Sunday, 1 December 2013


I have done something amazingly stupid and wrong. I have caused upset to people close to me. It was not anything said, but things done, or rather not done. (The story is too boring to relate.)

It is the most beautiful still, clear Scottish day. There is glorious racing coming up from Fairyhouse. I had a ride on the red mare this morning such as dreams are made on, cantering about on the springing grass as if we had no care in the wide world. Her ears were pricked and her stride was easy and all was harmony and joy.

She even developed her own small fan club as we stopped to talk to a family out for a Sunday walk. ‘Hello,’ said a very charming small girl. ‘I am five and this is my cute little brother. He is three.’

The cute little brother stared at me for a moment, contemplating. He suddenly pointed. ‘That’s a horse,’ he said. I think he thought I might not have noticed.

They duly admired Herself, which of course makes every inch of my spirit sing and dance. She stood kindly, immaculately still, and let herself be admired, taking it as her due. I told them she was a very special kind of horse, a thoroughbred. I heroically restrained myself from telling them that her grandfather won the Triple Crown. I did not tell them the story of the day he won the Leger in a canter, with Lester cheekily easing up at the line. (I’m afraid I rather admired myself, for such titanic self-restraint.)

So it could not have been lovelier. But the moment I got off my good doctor, the one who cures all ills when I am on her dear back, the mortification returned. I feel it now, pulling at my body, sitting in my stomach like a squatting toad. It presses furiously on my head. I shall write a grovelling letter of apology, but still, the thing was done, through my own thoughtlessness and carelessness. I know I’m always banging on about people being human, and how one should make allowances for the flaws and frailties of mere mortals. But still, I am mired in shame, lashing myself with angst. I have been stupid stupid stupid.

It is not the worst thing in the world. Nobody died. The headlines of the papers today are all about the fatal helicopter crash in Glasgow. That is perspective of the most brutal kind. My own puny problems are barely visible to the naked eye by comparison. I must stiffen my sinews and kick on and not give way to self-indulgence. Lashing oneself is a sort of self-indulgence. The grown-up thing to do is to acknowledge mistakes, put right what can be put right, take responsibility, and learn from the error, not fall into a swooning pit of mortification, which comforts no-one and achieves nothing. But still, I wish, as hard as I wish for anything, that I were not quite such an idiot.


No pictures today. My angst seems to have paralysed my shutter finger. Just this wonderful sight, from a few days ago, the only thing at the moment which can soothe me at all. It’s not that she is particularly beautiful in this shot. She’s all hairy and a bit muddy and, whisper it, slightly portly. (I am putting condition on her for the winter to come.) It’s that she is so much a horse, at home with herself and at home with the world. Every inch of her great body speaks of authenticity and calm.

1 Dec 1


  1. I do hope it was the stupidity variety of which one can say, later, "Remember when you ......? Now, that was stupid!", and both smile, or laugh, or both.
    The photo of red is classic, nevermind your apology about mud, hair and port.

  2. Egads, woman - we're all stupid sometimes! Your loved ones will forgive you, I have no doubt, since you are not generally a wanker. As for mud, messy hair, and portliness... if people avoided taking photos due to those, I'd never be in any pictures! *wink*

  3. Red -- it's just "winter weight"! I see it in (on?) the cats who seemed painfully thin this spring. And moi?!? I never lost my "winter weight" from LAST winter, added some "summer weight" to boot and am now almost waddling into MORE "winter weight" gain time again. Portly doesn't even begin to cover it.....(and we just had pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving....sigh...).

  4. I'm not going to do that "I'm sure your stupid thing wasn't really stupid" style of comforting, but I do want to say one thing if I can. We all make mistakes, and sometimes we really hurt people. Sometimes we have to live with the consequences of those actions for years to come, and sometimes we don't - but generally if you try and make amends with sincerity and breathless apology (and yes, maybe a little bit of grovelling) then people will always surprise you with their fortitude and forgiveness and their ability to brush it off and just move the hell on (and their ability to use far too many "ands" in a sentence!). Do try to let yourself breathe - acknowledging your failure is more than many manage, and you should be proud of yourself for being willing to admit to getting something wrong!

  5. It's a good thing to admit you were wrong; I am trying to teach my children to have this instinct (can an instinct be taught? maybe that's where I am going wrong?!). I do this a lot - I think too much and in all that thinking I forget other important stuff that matters to others. It's the downside of being a thinker. I hope the 'toad' feeling has passed now, and matters have been amended. Lou x


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