Posted by Tania Kindersley.
The overreaction theme continues. Yesterday I bust a tyre. I was driving like a maniac over potholes and I trashed my front wheel. It was completely and utterly my fault. You should have heard the riot act I read myself in my own head. Twenty-seven kinds of idiot. And do you know why I was driving fast? Not because I had to get somewhere or had an appointment to fill, oh no. It was because one of my crazed prejudices is that only fussy old ladies drive slowly over potholes. It’s the kind of attitude you might find in a nineteen year old boy, not a woman of a certain age. In fact, I now realise, grown up and sensible people drive slowly over potholes. Because then they don’t have to chuck away perfectly good tyres with vast amounts of tread left on them.
The tyre thing went from minor inconvenience to end of the world. It loomed so large I could hardly sleep. Of course, the problem is that I have never learnt to change a wheel. This is a most shameful confession, and I do not know how I have been able to call myself a feminist all these years. A great wall of self-recrimination rose in my addled head. As a result of this dereliction, I would have to ask someone. I hate doing this for two reasons. One is it confirms all kinds of female stereotypes. Two is that I don’t like asking for help generally; it is one of my psychological flaws. I equate it with weakness, or something nutty like that. It is old magical thinking which I can’t quite wish away.
In the end, it was a bit of a life lesson, and I am mad for life lessons just now. The tremendous smiling neighbour, the man who knows how to get things done, for whom practical matters are meat and drink, not only offered to change the tyre, but made not one reference, not by the flicker of an eye or the slide of the voice, to ditzy females who know not one lug nut from another.
He even laughed at my jokes whilst he did it. (I was making a lot of jokes as blatant displacement activity. And to cover up the fact that I felt like ten kinds of fool.) And here is the thing: he seemed pleased to be able to do me a good turn.
Perhaps it does not mean that I am hopeless and pointless and feckless, that I do not know how to change my own wheel. (Obviously I shall now learn, because it’s too silly not to.) I could decide to regard it as a perfect opportunity for the kind neighbour to show the crest and peak of his kindness, and make me very, very happy.
I lavished him with thanks and admiration; most sincere, since I admire people who are good at the practical things for which I have no skill. I always think that asking people for favours is the most arrant imposition and bore. In fact, it may be the complete opposite. They get to feel valued and useful and good at something. It ends with all smiles. Everyone wins. Well, that is my new fledgling theory, and I think I am sticking to it.
Up at the field, in a borrowed car, I rub the mare in the special spot behind her ears that she loves, and watch her close her eyes in pleasure. She rests her head against me, and breathes slowly through her nostrils. The love rises and blooms. She does not care that I know nothing of mechanics. She has no judgement on what I can or cannot do. I bring her carrots and sing her songs and rub her sweet spots and give her love. In return, she gives me her trust. It’s a bargain of such purity that it takes my breath away.
Today's pictures – The sun actually shone, so here are views and lovely, gleaming horses:
Oh, and sudden, random, running hen:
The ladyship, taking her ease:
Off she goes:
With her small friend:
From the sidelines, the Pigeon observes. She is still not quite sold on the whole huge red dog thing. Red lowers her head and sniffs the Pidge, and breathes gently on her, and the Pigeon is torn between thinking this quite interesting and charming, and saying – get this great thing off me. I can see her flicking back and forth in her old mind. I find the best answer is extra biscuits, which seems to go down pretty well:
The hill, rather blurry behind the horse chestnut, which is really putting out its leaves now: