Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Not exactly a eureka moment.

As is so often the way, the blog in my head was an absolute stormer. I was going to do a whole thing on manners. There was a piece on them on this morning’s Today programme, and, fired with polite zeal, I wrote an entire post in my head, in the bath.

The bath, I find, in the spirit of Archimedes, is a most excellent place for thinking. The only problem is that it is one of the few places where I may not use a notebook. By the time I am out and dry, the brilliant words are fled.

So now the priceless words of wisdom have dissipated, and the day is charging away from me like a rogue elephant, and the brain is scratching and glitching like a jumping CD. (It is only a pity that I may not remove the brain from its slot, and give it a nice wipe with a soft cloth.)

Most of my morning’s focus was spent dealing with the cold, and this takes it out of me. It was minus ten in the field, when I went to take the horses their breakfast. They were happy as Larry, in the magical morning light. The low sun described the white land in singing shades of violet and pink and blue. Negotiating the treacherous going, hard with ice, was slow work. Hot water had to be fetched to thaw the solid block of ice that was the water trough. Extra hay rations were delivered. In this weather, everything takes a great deal of time.

And then, of course, on account of the beauty, and the astounding light, I had to stop and gaze for a bit. One of the things I love most is watching a beloved horse eating morning hay. The happy, deliberate chewing is not just a pleasure to watch, it also makes a delightful, metronomic sound which sends me into a hazy trance. (So much cheaper and more efficient and less illegal than hard drugs.)

All of which meant that I was an hour behind before I even started, and now there is no time for musing on manners. (All I will say, in my most maiden aunt-ish voice, is: please and thank you cost nothing.)

On the other hand, one of the good things about the weather and the horses and the beauty is that they do make me stand and stare. In a rushing world, that’s not such a very bad thing.


Today’s pictures:

A lot of lovely icy shots, to make up for the paltry words:

16 Jan 1

16 Jan 2

16 Jan 2-001

16 Jan 2-002

16 Jan 3

View over the paddock, looking north-east, with the old gate in the foreground:

16 Jan 4

View looking due south:

16 Jan 5


16 Jan 6

South again:

16 Jan 6-001


16 Jan 8

This is another south-eastern view. You can see it is completely out of focus. But I kept it because I rather love the effect, like a painting:

16 Jan 9


16 Jan 9-001

I love the glittering ice illuminating the lichen on those trees.

Myfanwy the Pony always looks like an enchanted animal in the very cold weather. It makes her coat get all fluffed up and she is soft as a teddy bear:

16 Jan 10

16 Jan 11

Autumn the Filly with her aw shucks face on. She has no time for posing. She is EATING HAY:

16 Jan 12

The glorious eye of Red the Mare. Sometimes I think I see all the wisdom of the world in that eye. Which is of course appallingly fanciful. Really, she is just thinking – FOOD:

16 Jan 13

Lit up by the sun:

16 Jan 14

A very blue hill:

16 Jan 25


  1. My mother was very taken with the poem Leisure by W H Davies (the original Super Tramp), and apt to quote the opening lines in her moments of stillness snatched from a busy day

    What is this life if, full of care,

    We have no time to stand and stare.

    No time to stand beneath the boughs

    And stare as long as sheep or cows.

    No time to see, when woods we pass,

    Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

    No time to see, in broad daylight,

    Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

    No time to turn at Beauty's glance,

    And watch her feet, how they can dance.

    No time to wait till her mouth can

    Enrich that smile her eyes began.

    A poor life this if, full of care,

    We have no time to stand and stare.

  2. I'll be the first one to (very politely) ask. Who is Larry, when he's at home? And why has he been dubbed the official representative of happiness?

    1. See the following for a suggested derivation of the phrase


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