Friday, 30 August 2013

A little tangent for a Friday afternoon.

A lot of wisdom and kindness from the Dear Readers this week. One of my favourite Twitter gentlemen, a fellow racing fanatic, asked me yesterday how I do a blog every day. (Well, not quite every day, but pretty close.) I replied that I could only thank my weirdly obsessive nature.

I like doing it. It is not for money or fame or the ghastly idea of building the brand, which it seems everyone must do now. It is a marking of the days, a recording of my beloved Small Things, a small existential stamping. Yes, yes; here I was.

And yet, there is an oddness too. I feel a very faint bat’s squeak of obligation. This is nuts, of course, but sometimes I do not fight my nuttier imperatives. This audience has settled into a small and exceptionally select band. I can’t tell you the pleasure it gives me when I see a comment from some of the old faithfuls, who have been with me since the beginning. I also glean particular joy from the international correspondents. You come here, and give me the gift of your time. I feel that in return, I must give you something, as many days as I can. I sometimes feel bizarrely guilty when I go missing in action, even though there is usually the most excellent excuse of life getting in the way.

That really is quite strange. My finger hovers over the delete button. The truth is that today I am tired from a long week and I was not going to write anything, just give you some nice Stanley the Dog pictures. On some days I have a tale to tell; on others, the brain is filled with mud, and I can feel my synapses snapping off, one by recalcitrant one, and there is no story. I am like that today, but I wanted to thank for the kind comments of the week and before I knew it, I was off on this peculiar tangent. (I am fatally addicted to tangents.)

The finger hovers, and then stops. I’ll let it run. I feel a curious liberation in sometimes giving space to my less explicable thoughts. Why not? I write often that I believe people should have the moxie to follow their own goofy star. Perhaps I should put my money where my mouth is and reveal my own profound goofiness. The entire humming theme of Backwards was that the hunt for perfection is a snare and a curse. So in some ways, offering such imperfection feels like putting down a marker. Sometimes I like to tell you the good parts of my day, but I resist the shiny magazine trend for offering gleaming, seamless lives, with all the contradictions and muddliness and small moments of failure airbrushed out. (I think that was why it seemed important to tell you of my shaming crash onto my arse yesterday, and not just confine myself to the glory jumping.)

Shame thrives in secrecy. It lives and feeds in the dark. The moment one admits the flaws, the failings, the idiot notions, the moments of sheer folly, the crashings down to earth (literal and metaphorical, in my case) they lose their power.

And that, my darlings, is my winding and tangential Thought for the Day.

If you can call it a thought.


Today’s pictures:

Are a selection from the week.

We haven’t had any garden pictures for a while:

30 Aug 1

30 Aug 2

30 Aug 2-001

30 Aug 3

30 Aug 3-001

30 Aug 4

30 Aug 4-001

30 Aug 6

The lovely colours of some of the HorseBack herd:

30 Aug 21

This splendid gentleman arrived in the feed shed this morning:

30 Aug 20-001

Stanley the Dog:

30 Aug 7

Can you hurry up with the tea?:

30 Aug 10

Thanks, it was delicious:

30 Aug 12

King of the Absolutely Enormous Stick:

30 Aug 12-001

The very dear Myfanwy the Pony:

30 Aug 14

Excellent yoga stretches:

30 Aug 19

Can’t resist one more of me and my darling duchess:

30 Aug 23

The hill:

30 Aug 20


  1. What, you fell yesterday, and I missed it.

    Well, so much for confessing to a less than seamless life.

    Please stay young and lovely and busy and I'm quite satisfied. And keep the camera handy, too.

  2. Love your thought for the day. Really, really is wisdom (that we all might know, but conveniently forget when it counts).

    On another topic, saw a memorable cartoon about Red's ancestor, Nijinsky, today. Apparently, it was done back in N's day, by the wonderful PEB (Pierre Belloq). If you'd like to see it, it was posted on Twitter by racing journo Ray Paulick, (@raypaulick) who ran across it while doing research at the Keeneland Library.


  3. More and more, I'm trying to give myself permission to follow my own winding thoughts and see what blogposts they might lead to. A recent reader here, I appreciate the inspiration and encouragement to do that. Thank you. I do find that so many of the blogs I like(d) have become branding-conscious, and there's an honesty and unpredictability and idiosyncrasy that I really miss.
    You have all of these -- and you write so well! -- that despite my lack of investment in things equestrian, I will keep stopping by.

  4. I have been following your blog with interest since the beginning of the year. I found your little piece of the web when I was rooting around for fashion blogs written with a more mature perspective-the absurdity of your title was something to which I could relate!- but return because you provide inspiration. My now 21 year old daughter has been "pony crazed" since she was about 7. We had settled into a resort north of the big city for the weekend, and a guest directory had pictures of smiley-faced cityots riding through beautiful trails on the property. She begged for ride on a horse and i gamely booked us in for the following afternoon. I had been to dude-ranches in my youth; broken down push-button horses numb to the amateur hands that overworked their reins bound to follow the tail in front of them. Sigh...the ride didn't turn out to be quite the mother/daughter bonding experience I half heartedly envisioned. I mounted the trusty steed provided to me, took one look at my daughter on hers, and felt my legs go numb. Our trail leader asked us to follow him and though my horse began to follow he must have sensed an unwilling rider on his back for he made an abrupt about face and returned to the hitching post. My daughter went off embarassed at her silly mother but excited to try something new. Fast forward to today- she has, like on that fateful day, never looked back. Lessons, summer camps, horse shows, leasing horses, equestrian boarding school, managing a stable...and for two years now, she is the proud owner of a beautiful thoroughbred mare. Never once have I sat atop a horse. The closest I had come to interacting with the lovely girl who is now on my payroll, was holding her lead line while my daughter retrieved something or other she'd forgotten. Until your blog. Somehow you've provided the inspiration and perhaps a bit of the courage I sorely needed to find out why horses are magic and avail myself of the lovely mare that waits patiently for my daughter's frequent trips home from university. Please keep telling your stories...


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