Tuesday, 3 February 2015


Yesterday was a fairly dodgy combination of exceptional grumpiness and a lot of work, so there was no blog. I always feel oddly guilty about this. What will the poor Dear Readers do? (Have a huge glass of gin and breathe a sigh of relief is almost certainly the answer.)

Today, for no known reason, I woke up without the grumpiness but still did the work. I wondered, as I so often do, about moods. Today, all the things which felt overwhelming yesterday seemed quite manageable. In some ways I find this reassuring: on rotten mornings I can tell myself this too shall pass and know it to be true. It reminds me that the shrinks were right when they said: it’s not the thing, it’s how you think about the thing. On the other hand, it’s mildly disconcerting since it means there is no objective reality.

Despite the weather, the horses were peaceful and sunnily fatalistic. Sometimes they go into pure survival mode when the snow and ice close in, and they really have no interest in humans except as the bringers of food. But this morning, the red mare went for a little browse in the snow and then came and stuck her head in the feed shed for a chat and to check that I was mixing her breakfast just right. The sight of her sweet face in the doorway made me think I could never really be grumpy about anything, ever. She then followed me kindly back to the field and, without even being asked, politely went and took up her feeding position, and waited for me to put the bucket down with all the poise of a dowager duchess at a diplomatic reception. All this without so much as a rope. Any thoroughbred who can do that must banish all the February blues.

Also, I had just seen a photograph of another horsewoman with her equines in Canada, where it apparently was minus twenty-seven. That made our minus six look paltry by comparison, and when the mercury raced up to half a degree over zero I felt as if we were in the South of France.

The work went well. I’m back on the other book now, and I’m still not cutting as much as I should, but slowly, slowly I persevere, and I shall get there in the end.

Stanley the Dog, who used to shiver when he first came here from balmy Somerset, now races around like a true snow dog, and is so busy hunting for mice and putting up pheasants and rounding up the mares that he has no time to think of the cold.

It’s February, and it’s pretty dour, and I’m constantly chilly and covered in mud, and I do yearn for spring with every beat of my heart. I like to think I am stoical about the winter, but sometimes I fall into a rather weedy longing for sunshine and warmth. But there is always some little metaphorical ray of sun to warm the cockles, even if I have to squint a little to see it.


Today’s pictures:

I’m playing around with Instagram. I haven’t quite got the hang of it yet, but here are some early attempts at special photographic effects. I quite like it that the pictures mostly look as if they were taken in 1955:

3 Jan 1

3 Jan 2

Not sure quite how this got so blurry, but I don’t mind it:

3 Jan 4

3 Jan 5

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