Too tired for proper blog, so here are a few brief, incoherent thoughts, because you must always have some thoughts, especially on a Friday.
Sunshine, suddenly. The smiling window cleaners come and talk hopefully of an Indian summer. My love for the window cleaners has now reached the idiot stage, where I can hardly speak, but just stand grinning at them like a loon. They are always cheerful.
At breakfast, there is serious talk of politics. I very much like talking politics at breakfast; I think it may be the best time to speak of political matters, because people are fresh, and not drunk. (Usually.)
The mare and I have another wild ride. She’s still putting up a bit of circus resistance under the saddle, so we had a mild tussle, and I said, out loud, at one point, quite loudly: ‘It does not matter what you try, I am going to win this battle.’ She seemed to understand this remarkably well, and immediately started behaving like a perfect show pony. I never quite know what these swerves of mood are: a test, still getting used to new rider and new regime, mild objection that her loafing days are over. The thing that makes me hoot with laughter is that the minute I get off, she bats her eyelids and wobbles her lip at me and buries her face in my arm as if to pretend that the previous high spirits had never even happened. I don’t care anyway; I love her and she makes me use all my muscles and all my head and that can’t be a bad thing, at my age.
I do work. The Man of Letters sends me stellar advice on my new project. He is amazingly generous like that and I send him stupidly gushing emails in return.
As a treat, I watch a bit of the racing from Haydock. One of my favourite horses is running, a lovely, game filly called Prussian, trained by the most excellent Mark Johnston. In a fit of madness, I have a HUGE bet on her, out of love and loyalty. She hunts round the inside, beautifully positioned, but then gets trapped on the rails, and Franny Norton has to yank her out and there’s another horse in the way, and some bumping and boring, which would put a lot of fillies off. Rhythm wins races, the old pros always say, but somehow, miraculously, Prussian will damn well not lose her stride. She finds her gap at last, surges through it, and dances off towards the winning post, laughing at everything struggling behind her. It is a very lovely thing and I shout so loudly that the Pigeon ostentatiously goes into the other room in protest.
For all this good horse stuff, I’m a bit grumpy today. I know one must be philosophical and stoical, but I think I’m really, really cross about the old men dying. I’m cross and sad about my own dad all over again. I know eternal life would be the biggest bore imaginable, but this whole dying thing strikes me as a bit of a design flaw. As I lay awake at night, wrangling with mortality, I wonder if everyone gets this in middle age. I wonder if I just have too much time to think. I wonder how people get it all straight in their heads. Is there some lovely, fatalistic solution? (I did try to read some Buddhism on this once, thinking it probably had the monopoly on the whole acceptance thing, but it was so paradoxically prescriptive that it made me crosser than ever.) I suppose one must just work hard and be kind and get on with it and not dwell. I am fatally addicted to dwelling. Perhaps I just need to take some more iron tonic. (Really, someone needs to invent a life tonic.)
Stopping now. As so often, I sat down to write thinking I had bugger all to say. I thought: must just give the poor Dear Readers something for a Friday. And even though my head was blank and my fingers were tired, there were rather a lot of words, after all.
Have been too hopeless to take the camera out today, so here are a few random shots from the last few days:
Oh, actually I do have a good Friday diversion for you. Last night, I was given the best back-handed compliment I ever had. A small, smiling girl of seven suddenly looked up at me and said: ‘I think you are pretty.’ I am ashamed to say I simpered rather. I was having a perfectly awful hair day and had not slept well and was feeling creased and crumpled; my vanity rose up in instant delight.
‘Thank you so much,’ I said.
She smiled at me for quite a long time, her face a perfect study in beatific beaming. Then she said:
‘You see, I think everyone is pretty.’
I started to laugh. Just in case I had not quite got the point, she added, kindly, as if I might be a bit slow-witted:
‘I even think my teacher is pretty.’
Nothing much one can do with that, except contemplate gravely one’s own absurdity.
Oh, and final PS. I do apologise for my tenses being all over the place. This happens when I am tired. I suspect there may be some shaming typos too. I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive. There is no more energy for one more proof-read.