Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The bells ring; or, in which I refuse to be a cynic.

The day escaped me. There was a lot of loveliness and a lot of rushing about. My beautiful mare had her back done by a brilliant woman. Red was at her sweetest, kindest and best, and it makes my heart sing that now she shall be free from tension and muscle strain.

I have no time for writing now, hardly time for thought. I am still finishing my day’s work and trying to write this blog at the same time. But I did have one thought. It is: I am singingly glad that the bells rang out, and there was a forty-one gun salute, and that the band of the Scots Guards played Congratulations for the royal baby.

I was oddly touched by a picture of happy people waiting outside a London hospital door, sheltering under practical British umbrellas, holding out banners of celebration. The sneerers will sneer, and the mockers will mock, but I think they reveal themselves as nothing more than snobs. They think they are being frightfully clever and egalitarian, wheeling out their republican complaints and their buckets of cold water. What they are really saying is – you, you idiot crowds, you sheep-like rejoicers, are less discerning, less clever, more easily gulled than we are. We, we sophisticates and intellects, see through the flim-flam, the absurdity, the paper-thin circus, to what really matters. You are just being fooled by bread and circuses.

I’m with the Ordinary Decent Britons on this one. I think it is enchanting to have a day of national delight. I’m all for collective celebration. A young prince is born; let the trumpets ring.

Of course it is an oddity to be born a princeling; of course it makes little rational sense. But it is stitched into the national tapestry; it has echoes of Shakespeare in it. It is a happy, gaudy, historical absurdity, and it brings joy in its wake, and I never, ever look the gift horse of joy in the mouth.

If you dissect anything too much, you can reduce it to flimsy. Cricket is nothing more than five long days with a bat and a ball, with rules no one can understand, with commentators saying ‘my dear old thing’, with silly mid-ons and leg before wicket. Yet it brings the same wild uprush of happiness.

A new life has arrived, and if he gets forty-one guns blasting off in Hyde Park instead of a bunch of petrol station carnations, I say hurrah for that. Sometimes I think being a cynic is a cop-out; it’s a defensive crouch, a cheap shot, a drawing back. Expressing uncomplicated enthusiasm is more of an emotional challenge, because it lays you open to mockery; balloons exist to be burst.

The bells are ringing now, as I write this last sentence. I smile as I hear them. Let them ring.


No energy left for proper pictures now. Just a very small selection:

This HorseBack mare is called Red. I love her. She worked her magic on a visitor this afternoon:

23 July 1 23-07-2013 14-16-11

Stanley the very Manly has a sodding big stick:

23 July 2 23-07-2013 15-46-43

And he’s off to find another one, EVEN BIGGER:

23 July 3 23-07-2013 15-48-02

The HorseBack foal:

23 July 4 22-07-2013 15-12-09

A delphinium:

23 July 5 22-07-2013 18-04-00

My own ridiculously beloved Red, never afraid to look goofy, even with her own excessively posh bloodlines:

23 July 6 20-07-2013 10-18-48

23 July 7 20-07-2013 10-20-45

If she were a human, she would be a princess, and I let off metaphorical 41 gun salutes for her in my head every day.


  1. Just lovely.. word and pictures. Hurrah from all the way over here for the new baby. I'm thoroughly enjoying dropping my old cynical ways as I finally start to grow up. :)

  2. Your pictures are beautiful, and your words well-spoken. However I don't feel I'm being cynical when I believe that not a single one of us should be elevated to an imaginary state of being.

    I apologize in advance for bringing an un-positive thought to the table.


  3. I hope the royal family knows how much they are loved in America.

  4. Perfectly put Tania....my feelings are that if you can't be happy with the sheer joy of a new baby, then what's wrong with you?! No, I wouldn't go & wait outside the hospital but I was thrilled to see the young couple leaving the hospital with their new baby....and there is something so delightfully British at people queueing for days & celebrating these events....and I love that.
    It does make me feel proud - and there's nothing clever about being cynical.

    It's also lovely to see Prince William so happy, there was something very touching about that for me.

    Your description of cricket made me laugh out loud, perfect!!

    And your photos are beautiful as always :)

  5. A young couple, so in love and they have a lovely baby! Bloody good stuff I say!

  6. I am ever a sucker for babies, be they human or equine (or feline or...or...or...).

  7. Delighted to have discovered your blog. Give Red a kiss from me.

  8. I'm not a Royal follower - there are no plates with former monarchs on my kitchen walls, etc. - however I really do like Kate and Will, and I'm glad they had their baby safe and sound. I hope they raise him to be kind and as down to earth and generous as they both seem to be.


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