Sunday, 25 November 2012

Sunday. Horses, dogs, family, weather.

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:

The herd:

25 Nov 12

The outlier:

25 Nov 15

The Legend:

25 Nov 14

25 Nov 16

One of the young fillies, on box rest:

25 Nov 28-001


25 Nov 26

25 Nov 28

25 Nov 33


25 Nov 30


25 Nov 25

Smallest Cousin, in her Sunday best:

25 Nov 29

Cousins’ canine:

25 Nov Dido 1

My own old girls, from the archive:

25 Nov 34

25 Nov 34-001

25 Nov 35

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:

25 Nov 1

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:

22 Nov Old Fella in Argentina


  1. Two days running of chickens! And different chickens at that!
    The picture of The Legend made me laugh out loud. A dark horse indeed: no one could possibly guess her fearsome reputation.

  2. All crossed for the rescue.
    Great photograph of you!

  3. I was on the verge of asking, only yesterday, did The Duchess never smile? And now I needn't ask, as you have explained how different they were, although sisters. She smiled inside, I am supposing.

    As for the herd, WHAT a lot there are. A growing going concern, and the result of much hard work. The fact you now have Red from this herd is a joy in the face of much sadness before and since. Cleave her unto yourself, I say, and thank the day!

  4. What a lovely post. The south must be doing you some good.
    The hair post is somewhat lacking in hair but you look fab anyway. :)

  5. Lovely post...I am so pleased that you consider Red to be a salve to your damaged heart. Love that picture of the two of them cross-pawed! The weather is dreadful isn't it? Floods are seeping up our road again and there is a distinct sense of deja vu of the last time. I have made a pact with myself never to drive into an enormous puddle again (no matter how big I think my car is!). Continue to enjoy your time down South. Lou x

  6. Your very own, real-life Jilly novel. I am hugely jealous. x

  7. When these twists of fate have such happy outcomes, they can make you almost nervous that they could untwist! Almost a year ago I walked right past a dog in the shelter and my boyfriend called me back to see her, stood there looking very unremarkable. And now we're so, so happy with her, I sometimes feel an actual pang of worry thinking how easily I could have picked the 'wrong' dog!

    Red is all yours, and how wonderful that she ranks so high among your gratitudes.

    I'm nervous about the Rescue Gentleman. *Actual* nerves. :)

  8. How lovely your blog is - horses and dogs, what could be better?
    In my youth ponies & dogs were my first loves, then adolescence took over & those first loves were displaced by boys & travel. Now I am alone again & older & I find the things that quicken my pulse & gladden my heart are those first loves & even though I have neither at present due to work I know in a few years's time I will have at least my own dog & maybe take up riding again. Until then I have your blog & wonderful photos. If those bods at the rescue centre don't let you have the sad gentleman they are mad - but somehow I don't they are & sense will prevail. Fingers crossed for you.


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