Wednesday, 20 November 2013


Today, I am struggling with words. I never struggle with words. Words are the air I breathe and the water I swim in. They are my dear old familiars; they jog alongside me like faithful hounds. They are my people.

Some humans, apparently, see the world in pictures. I see it in sentences. Even when I am at my least cerebral and most instinctive, which is when I am working the red mare, I still distil what we are doing into paragraphs. If there is nobody there to here, I sometimes speak these out loud. (Luckily, Red loves the sound of my voice. She finds it soothing. Sometimes, it even sends her to sleep. I do not take this personally.)

But today, the words are like crazy sheep, and I’m the person on One Man and His Dog with the canine that goes rogue. No matter how much I yell ‘come by’, I cannot get the fuckers into the pen.

The wrangling is so hopeless that it has taken me two hours to write four simple paragraphs for a vital piece of work, and I’m still convinced they are no good. I’ve gone word blind. I stare at the things on the screen, and I have no way of telling if they are in the right order.

It is very disconcerting. It’s like suddenly forgetting how to ride. Or how to walk.

Too much emotion lately perhaps. Perhaps my bruised spirit is saying: stop. Perhaps the words will come back to me tomorrow, and I shall be able to see them again.

In the meantime, there is just the enduring reality of this dear face:

20 Nov 1

This morning, despite gales and rain, she worked so serenely and well that I wanted to give her flowers. She is going into a whole new dimension: the most gracious and duchessy of all the grand duchesses. If I were only very slightly more flaky than I actually am, I would go and look her up in Debrett’s.


  1. TAKE A BREAK..................NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    At least that's how I interpret a verbal breakdown. The language isn't lost; it has merely taken a wee vacation....(and will return, refreshed).

  2. Grief and sustained hard work. Could you have a day off tomorrow? Your words bring much joy but we can cope with some pictures of the beautiful Scottish hills: the best thing about the Scottish hills, after their age, is that they look good in all weathers, the bleaker the better.

    If I were even slightly flakier than I am (and I am verging on this) I would tell you all about my newly learned riding. Proper look ma no hands, learning to guide with my weight.... It is like a beacon every Friday in a dark week of commutes and work. And everyone glazes over slightly when I enthuse about the wonder of connecting to the horse. Whoops, complete flake. Sorry!

    Also, not to come over all Our Vicar's Wife too, which would be too much for one comment, because I couldn't be further really, we sang about the sustaining power of hills on Sunday though I can't now find the words, and it was comforting to think that even man made cathedrals acknowledge their debt to the natural ones.

  3. Ah words, they do a runner just when we think we've got them nailed. But yours, here at least, are their usual elegant self. (You even swear elegantly, and make me giggle besides). Could we start a petition for putting Red in Debrett's perhaps? Rachel

  4. If I were only very slightly more flaky than I actually am... it would be the men in white coats at the door! Here's to all the excellently flaky folks everywhere.


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