Oh, my darlings, what a blog I had for you today. Despite having insomnia last night, and still feeling extremely ropey from my low level viral load, I had a very lovely day. The Beloved Cousin rang (always a moment of sheer joy and antic pleasure); the sun shone like gangbusters; the Younger Niece was about the place; The Sister was being funny; there were charming visitors to see the horses; the mare did something astonishing.
I was tired and a little weak still, but I was going to write it all for you and you would have something delightful over which to ponder as you took your first Gin and It of the evening.
Then, I realised I was missing my wallet. That was two hours ago. For two hours, all else fell by the wayside, as I went round every room in the house, feeling under sofa cushions, peering under chairs, sticking my fingers down the back of radiators.
Of course I did the sensible thing of retracing my steps. ‘Where did you have it last?’ is always the question. But I am vague with virus and could not quite remember. I thought I had seen it on the seat of the car. Then again, I wondered if I had stuffed it in my jacket pocket this morning.
So all possible steps had to be retraced. Round the compound I roared; up to the Mother’s house, into the Sister’s drive, down to the paddock, into the feed shed. The mares looked astonished to see me in the gloaming, although Red gave a very touching whinny of surprised pleasure.
Then I had to search the car from top to bottom. I did this three times, because I have a fatal habit of looking for things in a place, not seeing them, then going back and finding they were there after all. This did no good for my peace of mind, because I had to rummage through the muddy boots, old dandy brushes, bags of horse food, and random bundles of binder twine that my motor has now become home to. It is also filled with earth and random sticks and chewed balls, thanks to the glorious Mr Stanley. It is not a very fine reflection of my current self.
I then drove to the Co-op, just in case I had left it there. The young gentleman, seeing my wild eyes and rabid stare, gave me a kind but pitying look, consulted his special folder and shook his head.
Then I started thinking that perhaps someone had taken it. I feel so safe here and love my community so much that I leave the car about the place unlocked. (If any police operatives are reading, you can stop sucking your teeth and shaking your head in horror; I have learnt my lesson now.) The vision of it on the car seat was growing more and more vivid; what if someone passing had just opened the door and pinched the wallet, fat with readies? I had a faint sense of violation, to go along with the arrant folly of the thing.
Finally, in desperation, I checked the fridge. The last time this happened, this was where the item was run to earth. But there was only some nice tuna for my supper and the remains of last night’s silverside and three bottles of iron tonic, mocking me.
I stared hopelessly at the telephone. I was going to have to ring the bank. I was going to have to have The Conversation, the one where I talk very fast and use all my most pleading charm and make jokes, to try and cover up the stark fact of what an absolute eejit I am.
I could not face the call. I’ll just have one more look in the car, I thought. Stanley and I went out into the falling dusk. I suddenly remembered that I had taken some pictures of him this morning, in the wild bit of the garden. Retrace your steps, shouted the stern voices in my head.
Back past the tiny box plants and the flowering viburnum I went, past the Japanese cherry I planted for my dad, and the little apple tree under which the Duchess lies.
And there, in the last of the light, it lay, like a joke or a promise. There it was, still filled with cash, very slightly damp from the falling dew, sitting quietly under the shadows of the Scots Pines.
And that, my dear Dear Readers, is why I cannot tell you about my day.
Just enough energy to give some pictures of the Best Beloveds, because there must always be those, no matter the circumstances:
When I rang The Mother, to tell her I had retrieved the item, because I knew she would be worrying, I explained to her about the Stanley pictures and how the memory of them was what guided my steps.
There was a pause. A note of gleaming pride slid into her voice.
‘So,’ she said. ‘In fact, Stanley found it.’
‘YES HE DID,’ I shouted.
That dog is an absolute marvel.