Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Random Wednesday

First, I was going to do politics. Then, I decided on a reflection on my own geekishness, which is currently soaring to new heights. (This morning at breakfast, I told my mother and stepfather gravely: ‘I think about the repeal of the Corn Laws most mornings.’ They laughed, slightly nervously.)

Then, I had a whole riff going on about the intellectual laziness of according moral significance to different types of education. I was getting a bit grumpy about the snaking notion now abroad that only bounders come out of private schools and perfect saints issue daily from comprehensives. I admit this is only implication from the Miliband tendency, but it’s annoying me because it’s so cheap and vapid, and Mili E is a clever man who should know better.

I toyed with giving you a description of the herd antics I saw this morning; the prancing and puffing and dancing and wheeling of my absurdly duchessy mare in order to tell her new arrival who is the real Queen of the World.

But none of these would quite cut the mustard. I got a little distracted by the news that Frankie Dettori is going to ride Camelot in the Arc, which, in racing terms, is about as Hold The Front Page as it gets. My adoration for Frankie knows no bounds, and I wondered if the recently disappointing wonder horse might have one last little bit of fairy tale in him, so I had an ante-post fiver at 3-1. (I still suspect there was some tiny thing not quite right with him at the Leger meeting.)

Instead, here is a quick burst of randomness, because we have not had one of those for a while.

1. I’m always banging on about life lessons, mostly because I really, really need them. I feel that life is a sort of endless project, which I shall never quite complete. (On my deathbed, I shall be shouting: ‘But one more thing...’) There are a lot of things that I know intellectually, but forget, or do not quite believe in my gut. One of them is something I say all the time, and always, always have to be reminded of. It is: people are almost always not thinking what you think they are thinking.

Today, one of my nearest and dearest told me a very kind and understanding thing that another of the Dearests had said about me. (That’s another good life rule: always pass on the kind remarks made out of earshot.) The interesting thing is that I had been fretting that the Dearest might have been harbouring the exact opposite idea. I had put thoughts into his head that were not there at all. I had been fearing I was a burden and a bore, when all the time he had been regarding me in a wonderfully benign light. There was not boredom, but sympathy, not in its cheap sense of compassion, but in its lovely profound sense of a harmony of feeling.

I was intensely touched, and rebuked myself for indulging in idiotic speculation.

2. Outrage of the day:

On the Today programme this morning there was a piece about girls not doing physics A level. A female teacher came on and said, quite seriously, that girls tended to take biology instead of physics because it develops the ‘softer skills’. Implication again, and of the shoddiest kind: that girls are somehow automatically built or programmed for softness. We are not a bloody Andrex advertisement. My fluffy, girlish brain practically exploded.

As always, I asked myself the enduring question. Did Mrs Pankhurst really chain herself to the railings for this?

3. Terrifying and oddly unremarked on headline of the day, from the Telegraph:

“North Korea and South Korea are ‘on the verge of a nuclear war’”


Now, as well as building a winter shelter for my horses, I shall have to build a bunker and stock up on canned goods.

4. Things in which I know I should have an interest, but can evince none:

JK Rowling’s new book.

The Virgin franchise fiasco.

The levels of Kevin Pietersen’s contrition.

The return of Megan Stammers, the errant schoolgirl. (Very important to her family and friends, but I never quite understood why the whole thing was turned into a rolling news story.)

Naomi Woolf’s new book.

The mental state of Abu Hamza.

5. Person of the day:

Evan Davies, for his polite, humorous and forensic questioning of a rather evasive Mr Miliband.

6. Quote of the day:

‘It is my hair and it’s an amazing thing.’ Donald Trump.

(I was going to find you something enchanting and inspirational, so you could face the rest of your Wednesday with a lifted soul and a spring in your step, but this was so silly I could not resist. Perhaps it inspires in a different kind of way. If things get very bad, you can always tell yourself: at least I am not Donald Trump.)

And finally:

Weather report: cloudy with occasional glimpses of blue sky.

Mental report: oddly sanguine, tempered with mild moments of self-reproach, involving the usual domestic and organisational failures. (Cross voice in head shouts: just take the bloody library books back.)

Overwhelming impressions of the day: loveliness and goodness of family. Sweetness and beauty of horse. Enduring fidelity and gloriousness of dog.

Not a bad little troika, for the middle of the week.


Some quick pictures for you:

3 Oct 1

3 Oct 2

3 Oct 4

My posse:

3 Oct 10

3 Oct 11

3 Oct 12

3 Oct 15

The hill:

3 Oct 20


  1. You are so right about the what other people are thinking habit. But worse than that, is the highly realistic indignant, defensive, heated conversation we are having in our head that ISN'T REALLY HAPPENING. I fitted in a short one about Physics earlier today while trying to bat away an ear worm which sadly consisted of the correct pronunciation of Machynlleth.

  2. I read your tweet about the Physics thing. I personally only did not do Physics at A Level because I was taught it badly at GCSE (whenever I asked "why?" they said either "you don't need to know" or "don't worry it changes at A Level anyway" which meant I never got to understand it the way I wanted to. It made me run into the gentle arms of English and Politics and away from the route that had me offered an engineering scholarship.

    I am more than happy with where that took me, but do think its a shame that this girl (as was) who loved Physics had that love extinguished and always wonder if amongst the others who don't choose it, there are more stories like mine?


Your comments give me great delight, so please do leave one.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin