If you had been somewhere near a northern Scottish field today, where the swallows still fly in the shadow of an indigo blue mountain, you would have seen a slightly wild-eyed woman on a chestnut mare, riding one-handed, whilst leading a small, rather rotund grey pony. You would have seen trotting and turning and cantering; you would have heard the sound of whooping.
That nutty woman was me.
(Actually, it should really be that nutty woman was I. No one uses this rule any more. If Hamlet were alive today, he would have to say: ‘It is me, Hamlet the Dane,’ instead of ‘It is I, Hamlet the Dane.’ You see how much better the second one sounds, quite aside from being grammatically correct. But now, if you answer the telephone and say ‘It is I’ you just sound nuts in the head.)
Myfanwy the Pony is on a strict regime to get the fat off; I decided the best exercise was to lead her from Red. Leading is not always straightforward. There was one moment when the pony planted herself and almost jerked me out of the saddle. But I persisted, and by the end, the two equines were running together like wild horses, in perfect harmony. Red very much liked her job as lead horse, and it had an oddly settling effect on her. I find more and more that she is happiest when she has a good task to do. (Actually, she is really happiest when I am doting on her and massaging citronella balm into her head, but I don’t mention that, because it sounds too dopey.) The whole thing made me so happy that I let out crazed rebel whoops of joy.
Then back to work, back to reality. I am all fired up for my back to school, start of term, new project. But my mind is not yet match-fit, and I get distracted and am on stop-start. I want to translate the easy rhythms I find in my riding to my daily word count, and it’s not quite there yet. I have taken on one or two outside projects and need to make a strict timetable and work out boxes of concentration. I know women are supposed to multi-task like breathing out and breathing in, but I find it difficult to think of more than one thing at once. I get mazy and confused and have to drink a lot of strong coffee to function at all.
In this vein, I had a whole serious, even philosophical post ready to go before breakfast. Someone made me cross on the Today programme, and I was all fired up to wade into controversy. (It was to do with rights, and homosexuality, and the Bible, and the peculiarities of religion.) I was going to go back to first principles and everything. But late in the day, by the time I got to sit down and type, my brain had been too stretched and pummelled by all those different kinds of thinking, and my body was physically exhausted from horse work, so I ended up just telling you about me and Red and the pony. It was incredibly sweet, the little trundling grey person sticking out her head and keeping up with her big red friend, who went in the most gentle, collected canter, even on a loose rein, as if conscious that her companion had much, much shorter legs.
Then I think: perhaps you do not need controversy and first principles. You all know what you think about the big affairs of the day. You understand morality and the thorny thickets of ethics and relativism. You are highly intelligent readers. You do not need me banging on. Perhaps a little, irrelevant snapshot of a day in a life is what this is all about, not rantings and putting down markers.
I shall, however, as soon as my brain is straight, be investigating the strangeness that is Mitt Romney. And if I get very excited, I might throw in a bit of Paul Ryan for afters.
Red’s western view was impossible to photograph because of the evening sun:
This is what she sees looking east:
The farmer is finally able to get the harvest in. She watches this with fascination:
And then gets the wind in her tail and takes off:
You can see the gales blowing at her mane and tail. I had wondered what effect a full gale would have on her. The answer is quite a nutty one. It made me laugh:
But then she and her good companion settled:
Just as if butter would not melt in their mouths; as if they had not been charging about like circus tricks only moments before.
The Pigeon and I played with the ball, and she looked glorious in the evening light:
But someone has parked a bloody great DIGGER in front of my hill, so I could only capture it through the trees: