The weather stopped for a moment today; there was even a ray of sunshine. We are surrounded by floods, though; one local town about eight miles away is completely cut off.
The Beloved Cousin and I went to check on the horses. As we listened to the downpour rattling at the windows all last night, we had to steel our hearts, imagining the poor equines.
‘They are much tougher than one thinks,’ I said, not very convincingly. ‘It’s just a bit of wet.’
Sure enough, when we arrived in the late morning, there they all were, happy as grigs. There is a fascinating thing about the wisdom of herds; it is like the opposite of the madness of crowds. They had positioned themselves in the most sheltered corner of the valley, ready for the weather to set in again, which they did not need a forecaster to tell them would happen. The bigger and stronger horses had positioned themselves on the outside of the group, as if to protect the more delicate ones. The toughest of all were cavalier, out on their own, grazing as if there was nothing in the world to worry about.
Only one came to say hello, the sweetest and kindest bay mare, with whom I did absurd amounts of bonding. The Beloved Cousin had to drag me away, before the lunch got burnt. I almost wrote to the Old Fella in Argentina to see if she might like to move to Scotland. It turned out she is his fastest and best pony, an absolute legend on the polo field, striking fear into the hearts of all the other players. Yet there she was, in her winter off, mooching about the field like the dearest old dote.
She made me miss my own Red. I thought of the twist of fate which brought that mare to my door. She was almost sold abroad, and would have gone, except the fellow with the lorry never turned up. It makes me shudder a little in my shoulders to think of life without her. If one strange man had not been unreliable, I would not have had this great source of joy. Imagine.
It sounds a bit nuts to say so, but it is the great love I have for Red the Mare which keeps my bashed old heart beating now that the Pigeon and the Duchess are gone. She is consolation with knobs on and flags flying and trumpets playing. In my recording of gratitudes, apart from my health and the family and opposable thumbs, Red is the hugest name on the list.
See? I say to myself; there is always something. In almost all tunnels, there is light.
From next door as I write this, there is the sound of laughter. (There is a lot of laughter in this house.) The Middle Cousin is playing Hallelujah on the guitar, at which she is very talented. I’m going to have some Guinness and then the grown-ups shall watch Homeland, and we two old ladies shall take ourselves up to early bed, and tomorrow shall be another day. And perhaps, perhaps, with fingers crossed and the stars aligned, I move one step closer to the possibility of the lovely rescue gentleman.
Today’s pictures are of the day, with some from the archive of my old girls:
One of the young fillies, on box rest:
Smallest Cousin, in her Sunday best:
My own old girls, from the archive:
It’s funny, looking back through the files for pictures of the dogs. The Pidge was often smiling, but the Duchess was always grave. She was quite a noble, serious dog, hence her nickname. She had gravitas. She would play and vamp and wiggle her stern, especially when flirting with handsome fellows, but her default setting was gravity. Perhaps it was that she did not take all that great beauty she had lightly.
My funny little equines, from the blue morning before I left for the south:
Suddenly remembered the Dear Readers’ request for pictures of the hair, and dutifully took the usual absurd self-portrait. Only problem was I forgot to put my hood down, so you get Nanook of the North instead of scarlet barnet. Shall put right the omission this week. But I thought this was quite funny, so you shall have it:
It actually was not that cold, but clearly I was taking no chances.
Oh, and so you can see what The Old Fella is doing, down in South America, here he is. This was posted on Facebook by the Argentine player he is working with. (The OF backs and makes and brings on young playing ponies.) Not bad, for an old chap: