The day, which started off on a blast with good HorseBack work and 1378 words of book, went into a spiral at about 3.30pm as my computer began to exhibit signs of catastrophic failure.
You all know this. You have all had the BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH. I jabbed pointlessly with my finger, booted and rebooted, prayed to the non-existent technology gods, grew tearful, shouted at myself for being such an idiot for not heeding the warning signs earlier, and reflected bitterly on my absolute dependence on this machine. All my work is in here; all my pictures, music, communications. I have, for once in my life, backed up the most important files, but even then, if the thing were to go phut, which it was threatening to do, I am left with nothing but a useless black box and I live forty miles from the nearest computer shop, and that is the eighth circle of hell that is PC World. I would almost rather pull out my own fingernails than go there.
As I was wrestling and swearing and weeping and praying, I thought I might ask the Horse Talker to do evening stables tonight. I would have to stay shackled to my desk and curse the ghastliness of the modern electronic world. Then I thought: bugger it. I managed to shut down the computer. I’ll just give it a little rest, I thought, and go and put on Red’s raincoat, since it had started pelting with rather cold rain. She is a thin-skinned thoroughbred. Unlike native breeds, she needs a little protection.
When I got to the field, she was sheltering under her favourite tree, with her small herd gathered safely around her. The moment she saw me at the top gate, she led them all the way up, in Indian file. I dashed in, tense and furious still from the computer frenzy, flapping the rugs about in a most unhorsewoman-like manner.
My darling old duchess stopped stock still and looked at me seriously as if to say: yes, I suspect it is the moment for the lightweight waterproof. She ducked her head and stood like a statue as I fumbled about with the straps. She sighed a little half-suppressed sigh, as if not wanting to be rude. (We do, after all, put a high premium on manners in this field.)
Autumn the Filly then did the same. My angst fled. I was so overcome with the goodness and sweetness of these two clever equines, who presented themselves politely in the middle of a violent rainstorm, with no need for a halter or a rope, and did not appear to mind how cack-handed I was as I fiddled about in a way calculated to irritate a sensitive flight animal. Myfanwy the Pony, being a hardy mountain breed, does not need rugging, and merely stood to one side, watching the proceedings with a sage eye.
Red blew down her nose and rested her head against me and I stroked her sweet spot and chatted to her for a bit and felt my knotted shoulders come down. Every damn time, she gives me the gift of peace. Then she whickered gently to remind me that it was time for her tea.
When I got back, restored, I turned the shaky contraption back on. There was no BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH, but it was all glitchy and scratchy and mostly unresponsive. Finally, I got some kind of scan to work. It turned out that I had 7099 catastrophic errors. My poor old computer, I thought; all that time I was berating it and cussing it and jabbing it, it was doing its best. I had let it get clogged with junk and nonsense and fragments.
The good old cleaner chugged away, and suddenly, miraculously, it was working again. So I write this with grateful fingers and think that never again shall I let the poor machine get in such a mess. And I reflect, as always, how miraculous it is that even in the midst of a crashing tech fail, that great red mare can still calm my troubled mind.
Almost time for The Archer now, so just two quick pictures, of the little Zen mistresses who hold my sanity in their dear hooves:
(Don’t you love that little Myfanwy face in the background? Whilst the big girls come to the gate at feeding time, she stays staunchly under her favoured tree, until the bowls come out and it is time to line up at the fence. Makes me laugh, every morning, and every evening.)