I am forty-eight.
As I said this morning to a friend, standing in the dazzling Scottish sunshine and the bitter Scottish wind: ‘Old for a jockey, young for a prime minister.’
In the spirit of the birthday, I thought I’d write you one of those amusing lists, like they do on the Facebook – you know, seven interesting or surprising facts about oneself.
I only managed three. And they are not very interesting.
1. I really like cockles.
2. I have a bronze medal in life-saving. Which means that if ever an inflated pair of pyjamas were drowning in a small swimming pool, I would be able to rescue them.
3. I can’t remember the third one.
Ah, ah, ah, ah. All these years, I secretly thought I was quite interesting. I could tell you about the repeal of the Corn Laws and how not to dangle a modifier. How damn fascinating is that? And then, when it comes to it, I discover that I HAVE NO INTERESTING FACTS.
It’s a bit of a blow, to be honest. (And I never use the phrase ‘to be honest’, so you can see how acutely I am afflicted.)
Oh yes, I remember the third one. It is: I once saw Judi Dench in the ladies’ lav at the Groucho. She was absolutely radiant.
You see? That sound you hear is the bottom of the barrel being scraped. In order to drum up the tiniest roll on the interest timpani, I had to dredge up a National Treasure.
Obviously, I am now going to have to go away and deal with this. I suppose it’s lucky I’ve got to the age of forty-eight with my delusions intact. At least it is excessively British. Being fascinating is really best left to Bobby Dazzlers from the continent. (Not that I would stoop to vast cultural generalisations, oh no.) Much better to talk about the weather and not blow one’s own trumpet.
Talking of the weather, there is going to be sleet tonight. Rug up the horses and put on your thermals. Never say this blog does not do public service.
PS. I was going to tell you about my enchanting birthday, which has involved cake, champagne, a jewel, flowers, a mystery parcel, and a lot of loveliness on the internet. But I’m saving that for tomorrow because I’m still a bit over-tired and my fingers have done enough typing. I’m going to watch the racing from Chepstow instead. See how ruthless I am, now I am hurtling towards fifty?
One of the things I don’t really know how to do is take a selfie. It’s oddly hard, and my arms are not long enough. Obviously I had to try to get a special birthday picture of the red mare and me, since she is the beat of my heart. She stood for ten whole minutes in the middle of the field, not moving a hoof, occasionally letting out a gentle, resigned, forgiving sigh at the folly of her human.
Excellent Lady of a Certain Age tip – pose head-on into the dancing Scottish sun. It’s insanely flattering. I probably should care that I don’t actually look like this, but I don’t:
Can you see the look in the mare’s eyes? It says: just let the old girl get on with it. Possibly with a bit more swearing:
Stan the Man was moving so fast he is completely out of focus. But you had to see the special birthday ears:
SOMEONE LEFT FLOWERS IN THE FEED SHED:
The sweet, woolly, muddy duchess, sighing a sigh; at least that’s over. She’s very dozy and dreamy this morning, as if her wild gymnastics of the other day are quite forgotten:
PS. I’ve thought of another interesting fact. Watching the racing, I was reminded that the very first time I tasted smoked mackerel was at Chepstow racecourse in 1976. I was nine. I thought it the most madly sophisticated food I had ever eaten. Even though I had encountered the legendary soupe de poisson at Tetou. But you know, that was just soup.
So sorry. That really is the best I can do.