My brain is shattered after writing and editing all day. So there are a very few fragmented thoughts for you. We have not had a random day for a while, so here is one. It really is pretty random indeed, in the newest sense of the word, the one that The Young People use. (This is one of the novel meaning shifts which I mightily enjoy, for some reason.)
1. The first absurdity of the morning was that I felt very, very proud of my little herd. I found them calm and settled when I went up to give them breakfast. Last night, they had gone through the shock of unexpected fireworks banging off only a hundred yards from their field. It happened at midnight, and I hurled myself into the car and drove down to the paddock to make sure they were not going loco.
I saw them, by the light of the full moon, gathered protectively into a tight little band. The moon was so bright that Myfanwy was shining white in it like a tiny unicorn. I gentled them and gave them some nuts and told them they were very, very brave indeed. Talking to horses under the light of a sailing moon turns out to be one of the great life experiences. (Because of this, in the end I concluded I ought be be grateful to the intemperate firework people, even though I was furious about the unheralded bangs at the time.)
2. The touching thing of this week is that Stanley the Dog has, for the first time, given me his stomach to stroke. For a rescue dog, with caution and uncertainty stitched into his short, chequered life, this is an act of courage and trust. I felt like someone had given me a present. I rubbed his belly for about ten minutes, watching his perfect little white teeth appear in a doggy smile. You and me, fella, I thought, are going to be absolutely, perfectly fine.
3. The sweetest thing of the week was a picture that was sent to my Facebook page. The Horse Talker has taken her family to Paris for a winter break. I send her dotty updates on the herd each day, because even though she is in one of the most lovely places in the world, she still misses her filly. (This is one of the bonkers things that only other horse people will fully understand. When I am in the south, my heart gets sore when I think of my mare.)
Anyway, in one of these bulletins I suggested, not that seriously, that they all go and say hello to the Place des Vosges for me, since it is my favourite place in all of the city. A day later, there was a picture of her two enchanting children, in their very Parisian chic, standing under the familiar blue street sign of that lovely square. They had walked for miles to get there, and their legs had almost given out.
Funnily enough, I remember well the first time I went to the Marais, and I walked it too, all the way from the Place Vendôme, down the Rue de Rivoli and past the Hôtel de Ville. I remember being entirely footsore, and absolutely exhilarated at that much beauty.
4. It’s the most glorious sunny day outside. The funny thing I had forgotten about writing fiction, which I have not done for a long time, is that the world entirely disappears. I am so focused on the pictures in my head that when I stop writing and look up, it is an actual shock to see the amber Scottish sunshine glimmering over the stone walls and tall trees.
The other thing that astonishes me is how exhausting the process is. I am not working down a mine. I am not in a factory, drilling rivets. I am sitting at a nice, quiet desk, thinking, imagining, and tapping with my fingers on a responsive keyboard. And yet, when I get to the end of a six hour stretch, as I just now have, I am as drained as if I had been doing the Iron Man Challenge.
My plan for today was to do a word marathon, and keep going until midnight, but this was a crazed notion, brought on by the insanity always produced by the hard deadline. I have to stop now, before my cerebellum turns to mush. I am going to go and mooch with the equines, and let simple physical work restore my mental capacity.
I have not had time for editing more of the Christmas day pictures, so here are a very few snaps I took just now, in the gloaming.
My love for the beech leaves continues unabated. Even when they are slightly blurry in the low light:
Stanley the Dog, working on sit, stay and lie down:
The hill, in its blue evening incarnation:
Thank you for kind wishes about my mum. They are keeping her in, but she is on the mend. The NHS in Aberdeen is bloody brilliant, and we are really lucky to have it.
Oh, and here are the happy small people in Paris. That’s The Pony Whisperer on the left. She is Myfanwy’s special friend:
I should also mention that the fellow on the right, who does not yet have a blog name, but of course shall soon get one, was the very kind person who gave Stanley the Dog a special Christmas present, on the grounds that it was Stan’s first festive season here, and he must have a secret Santa of his very own. The present is a small feathery emu-like creature, and is a roaring success. He plays with it all evening long.
And since I seem to be being a bit whimsical, here is an absurd picture I took on my webcam this afternoon. I was joking about with my Twitter racing crew, and I was having a very nuts hair day, and for some reason felt I should show it to them. (This is the thin end of the wedge part of Twitter.) Just as I was pressing snap, a certain gent decided he too was ready for his close-up:
And now I really am stopping.