Monday, 31 October 2016

In which I am in dire need of imaginary cows.

It is a gloomy Monday with surly rain falling from a sky the colour of disappointed pigeons. A cross voice in my head says: don’t write the buggery blog. You won’t have anything lovely to say, says the cross voice, so don’t say anything.

Oh, says a sterner voice, write five sentences and even if they are absolute crap you have still recorded your day.

‘Why do I need to record my day?’ I ask the stern voice.

The stern voice considers.

‘Because even on a rainy Monday there will be one good thing,’ it says.

The farrier came. That is a good thing, because she is young and wryly funny and good at her job. I love people who are good at their jobs. The horses now have neatly trimmed hooves. Their frogs have been inspected and pronounced tremendous. I have horses with tremendous frogs. This, I think, still quite grumpy, is not nothing.

I do 80 pages of editing. I loathe editing. But I suppose at least there are words to edit. There is a whole novel to edit. One day, if I work hard enough and the wind is coming from the right direction, that story might even end up in a bookshop. ‘Oh,’ someone will say to someone, taking it down from the shelf, ‘that looks like it might be interesting.’

I make green soup. Any day that has green soup in it is not lost. As I make the green soup, quite crossly, I remember that I did find a baby bison on Facebook this morning. In fact it turned out to be a baby musk ox, but it was very sweet. A small, adorable, woolly mammal can lift a rainy heart, even for ten minutes.

Then I made some chocolate fridge cake in case the Halloween children come. I loathe Halloween, but even I can’t stare at the small people with basilisk eyes and tell them to go home and eat broccoli. I don’t like sweets and don’t have any in the house, so I make the chocolate fridge cake. (Dark chocolate, butter, honey, almonds, goji berries. It’s the kind of thing that grown-ups wish children would like and the children have to look tragically polite whilst wishing that there was a lifetime supply of those disgusting chewy things in neon green. But it’s the best I can do.)

I think of yesterday, which was lovely. The sun shone and my friend Isla came to ride the red mare and they did beautiful cantering together whilst I shouted ‘Green grass of Wyoming,’ at the top of my voice. This is my idea of teaching riding. As they go into the canter, I bellow: ‘Open everything up. Open your shoulders, open your mind. Green grass of Wyoming, wild plains of Montana, imaginary cows. Go and round up those imaginary cows. Open, open, open.’ Then I think of the proper riding teachers. I double up with laughter. ‘I don’t expect that is what Mrs B tells you,’ I bawl, hysterical with mirth. But the funny thing is that the incredible rider does open her mind and think of the imaginary cows and the red mare senses it and extends her body and lengthens her pace so that she is rocking and rolling. Buck Brannaman always says, when a horse does something delightful, 'there's the change.' There was the change, even if it did not come about from the orthodox.

‘That girl,’ says my friend with the Paint, as we stand in the doleful field in the doleful rain in the doleful afternoon, ‘has an incredible seat.’
‘Yes,’ I say. ‘She most certainly does.’
I feel very pleased about the incredible seat. 

Open your mind, I tell myself. Imaginary cows. So what if the rain is falling?


  1. Well I know you have absolutely no duty, but I can't tell you what pleasure reading this brings me. Even 5 sentences would be enough, but 5 paragraphs is even better. Thank you.

  2. I feel exactly the same as Emily. Thank you.


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