There are so many matters to report and so little time. I wanted to do a whole thing on grammar, since there was a discussion on it as I listened to the Today programme this morning. They were trying to get up a little controversy – the old argument of Does Any of it Really Matter? The language is a living thing, la di dah; it was all different in the time of Shakespeare. Etc, etc, etc.
I love grammar. I mind about it. I love to play with language, but I need to know the rules are the rules, before I can throw them up in the air and make free with them.
In fact, I don’t need to write a dissertation. I think grammar matters because of two things: clarity and elegance. And that is all there is to that.
I went up to HorseBack for my work there. The two men who arrived on Monday, rather hunched and uncertain, are now standing tall, doing all manner of things with their horses, making jokes, even teasing. I don’t still quite know how this transformation happens, but it does, and it is a quite breath-taking thing to watch in action.
The real good professional photographer who sometimes does work for them was there. I felt very shuffly and humble. I take their daily pictures now, and my amateurish efforts are so shabby compared to her diamond brilliance. I muttered some of this to her. She was amazingly kind and generous. I think that people who are really good at what they do can be like that. They don’t need to be judgemental or proprietorial or mean-spirited, because they are comfortable in their own talent.
I rode the mare out, into novel territory, with nothing more than a rope halter and my native wits. The remarkable trainer was up on the lovely American Paint filly, and together we broke new ground and felt the wild sense of achievement that brings. It was only a tiny ride, but I have gone back to basics with my dear girl, almost as if I were backing her for the first time, to build ease and confidence for us both. So even though we never moved out of an amble, it felt like flying. Soon, we will be cantering over the mountains, but because we’ve gone back to baby steps, there will be no trepidation.
I walked down to see her in the evening sun last night, with Mr Stanley the Dog, and stood in the amber quiet before the dusk fell, and felt her head on my shoulder and told her stories.
She listens always, very politely, to my stories, blowing gently through her sweet nose. She is one of the nicest people I ever met. She is the love of my life and that’s all there is to it. That feeling never diminishes or fails to astound or gladden me. It’s not what I expected would happen to me now. None of this is. But it feels like some random existential force just woke up one morning, stretched itself, and decided to send me a bloody great present.
The happy HorseBack herd:
The wonderful Mikey, one of my fast favourites:
The real photographer – the great Fay Vincent (available for weddings, parties and any brilliance you want) – with Archie, ready for his close-up:
Someone else who is very good at what she does:
That’s the smiling face which tells the story:
Off for the first ride down to the river:
Stanley the Dog, who has been getting a lot of love and admiration from the Dear Readers lately, to my intense delight:
My lovely red girl:
Chilling out with her sweet American friend after their first ride together:
And on Tuesday, in the bright sun, which has buggered off again:
Myfanwy the Pony, who seems to get prettier by the day:
Very out of focus hill. But since this is a place for imperfection, I thought you would not mind: