Wednesday, 16 May 2012

In which the animals cheer me up

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

A fleeting, teasing glimpse of sun, and then the gloom descends again. I read weather reports which insist that the blasts of cold air coming down from Scandinavia are set to stay with us until June. I try very, very hard not to become hopelessly demoralised. I’ve always loved living in a temperate climate. I feel very lucky that we do not generally have heatwaves and droughts and wildfires and tornados and monsoons. I rather like the diffident nature of the British elements, bit of rain, bit of sun, the occasional snow storm, but nothing to extremes. I like that it gives us green fields and blooming herbaceous borders.

But oh oh oh day after day of cold and murk where there should be spring does make me sad.

I eat a huge pastrami sandwich for lunch to cheer myself up and back a winner at York. I write 2054 words. I concentrate very hard on the loveliness of my animals. I throw the ball for the Pigeon and watch her thrilled, questing face and her madly circling tail. How can she still be quite so galvanised by this tiny bouncing thing she has been chasing half her life, at the grand old age of fourteen? It seems like some kind of miracle. It is her barometer, her bellwether; if she will not chase the ball, I know that she is feeling seriously ill. (It was how I caught her pancreatitis last year; the moment she would not play ball, I bundled her in the car and rushed her to the vet, just in time.)

The mare is not a ball person, but she does like to play, in her own funny, horsey way. When I went up to the field tonight she did a little dance she thinks is funny. She canters towards me, says hello, then canters away, then canters back, and just as I think she is coming to me, she veers off course and careens past. I swear if a horse could laugh, she would be laughing. It makes me hoot.

Luckily, she has a keen sense of when a joke stops being funny. A horse shooting about a field is what my cousin V calls amusing once. If you have to stomp after them for hours it is very difficult to maintain composure. Red runs the gag for just the right amount of time, then stops and walks back to the gate beside me without the headcollar, as docile as a Labrador, as if she has never had an antic thought in her head.

Then she goes to sleep whilst I brush her, first doing great theatrical yawns, sticking out her tongue, as if she were an old donkey. That makes me laugh, too. She makes me laugh quite a lot. I must remember that, when I get gloomy about the bloody buggery weather.

Out in the world, another day, another row. Someone is, as usual, cross with someone, I think it might be the police and the Home Secretary. Poor Greece hangs on my its fingernails. And there is something going on with the football, but I don’t think I know what it is. I start to look forward to this deadline passing, when I can become a news junkie again, and come back to the outside world. For the moment, it is just me, this book, these lovely creatures, and this damn dreich.


Some garden pictures for you:

16 May 1

16 May 2

16 May 3

16 May 4

16 May 5

16 May 7

16 May 7-001

16 May 8

16 May 8-001

The chickens who co-habit with Red and Myfanwy. Slightly surprising me, they all seem to get along like a house on fire:

16 May 9

Red’s view:

16 May 9-001 

At the end of one of her comedy yawns:

16 May 10

And then having a little doze:

16 May 11


16 May 13

The Pigeon has no time for a rest, because she must PUT HER BALL FACE ON:

16 May 15

16 May 15-001

16 May 15-002

Sometimes I think if she got any sweeter my entire head might just explode.

The hill:

16 May 20


  1. Here in mid-Wales we had some real warmth today in the late afternoon; the sheltered corner where we keep our outdoor table is between a south-facing brick wall and a west-facing one, so the walls even radiate stored heat well after dark on hot days. We sat out gazing at our view, chatting in a desultory way with a glass of wine, and didn't need sleeves, for the best part of an hour. First time since March.

    I do appreciate there are many hundreds of miles between Aberdeenshire and Montgomeryshire, and you are getting the thin end of the deal up there at the mo, but please don't slump into Scandninavian gloom. It can and will get better, just as soon as it stops snowing, anyhoo.

    It has also snowed in Snowdownia and the Brecon Beacons and a week or so ago there was a tornado right where I used to live in West Oxon, with with pelting pellets of hail that damaged conservatory roofs and frightened small children. Sounds brilliant to me! It was much tweeted and facebooked about, but if you are suffering from Deadline Deafness it probably didn't register on your radar.

  2. Don't fling daggers, but we're having the most perfect weather here in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, USA. However, even sunshine and balmy breezes can't make up for blithering idiots and selfish people, so the day has verged on yucky (an inelegant but descriptive term). Your blog just cheered me up and reminded me to go outside and enjoy what Nature offers. That can dispel a whole lot of gloom.

    Love the images--photographs and mental--of the Pigeon, her red and white friends, and the chickens. Boy, is your bit of Scotland getting populated!


  3. Life can't be all gloom if you can get your hands on some good pastrami! Red looks very blissed out. What a beauty she is.

  4. Commenting via iPad...always unsatisfactory, but wanted to say what a lovely image you paint of the horse being playful. This did make me smile. I totally agree about head-exploding dog's how I feel too. Lou x

  5. Yesterday here in Oxford 'twas the Merry Month of May - north wind in the morning, then hail, sleet and thunder! But today was quite sunny. I remember asking a woman from Israel, where of course skies are blue for weeks, what people did for small talk without the changeable weather of Britain. She said "I don't know..." adding "My God! Maybe we have no small talk!"

    The pictures of Pigeon are always a tonic - I love the ball-face!


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