Monday, 3 March 2014

An ordinary Monday.

I went off the blog partly because I was fraught and tired and I needed a small rest. But it was also because I found I was getting a bit needy. This is one of the dangers of the kindness of the internet. If the obliging comments do not come, I feel absurdly sad and deprived. This is a perfectly tragic thing to admit, but frankness is the only thing that obtains here. (Perhaps that is why sometimes I have to take a break; too much truth is sometimes exhausting. It might be less tiring to put on a lovely, shiny, impervioius front for you and do a tap dance, but that is not the point of the thing at all.)

The work is still demanding, and there is never enough time, although I have recalibrated a little. So the blog is going to stay minimal for a while. I am going to train myself not to mind if nobody even notices it is there, let alone writes anything at the bottom. Really, one must learn to be a little more of an island, although I believe that everyone does have a causeway. (Strained metaphor klaxon goes off in the background.)

For some reason, it is important to me that the thing is here, chugging along. I shall not have any deep thoughts or wade into the controversies of the day. It shall be a mere digest of an ordinary life.


Red mare at her sweetest, funniest and most dopey. One glorious canter. Good family breakfast. The daffodil shoots are really motoring now, poking up through the thin turf as if they mean it. The snowdrops are going like gangbusters, and the crocuses look more robust than usual. There is the daily sound of birdsong, and the oystercatchers have come in from the coast for their spring visit. I feel a sense of hope in the air.

882 words of secret project written. No way yet of telling if they are good words or bad words. But at least they are words.

I take a moment to watch a couple of races at Southwell, where the sun is shining. Today is a very lowly day’s racing. Compared to the glorious champions of Cheltenham to come, these are what might be called moderate horses. No crowd of fifty thousand will ever rise to them. They will go into no hall of fame. But they are still lovely in their own right: handsome, willing creatures, galloping along with their ears pricked, doing their best. Some of them put in mighty leaps, sure and soaring. I think of all the pleasure they will give their owners and trainers, and the people who look after them so well.

Everyone is now thinking of the Champion Hurdle and the Gold Cup, but someone today will still get enormous joy out of the Class 5 Novice Handicap Hurdle. I feel there is some sort of profound life lesson in this, but I can’t quite dig it out. I think it is something to do with victories not having to be big, flashy, headline-grabbing ones. They can be small and potent, sweetly private, unwitnessed by whooping crowds. It does not mean they are any the less real.


Today’s pictures:

3 March 1

3 March 2

3 March 3

3 March 4

Critical voice says: that was not a very well-written or inspiring blog. Do it again, says the critical voice, furiously. Ordinary, practical, everyday voice says: oh really, do bugger off. The Dear Readers will understand. A little ordinariness is not ever a bad thing.


  1. Hurray! Blog today! I don't always comment, usually because I can't with my phone and am always worried about Big Brother at work but your words and pictures give me a lovely moment of joy, in the form of good words, dog, hill and horse every day. In the spirit of confession, each time you say you are taking a break I panic and think "what if she doesn't come back"?

  2. I love the honesty, and I think most bloggers would admit the same. It's hard not to feel a little let down when a post doesn't get a response, and I'll admit that comments do brighten my day. It's a connection. I don't always comment - honestly I sometimes just don't take the time - but I do enjoy your writing a lot and your blog remains a favorite. Have a good, happy, and productive week.

  3. I love your blog but I keep having trouble leaving comments. Why do they seem to have made it so hard? Am I doing something wrong? It seems to have turned into an obstacle course with recognising letters and numbers and stuff! All I want to say is I always check in every day, love hearing about Red and all you are thinking and doing. Your writing is brilliant but warm and friendly too. I miss you when you don't post. Please keep it up! X

  4. Ooh, it worked! And not too difficult. Perhaps I was doing something wrong before? Anyway, I shall try and comment more often because I really appreciate the work and effort you put in to a blog so the least I can do is tell you, and metaphorically cheer you on!

  5. It's no fun, as the saying goes, to feel one is just shouting into the wind, with not even an echo in reply, especially if one has tried to be entertaining and amusing in a blog post. Over the three years I have been blogging my posting has gone from almost daily, when I was fresh to it and enthusiastic, to once or twice a week to hardly anything for weeks on end, then I'll have a little surge in interest, and type a few more posts, and then it slumps again. Either I am too busy to blog, or my life is too quiet yet contented (slightly dull for others, that) so I cannot consider blogging about it, one way of the other reality intrudes, and I stop for a while.

    I am not a professional writer so when I devise a post it is an occasional creative outlet just to see if I can assemble a half-way decent sentence. But I don't use it as a confessional or a therapy session, so I guess I don't feel hurt or rejected if I can't find evidence that any other living soul has read it. Is that what you mean by neediness? Not sure.

    It's not that I choose to present an all-singing all-dancing "shiny front", it's ]just that I'd keep that sort of frankness for one-on-one talk with my nearest, dearest friends and family. I don't feel the internet is like talking to one's teddy as a kid. It's not that safe, it's not that kind, and it isn't as loyal. It's just people. All sorts of people. A people are funny objects, they come and they go. The mill about. They disperse. They go back to their own lives. They lose interest. I've seen it in the trending of comments on my blog. It doesn't bother me much. I am the same myself. I often read with your blog with interest and enjoyment, and other blogs I follow, but I rarely comment. I may be atypical, but I doubt it.

    My older sister has at least thirty comments every time she writes anything, and she very politely replies to them all. She also comments a LOT on other blogs. I guess reciprocity is how she has built up such an active following, but that would never suit me. I don't want to put those sorts of hours in, I am afraid! Nor do you, I suspect, Tanya, but thanking your commentators in person might encourage more comments. Just a thought. Just as you like a comment, maybe commentators like a word of thanks in return

  6. A little ordinariness shared is often just the thing to lift a day.
    And it is appreciated. :)

    I think you have a loyal collection of Dear Readers because you do take note of comments and often refer to them in your posts. So… hurrah! Please know that although I may not comment every day you're an important part of my morning and I so enjoy your Red and Stanley and hills and great, beautiful slice of Scotland. xx

  7. Ooh, your flowers are ahead of ours here in Ohio (Great Lakes region). What a lift! thanks for the lovely photographs.
    Sometimes I am in the middle of commenting and I spy a typo, and when I go back to correct it, the comment box freezes. Then generally I will say "screw it!" and go on to the next thing in my day.
    Well, it happened again today, twice! but I stubbornly followed through and finally am about to post...just to say thank you, I greatly enjoy your blog.

  8. Hello there...just wanted to say - I agree that no or few comments is disheartening, especially when you share such inner thoughts. What I do console with myself with is that people read and often don't comment (I sometimes ask them to come out the woodwork and they do, saying they've been following for years but have never said hello!). Also if I read on an ipad - commenting is just too tricky and fraught with typos - and there is the spam checker etc so I have many times abandoned commenting even though I have been there with you in spirit. I am always always there with you, reading along, nodding, thinking to myself that you write so eloquently and musing on how Stanley or the mare is feeling. So, pleased don't edit or write less, it would make me sad. Lou x

  9. I am with Lou and the others in saying I often don't comment not because I don't love the posts but because life and technology get in the way of coherent sentences. But I love the daily updates of your life and feel sad when you are not there. Also know that what's most important is that you feel the blog is a pleasure rather than a chore in an already busy life. You give an awful lot of yourself as a person and as a writer, and I often wonder how you do it, but am so grateful that you do, as it's a huge gift to make the personal universal and you manage that every time. But whether you blog more or less, I hope you see how much we all appreciate you, and Red and Stanley! Rachel

  10. Your island observation reminds me of something said on, I believe it was, a Jefferson Airplane album..."No man is an island..."
    Came the reply, "No, he's a peninsula."

    Coming from the very peninsular state of Florida (& being a major Grace Slick fan), I still find that funny.

    Ah me.

  11. i am in New Mexico USA at the suggestion of Judith in N. California because she thought i would love you and your Red Mare because my life
    has seemingly come to revolve around a herd of goats belonging to my daughter.
    and i've begun to read's GOOD. all that i've found. and i think for whatever reason, inviting the World into our lives has Purpose.

    1. i no longer blog on blogspot. but rather
      haven't been able to figure out how to undo the blogspot reference.


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