I missed my mum a lot today. The racing was on, and in the old days the telephone would have rung just after Don Cossack, one of the most ravishing horses in training, romped home at Down Royal. ‘Wasn’t he grand?’ she would have said. ‘Did you see that?’
This morning, I cancelled her Racing Post. It is ordered every Saturday, and I take it to her and stay to drink coffee and talk about the day’s runners. That routine is no more. I found the whole thing almost more heart-breaking than anything else.
I wanted to tell the ladies in the shop, who are kind and funny and know me well. But I could not get the words out. They knew. ‘Just one next week?’ they said, in sympathy.
‘Just one,’ I said.
My mother, looking serene, and me, looking very grumpy indeed. I did get quite cross with the grown-ups, because at that stage I was convinced I was twenty-one and did not understand why I could not stay up for dinner or go to night-clubs. (It was the seventies; everyone went to night-clubs.) Poor Mum, what she had to put up with.