Monday, 17 February 2014

An ordinary Monday.


A cool, still morning. I ride the mare. She is a little edgy and unsettled. The Horse Talker and I wonder if the foxes or deer have been doing unspeakable things in the woods at night and keeping her awake. (Seriously, this is the kind of thing you have to take into account with horses. Just like humans, they can become scratchy if sleep-deprived.) But even though she is a bit twitchy, she still gives me a flowing canter on a loose rein.

HorseBack. First time up there with Awesome back and her filly not. There is a palpable space in the field. I remember this from when little Myfanwy died. You can’t believe such a small person can leave such a big gap. The dear dam is rather shut down, as if someone has thrown a veil over her. For a moment, I think: is that really Awesome? She looks different: darker, diminished. I stand with her for a while and she rests her head against my shoulder.

Back at my desk, I write 1699 words, which is a lot. Inspired by my friend The Producer, I make a chicken soup. I forget the pearl barley and it scorches, rather. The soup has an interesting, nutty taste as a result. I sit with failure. Chicken soup is one of the things I am really, really good at and I buggered it up.

I think about failure quite a lot, big and small. I think learning to fail is a life skill which should be studied. Succeeding is easy. Failure is hard. Red had a little spook this morning, which she has not done for weeks. She spun round fast and I almost went flying out the side door. Even though you can’t completely bomb-proof a horse, I have been desensitising for months just to avoid this kind of event, and for a moment I felt the black bird of shame hovering. Then I thought, sod it, she’s a horse. I did not fall off. She did not gallop away. She just got a little fright. So we went into the scary woods. It was like a test, mostly of myself. There was a bit of snorting, but we trotted kindly up the sharp hill into the dark places, and then rode back on the buckle. All was not lost. Quite a lot, in fact, was found.

The Dear Readers have said some very nice things lately. I always find this both touching and slightly surprising. It never gets old. Sometimes I feel a bit bogus, because even though I admit to fears and frailties, life always sounds better when it is written in sentences. The reality scruffier and muddlier and more fraught than you see here. But there is a lot of love in it, and today I think: that’s all that damn well counts.


Rather dim and dreary today, so no pictures. Here are two from Friday, when the sun shone.

My favourite Minnie the Moocher. She comes to say hello, with head down, donkey ears, and delicate toe:

17 Feb 1

And later, eating her hay, with her questing face on:

17 Feb 2


  1. I'm always interested in the way you describe your horse's expressions and demeanor. I don't know horses, so to me they are just...being a horse... but with your perceptive eye and loving humor, you have much to teach. Thank you for that. Feeling closer to the animals of this world enriches us so.

  2. My favourite quote about failure is probably Samuel Beckett.

    'Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.'

    Keeps me going anyway.

  3. I suspect I am not alone among your Dear Readers to know that reality gets too scruffy and muddy for even the finest prose writer - we're just so grateful for someone who can make it sound beautiful too. With makemeadiva on the Beckett quote. Not sure what the alternative could possibly be, Rachel


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