Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Almost not a blog

Glorious sunny morning with the horses. Out for a pick of the spring grass and then a rolling, loping canter of ease and lightness, and a little jump, just because we can. The red mare is in her happiest, sweetest mood, carrying the profound Zen calm with her that spreads like starlight. I see the very first of the daffodils and start to believe in spring.

HorseBack work, and 1261 words of secret project. I am cracking on.

After all that activity, there is the usual brain flip as my cerebral cortex switches itself off, so I have nothing left for the blog. I do sometimes think that my brain could work a little harder, and be more resilient. But, if I know one thing as I get older, it is that one must graciously accept one’s limitations. (It is a good thing that I have developed some acceptance of this, as my limitations are legion.)


Just time for three pictures today, of two happy girls, and one happy boy:

19 March 1

19 March 2

Not the best photograph I ever took of Stanley the Manly, but it does express the vivid joy he finds in sunshine and a damn big stick:

19 March 3


It turns out that I do have something to say, after all. Just as I was about to publish this, a knock came at the door. It was the very wonderful old gentleman who kindly cuts my lawn for me. This is the usual time, at the beginning of the growing season, when he returns with his mower and his jokes and his great stories of his farming days in Stonehaven.

I throw open the door and exclaim with delight and give him a kiss. Suddenly, I see something is wrong. He is pale and diminished, all that mighty farming strength gone out of him.

He says, quite simply: ‘My working days are over.’

It is a sentence of indescribable melancholy.

He has been in hospital for weeks and his body is not working properly. We talk for a while, the doleful story unfolding in all its horrid inevitability. He is of venerable age and this is what happens, but it is sorrowful and unexpected all the same. He is one of those ones who gives the impression he is carved of oak, and shall never change. Now the oak is felled.

I talk a lot about not taking things for granted. All the same, I do. I suppose one cannot be conscious of every single piece of good fortune every single moment of every single day. Health, and a good body which does as one wants it to: these are blessings of the highest order. I can leap on my mare without thinking about it. My physical self creaks a little, and does not have the stamina it once did, but it allows me this daily joy, without let or hindrance. My old gentleman does not have that liberty any more. His physical self has turned into a prison. I see the worry and regret etched in his face, and feel both sad, and lucky, at the same time.

When one loses someone, or reads of others’ loss, the instinct is to hug one’s remaining beloveds close. Now I think, furiously, passionately: give thanks for the simple, vital fact of health.


  1. I had a similar thing happen to me recently with a man who does some annual work for us. When he called me back to tell me that he had a terminal illness I felt such sadness for him and his family. He was a big, strong, physical man who always spoke of his wife with a smile in his voice. I hope your lovely gentleman has much love around him. :)

    And I must tell you that even though we're still enjoying a late summer here, for the last few years it's only when you put spring pictures up of your beautiful corner of the world that I actually start to accept that winter is coming. You're like a long distance weather forecaster!

  2. I had a similar experience with my window cleaner of many years. He fell off his ladder on another job and I didn't see him for months and when one day he came to my door unexpectedly, I was so shocked at his appearance I fear it must have shown on my face before I gave him a hug.

  3. Must be the day for it. Just heard a good friend of my mother's (and truly one of nature's gentlemen) has had melanomas metastasise to his spine. He's on morphine now. Rather in shock because he was always so vibrant and cheeky. Mortality is rather on my mind.


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