Thursday, 17 November 2016


There is stuff at the moment. Stuff, stuff, stuff. I didn’t write the blog for a couple of days because I did not really know what to say about the stuff. It’s the same old stuff and it’s quite catastrophically dull. Don’t tell them about the stupid stuff, says the stern voice in my head. They’ve all got stuff of their own; they don’t need to hear about yours.

I feel a bit stuck. I get stuck sometimes. I’m like a car whose gears don’t work. I’m in neutral, gunning my engine, going nowhere.

As always, when this happens, the one place where everything moves and flows and is good and right is on the back of my red mare. Her power and glory gives me strength. She does not get stuck. She moves out into the green world with her authentic mind and her athletic body and when we’ve done some good work she flutters her enchanting eyelashes and goes to sleep. She is at one with herself. I sometimes gaze at her in awe and wonder and try to work out how she does it. She is her own absolute self at every moment of every day.

Some of the best things I learnt about life, I learnt from this horse. I learnt about giving rather than demanding, about kindness rather than impatience, about concentration rather than showing off. I learnt the value of steadiness and consistency and clarity. I learnt about category errors. I learnt not to take out my messy emotions on her. My nonsense is my nonsense, and it is not her job to make that better. (Although of course she does, simply by being her fine self.)

I always think: why can’t you take that best self out of the field and apply it to humans? When I am with that horse, I am a far, far better thing. Then I get back to my desk and my ordinary life and I grow flawed and scratchy. My frailties flock back like homing pigeons, the little buggers.

Everyone has stuff, says my kind, rational, adult voice. Everyone deals with it in different ways. It’s not failure. You don’t have to shut yourself up in the Cupboard of Shame. You are human, that is all, and this is life, and there’s a supermoon and strange things going on in American politics and you still really, really miss your mum. You are not impervious, nor should you be.

At least, I think, I have that one true thing. Every day, for a couple of hours, I know what it is to give myself utterly to the happiness and well-being of someone else, even if she has four legs and does not speak English and cannot do abstract thought. This is not selfless, because the happier she is the better she goes and the more delight I feel on her grand back. But it is an offering, rather than a taking, and I find that oddly important and consoling.

I can write a sentence, I think. I know what to do with the language of Shakespeare and Milton. I have dancing, antic dogs. I have the hills and the trees. They will all endure, whilst the stupid stuff will pass.

Everybody has stuff. It’s in the contract. There’s no point in trying to fight it or getting bent out of shape or sitting furiously in a room attempting to think it away. Open yourself to it and let it run through you and know that soon, soon, it will sail out to sea, off to another port of call.


  1. Posts like this always seem to be prefaced with an apology, yet they are, I suspect, the most appreciated by readers. This reader certainly.

    As one true things go, yours is a belter, so there is that.

    Thank you. I simply adore your writing.

  2. I'm not sure what this is all about but then again there is always stuff.


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