Last night, for no reason at all, I missed my father so much it felt as if someone had kicked me in the chest. The old gentleman is close by me every day, as I watch the racing and put on my idiotic accumulators, just as he taught me. Most of the time, I fold him into my heart and keep him there and think of him with smiles rather than tears. And then, out of a clear blue sky, came the sense of rupture and loss, all over again.
Today, I returned to cheerfulness and stoicism. It’s quite hard not to when you spend the morning with two men who have been blown up by improvised explosive devices and make jokes about it.
It was not a magical day. It was a muddling through day. The wind came in bitter and severe from the north, and a hard sleetish rain fell in squalls. My duchess was quite put out and gave in to uncharacteristic grumpiness. She was not the magical creature who lifts my heart to a higher plane today; she was a cross, muddy horse, wanting her hay. It was quite nice to be reminded that she has her moments of ordinariness. Otherwise she is very real danger of becoming too perfect, galloping into a mythical realm where puny mortals cannot follow.
I made a stew which was all right, but not delicious. I did some work which was perfectly fine, but not stellar. I had a couple of bets which went nowhere, although the lovely Wonderful Charm did do the business in the novice chase. I felt a bit cold and scratchy and hunched in the shoulders.
It was, in other words, an ordinary day. It was the very stuff of which human life is made. It can’t be all love and trees. Sometimes it is mud and weather. And that is quite perfectly fine.
Too dreich for the camera today, and Herself was far too ornery to put her photograph face on, so I remind myself of the moments of glory with this, taken by The Remarkable Trainer. That’s the happy face of my ex-racing, ex-polo mare, stretching out her dear neck, entirely at ease in her great thoroughbred body, in sunnier times. There are two things I do when I feel a bit gloomy. One is to watch re-runs of Kauto Star winning his fifth King George. One is to look at this glorious creature, and think how far we have come together. It’s not doing dressage or competing at Hickstead. It has required very little technical skill, only love and time. But that, right there, is all blue ribands to me.