Rotten, raw weather, but a ray of metaphorical sunshine comes out as the red mare and the little Paint and their humans go for a perfect ride. The mare needs neither stirrups or reins as I lounge on her back like an old cow-hand and let her go along under me, happy as twenty-seven nuts. She does dazzle me, with her goodness and cleverness and willingness. And, I think, the really lovely thing is that we are friends.
Despite my ruthless aim to cut and slash and kill all those darlings, I write one thousand new words. This is absurd and I am quite cross with myself. But the new scene was needed, and so it had to be written. The book stretches in front of me, still far, far too long. Shall I ever learn brevity?
Stanley the Dog does not care about the weather. He is in cracking form, exceptionally excited to see his girlfriend, who is a ravishingly beautiful dalmatian. Their preferred method of courting is to run around in vast circles, their bellies close to the ground, their muzzles stretched out in racing glory, their long, athletic legs hurling them forward at top speed. Their two friends, a pair of handsome golden retrievers, watch them with slight bafflement.
I watch a couple of races. I win some money, I lose some money. There is one particular Willie Mullins novice who is having his first go. Generally, they either love it or hate it. The ones who can’t see the point are quickly sent into other disciplines. (My own sweet slow girl was honourable retired after three disastrous races, where she sloped round at the back, with not an ounce of competitive spirit.) This fella adored it. He pricked his ears in the Irish sun and bounced over the emerald turf, every muscle in his fine body saying oh, yes. He’ll have happy memories now, of doing his job well, of leading the herd, of jumping for fun, of winning. He’ll almost certainly enjoy the rest of his career, because of that dancing introduction.
The rain continues to fall. We feed the horses and give them their hay and make sure they are settled for the night. They are stoical in the weather. The humans grumble, but the equines manage a touching prick of the ears as if to say: don’t worry, it’s not so very bad. The mare gives her sweet, humming whicker. Even in the gloom and the dreich, my heart expands like a flower in springtime.
Just time for a couple, from sunnier days: