As the afternoon lengthened and ran away from me, I had a choice. I could stop and write a good blog, or I could do something nice for a young fellow who is devoting every moment of his spare time to helping other people.
The something nice turned out to be knotty and time-consuming, mostly because of some internet glitches and my own lack of organisation. It involved photographs, and going through the archives, and because I rarely prune, the archives are like vast, rambling basements of some mythical British Photographic Society, winding through the subterranean spaces of an endless city.
Actually, in the end, the choice was no choice. The good young fellow won. So now it is almost time for The Archers and I have my usual brain stop.
The funny thing was that the universe generously rewarded me for listening to my better angels. (I did almost send a procrastinating email.) In amidst the long day’s work and the wrangling with the unwieldy mass of pictures and the dashing to the field to see to the little herd, I took a couple of moments to watch a couple of races.
My darling old favourite The Ducking Stool, a chestnut mare with a white face, not a million miles from Red in looks, beat off all comers to win at Yarmouth. I’d backed her at 10-1 from sheer sentiment, and she should not have won on the book, but her good heart and her love of the seaside carried her home. Even better, it was one for the girls, as she is trained by Julia Feilden and was ridden by a 19-year-old apprentice called Shelley Birkett, who beat off several older, race-hardened men in a strong finish. (The sisterhood in me loves this kind of thing, especially in an industry where the colts and the gentlemen still often hold sway.)
Then, another pair of my favourites, Wicklow Brave with the brilliant amateur Patrick Mullins on board, put their very noses in front in a thrilling, storming dash to the line and triumphed in a close photograph. I am so vague that often I forget I have done bets in the morning, and put them on again in the afternoon. It turned out I had goofily backed Wicklow Brave FIVE TIMES, and also had him in three delightful trebles. So I can now pay for the winter supply of hay which we must get in for our own dear girls.
It felt like a little reward for not giving up on the knotty problem and finally managing to send the good young fellow what I had promised.
But it means that there is nothing left now for you, except this rambling and quite possibly miss-spelt little story. (I always make howlers when I am tired.) Still, the Dear Readers have been extra dear lately, and I know you will understand.
As for photographs, I have nothing for you, but this most beloved, most blinky, most beautiful face: