The day started with ravishing sun and a feeling of spring in the air. I got on the red mare and pretended I was rounding up cattle. ‘Come on,’ I told her. I whooped in her ear. ‘We have cows to herd.’
She seemed mildly surprised but went with it and we cantered about with our invisible herd, having a blast.
This is a good start to the day, I thought, driving off with purpose to a meeting at HorseBack, the small charity for whom I volunteer. That was good too. Lots of things are happening and I had interesting conversations and saw a dear old friend who had come to visit.
I took some pictures and scribbled in my notebook and all was merry as a marriage bell.
Then the weather grew cold and raw and the feeling of spring disappeared and a sudden blizzard flew in over the hills. Bugger this, I thought, I must get back.
At which point, it was discovered that the drive was blocked by a ton of rubble.
A determined convoy went up the hill, this way and that, looking for a way out. Absolutely no dice. The top track was far too treacherous. Like the Grand Old Duke of York, we marched our way to the top of the hill and then marched down again. At one point I was so furious that I stomped down the drive with a spade, as if I believed I could shift that rubble with my bare hands. ‘I can’t sit here and do nothing,’ I said, between gritted, livid teeth.
Finally, the entirely unrepentant rubble man came back with his idiot tractor and reluctantly drove a very dodgy path through the mess. I hurled the car over it, desperately hoping that I would not rip up the tyres or bugger the suspension.
Back at the paddock, the snowy horses stood sweetly as I threw on their rugs and gave them some extra hay. Still pretty cross, I got to my desk and wrote 987 words and wondered what had happened to that lovely promise of spring.
Then I looked to my left. A generous friend had sent me a picture she had made of a puffin. She had posted it on Facebook, I had admired it, and she sweetly offered to send me a copy. Early this morning, before my day kicked off, Pearl the Postwoman brought it to my door and I pinned it up in my office.
There he was, the ravishing puffin, fine and upright and faintly wistful.
I stopped feeling cross.
It was such a kind thing to do. The good person did not have to make a copy, find an envelope, go to the post office, send it off. She did not have to take the time and the care and the thought, but she did.
People are sometimes not very thoughtful or kind, especially, it seems, grumpy fellows in fuck-off tractors. But some people are sometimes enchanting, and that makes all the difference.
My puffin is now the Puffin of Hope. That is his official title. He restores my faith in human nature.