feels hugely ungrateful given the amount of blessings we have - and even the amount of REAL things to worry about that we could focus on if we want to; but no. Soggy doesn't go anywhere near the real concerns.

    The photo of the Pidge made me laugh lots - she looks soggy, too - and the stupid snow is, at least, very beautiful in your photos. Especially the very wide format one.

    If it cheers you up, I have just dispatched my eighth copy of BIHH (they go to Very Special Ladies), as a thank you after all the help she gave me on a recent business conference and for her friendship, and she is as thrilled with it as I hoped she would be.

    As Em said, rugging up and heavy sighing sounds like a great idea. Much love. xx

  12. I am sorry it was a grumpy, difficult day.

    You've clearly already made your decision to share the good *and* the bad days with your readers, but I'd like to add my voice to those above and say how important and appreciated that is. If it weren't for your honesty about the grumpy, dull days (and I think most of us have them, from time to time!) this lovely blog would only have half a heart.

    Thank you, and I hope today is a brighter one.

  13. Beautiful snow pictures, not stupid. Also this time of the year is horrible for a lot of people for feeling stuck or sad or otherwise bad. The change in light and sleep and seasons sneaks up and makes things so difficult. I hope the grumps pass for you, but I also think sometimes, when embracing emotions we might need to embrace the grump a bit. Accept it and then not end up grumpy about being grumpy (I have not yet learned to do that).

  14. Oh such lovely comments. Thank you all. You are very, very cheering. :)

  15. It's definitely a cosmic phase. Even my darling Bear and I have been biting each other's heads off over nothing. And that's pretty rare.


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