Ha. After spending all week telling my students about how they may drive off the dark, destructive critical voices, defy The Fear, and believe in their own true selves, I spent all last night tossing and turning, convinced that every single word I wrote here about writing was utter buggery bollocks. The irony elves were busy in the small hours, the little tinkers.
It’s probably because bone-tiredness has set in. I have used up all my energy, so today I am going to sit very still, with a bottle of iron tonic and Test Match Special on at full volume. The voice of Blowers will restore me to sanity and calm.
The dear mare gave me a restorative morning too. Even though the sun started to beat hard from the moment I woke, the set-aside was still cool and shady. We have new neighbours; the sheep have been moved into the high east field, and are wandering and calling as they get used to their new home. I had a long, soothing chat with the farmer this morning. One of his girls was in distress on Wednesday, and I got a message to him so that he could come and get her, and before breakfast he roared up in his dark blue Landrover to thank me. ‘Is she all right, your ewe?’ I asked, concerned. I am very fond of these sheep. The good news is that it was a vitamin B thing, and she will be fine. I love talking to the farmer. I love people who do good things on the land, people who know livestock and weather patterns and are rooted in the earth.
After that lovely beginning, I went down to Red, who is finding the savage sun all a bit too much. She has a heat rash, so I cooled her off with buckets of water, and a little witch hazel, and spent fifteen minutes soothing her poor coat. She does a very touching thing when I do things like this for her. Whether I am anointing a scratch with wound cream, or applying citronella for the flies, or giving her this water treatment, she seems to know that I am doing something for her. She submits with a sort of gentle gratitude, standing very still, offering me her head, looking at me with soft eyes. I am almost certainly making this up in my addled brain, and she is not thinking anything at all. She is a horse, after all. But it does often feel as if she understands that I am here to help.
Then I let her out into the wide set-aside for a pick at the lush grass. I used to take her out on a rope, but now I let her wander freely. She is not going anywhere, and comes at once when I whistle. It was an enchanted thing, watching her find her way through the shady trees, searching out the most delicious patch of grass. She was her most peaceful, equine self, at one with her surroundings; just a horse, at home in a green world.
Neither of us is going to do any work today. We are going to have a lovely Friday holiday. We are just going to be.
The farmer, on the right, coming to have a morning chat:
Red’s blissful morning:
Look at that happy face:
Do you want me to come now?
It has been brought to my attention that there are Dear Readers who have broadband that is less than whizzy, and find the blog slow to download, on account of the pictures. I love putting up lots of photographs, so you can see the full Scottish beauty. On the other hand, I imagine it must drive you mad, waiting waiting waiting, for the damn thing to appear on your screen. I’m not quite sure how to resolve this. Too tired to work it out today, but those of you who are seasoned bloggers might have ideas.
In the meantime, have a lovely, sunny Friday. And if you are cricket fans, fingers crossed. Australia about to bat.