After all that, it was rather a lovely Sunday.
There was walking, with dogs and children, in suddenly clement weather. There was a great deal of cooking. (I made the special little risotto cakes coated with polenta and fried in olive oil, which go down very well with the small people.) I did my HorseBack work, which soothed my frayed nerves.
I missed my mare so badly in the late morning it was like a blow at my heart. It is idiotic to miss a horse, really. At one point I thought: I don’t know how horse people ever go on holiday, ever.
Meanwhile, she herself is lounging about in her field, immaculately looked after by The Horse Talker, supplied with the highest quality Scottish hay that money can buy, probably hardly even knowing I am not there.
But I miss her lovely scent, I miss her dear face, I miss the heavy still feeling I get when she rests her head on my shoulder and goes to sleep. I miss working with her and being amazed when she does something brilliantly clever. I miss leaning over the fence and discussing with the HT every jot and tittle and detail of our small herd. (We are absurdly partisan, and very much like revisiting the subject of how perfect they are in every particular: manners, cleverness, funniness, kindness, outrageous beauty.)
The youngest cousins have just heard Five Years by David Bowie for the very first time. A seminal moment obviously for their mother and me, for whom it was the soundtrack of our formative years. They did a little dance and seemed to like it very much.
I am going to make some prawn and noodle soup with coriander and mint and chillies and drink some Guinness in honour of St Patrick (any excuse) and try not to panic at the thought of being away from my desk, with its hilltops of work waiting for me.
A few quick pictures from the archive:
The girlfriends, hanging out, having a bit of a chat:
The sweet face of Red the Mare:
The morning Here You Are faces that I miss:
Mr Stanley is apparently being wonderfully good and sweet, and is having a lovely time with his most excellent dog-sitter, and is visiting The Mother and the dear Stepfather and spreading joy in that house:
Must admit, I do miss that gaze, too:
And the lovely old hill:
But I do get the Smallest Cousin showing me her tremendous dance moves:
And I had the keen pleasure of Cheltenham with the Older Brother:
And the mornings I spent absurdly photographing my racing outfits for the approval of my Facebook posse still make me smile:
Out there in the internets, there are a lot of people asking: what is your favourite Festival moment? Too many to choose, is probably my answer.
The Hurricane flying high again, Sprinter Sacre laughing at them all in the sun, the brave little Bobs Worth sticking his head out all the way to the finish: all go into my Hall of Fame.
But perhaps, if I really had to choose, it was the mighty mare Quevega, who clipped heels round the back, and practically fell on her lovely nose, and still picked herself up, and even when all was lost, and she was ten or twelve lengths off the pace, switched her unstoppable engine into turbo, and roared past the field, storming up the hill into her rightful place in history.
I won’t forget that in a hurry. It’s the mares, again. Never, ever bet against the good heart of a brave mare, and she is one of the bravest I ever saw.