Thursday, 8 January 2015


Author’s note: I’m not sure whether this makes any sense or is much to the purpose. I wrote it instinctively, without thinking, after long hours of editing and rewriting my book, my brain blank and empty from the effort of concentration. I’m going to leave it, as it came out, and hope it means some small thing.


Work is the answer.

Work is the resumption of normality, the balm for the troubled mind, the bulwark against uncontrollable events.

This morning, I worked my mare, steadily, and with concentration. She repaid me with sweetness and softness and willingness. My heart expanded in the golden Scottish light.

I worked my book, and that too seemed to respond as if it were an animate thing. It rose to my fingertips, as they tap tap tapped on the keyboard. My mind was active and engaged.

I’m sometimes not quite sure where my work ethic comes from, and then I remember my parents. My mother taught me that a tired pony had to be bedded down and fed a lovely warm mash and brushed off before I could come in and have my own tea. If we were lucky enough to have ponies, we had to look after them well. That was the deal.

My father rose before dawn every day of his working life, and mucked out three racehorses and rode out two lots and fed and watered and settled his good equine companions. He is remembered for being a roisterer and a boisterer, but at heart, he was a worker. No matter what he had been doing the night before, no matter how many songs he sang or drinks he drank, he would be up at five-thirty and would walk out into the dark, to see to those horses. They gave him speed and strength and heart and honesty, and he gave them the care they deserved in return. That was something he taught me without ever saying a word. It is the legacy he left. It is one of my truest things.


8 Jan 1


  1. Maybe this is why I miss paid work so much? Without it, it's hard to find the same satisfaction at the end of the day. Interesting concept. Meanwhile yesterday I wrote 1765 words of a chapter of something...a book maybe??!! It felt like work... Lou x

  2. I honestly believe that work, or purpose, is the answer. To many things! They do say that it's not what we teach our children that matters but rather, what they see in the day to day from their parents. Lovely blog. Your writing these last few days has been a god send. Thank you.

  3. Work always gave me a purpose in life, especially when I was in the military. Knowing that each day would bring new challenges, new experiences and expanding my knowledge through learning. Knowing that each day I rose from bed I was part of a great team who at a moment notice could done combat gear and play my, although small, part in protecting our great nation and those who dwell in it. Eventually the knocks and injuries took their toll and I became a broken soldier. These were days I was truly proud of and just one of many willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice. That was then. Today is totally different, but I have always got my wife, kids, pets and friends at Horseback (both human and equestrian) to give me that purpose in life. Without that I would at best be on the streets living a life that no one should have to live.

  4. Such a lovely horse. I would like to meet her one day.


Your comments give me great delight, so please do leave one.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin