Tania Kindersley
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Aug 05, 2022

It’s 10pm and I have just finished all my work. (I feel very top of the class when I write things like that. The girly swot lives in me still.) 

Actually, not quite all my work. There are still three stern items on the To Do list, but mapping the To Do list is like painting the Forth Bridge, so I’m used to that. (There is also a Sod It list and an I’ll Do it Tomorrow list. Always and always.)

But I wrote six thousand words and I worked both the mares and I paid the vet and I ran up to HorseBack and took some rather charming pictures and I cooked a ham. I haven’t cooked a ham since the old Queen died and I was faintly trepidatious, but all the smiling men in the butcher’s shop gathered round and gave me blithe and confident instructions and laughed at me a little, kindly. 

My friend Cathy came into the shop in the middle of this consultation and I was so pleased to see her that I exclaimed in delight and hugged her and afterwards I drove away thinking: everybody should do hugging in the butcher’s. 

I heard laughter as I went my ways, sounds of merriment floating out of the shop and into the small station square, the square where the old train used to stop on its way to Balmoral, probably with Queen Victoria on board. (The train does not exist any more, and all that remains of it are the ghostly cuttings and the topless bridges and the neat little squares where it used to puff to a halt.) 

I listened to the laughter and thought what fortune it is to live in a small community. I love that I bump into people in the village and wave at people on the road and that the ladies in the shop keep my Racing Post for me and have it ready on the counter when I walk in on a Saturday. I love that they don’t mind my peculiar hats and my scruffy, horse-marked clothes, and my workaday boots, which are sometimes muddy.

It’s funny. I did so much today, and I over-stretched myself a little bit, and I was feeling slightly strained and jangly, but now I’ve written it all down for you I feel soothed and calm. I always think that writing it down is the solution for almost everything, and so it proves.

I haven’t got a fine last line for you. I like to finish with a flourish, but my brain has gone and everything is gently shutting down. So I’ll say goodnight and stop.

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