The rain pours and pours. The horses and I move into full stoicism mode. Sometimes, when I look up at yet another black sky, with no glimmer of light, I do feel like weeping. Day after day of mud and dreich and wet and cold; it is a drowned world. I scan the weather forecast hopefully for a hint of sunshine.
Out on the racecourse, the tough, brave horses battle through the mud. The jockeys come back with their colours obscured by clods of earth. As a special consolation, I back the first two winners at Ascot. I am so flaky and vague that I completely forget my first wager on Reve de Sivola and back him twice by mistake. He canters home like a really good horse. He jumps beautifully, gets into a lovely rhythm, and makes the three miles in heavy ground look like a bagatelle. I shout and clap and feel rich.
I make celery soup and eat a steak pie for lunch; it’s the weather for comfort food. I contemplate my Christmas arrangements. I have a faint, nagging feeling of something vital forgotten. But dear old Amazon came through, and delivered the great-nephew’s present this morning, and it is so much the very thing that he will love most that it brings a smile to my face.
I write this now after going out to do the horses’ evening feed. The downpour is so intense that it has soaked through my coat and my jeans and even insinuated itself into my tough keeper’s boots. After a bit, I couldn’t get any wetter, and then I embraced the thing with a sort of fatalistic hilarity. It’s only a bit of weather, after all. I shall easily be dry again. It’s not as if my entire house is flooded and my Christmas ruined. Good people work outside in worse elements every day. Then, suddenly, once I had all these thoughts, I rather loved the weather. I loved the fact that I was not mimsing about inside, but out in the gale, carrying the hay and checking the legs and doing something honest and useful. It’s the countrywoman in me. I shall end up one of those tremendous leathery ladies, with a thousand yard stare and no vanity.
In other words: it was an ordinary, rather sweet, very wet day.
No possibility of pictures today. Forgive me.
I suddenly missed this person very much, so here she is, from last Christmas, with her special festive bow that The Older Niece tenderly tied round her neck:
She is wearing her slightly put-upon face, because we were about to go for our Christmas walk, and she longed to be off, and I was making her ponce about for her close-up. She really did put up with my nonsense with an awful lot of glad grace. I was very, very lucky to have her, and she leaves a huge dog-shaped hole in my heart.
P.S. Meant to say: there was one more lovely thing. This morning, when I came back from morning stables, several Christmas parcels had been delivered by the postie. One was, amazingly, from the efficient and thoughtful Lou at L’Apothecary. I had put in a late order, on the off-chance, thinking there was little hope it would arrive in time. But thanks to the good old Royal Mail and the extra Yuletide effort of a determined small business, I got my delightful package. When I saw it, I actually exclaimed out loud in surprise and pleasure.
The other had no name or address. I have a SECRET SANTA. I am beside myself.