Friday, 6 November 2009


Mes tres chers amis de mon coeur, or words to that effect.

What a glorious subject this is for my pen, to be sure, for the summer is long past, the harvest is gathered, and today I saw a vile child ripping open the windows of an Advent calendar to get at the low-quality chocolate. In Germany, the windows are called Turchen* (little doors) and the chocolate is top-notch. As usual we lag behind.

Yesterday, I was let down by an unreliable man; but did I mope about like an adolescent? I did not. On a whim, I grabbed a lime and a knife, a glass and four cans of readymixed Gordons and tonic and shot down to Maidenhead Thicket to absorb the breathtaking colours bestowed upon us by the seasons of mist.

How strange is the change of the seasons! For once those immemorial elms did not play silent witness to countless dogging couples and homosexualist thrillseekers. No, the dank chill of a November afternoon had sent them scurrying to the room-by-the-hour hotel (Sole Prop. Freddie Starr) at Knowl Hill, and so I was free to meander about the woods until I reached my favourite place. Here, by an old birch tree trunk, now covered with sulphur-tuft, is where I had the terrifying fall from my maddened old mare in May 1999. Kind friends will recall how I suffered two compound fractures and, as I gazed on the bones protruding from my very flesh, two gracious old alfresco copulators bound me up with their flag of Austria and summoned help. By the sheer Grace of God, and the skillful ministrations of the Man Who Put Frankie Dettori Back Together Again, I am blemish free; but the fear and flashbacks were with me for months.

I sometimes come to this spot to exorcise the ghost, for I feel sure that my terror hangs in the ether, waiting to cause some other fearful incident. How many other horses have shied at an unseen wraith, or caught the scent of spilt blood and pain? Who cares. I sit on the trunk when I visit and make a silent toast. To me. Yesterday, I drank my four Gordons and felt better for it.

The leaves have all changed, and many are dropping. The sycamores are infected with tarspot fungus, but it was heartening to watch the starlings in the bramble bushes, still hanging around in their flocks. Starlings don't pair up until March or April, and in the Autumn they moon around in adolescent gangs. I also saw a bullfinch in a maple.

The Thicket runs up to the edge of the A4. In the layby is a kebab van. The operator is a Turk and he rang for a taxi for me. I did not buy a kebab, but he gave me a gherkin.

I hope you have enjoyed these informative observations from an English countrywoman in her prime, and that it may bring some joy to your humdrum lives.

*no umlauts, as per


  1. Lovely - much more gripping that the usual autumnnal emisssions. And do you still ride?

  2. Dear lady. We all know that it is autumn. Please publish news with more substance. And as for "exorcise the ghost", I dread to think for what hideous activity that is a euphemism.
    I cannot, of course, speak for your other readers, but my life is far from humdrum. Only this morning I bought a bag of organic potatoes from J.Sainsbury's.

  3. I walked past a field of onions in a Tokyo suburb this afternoon. My host explained that half an hour further out there were forests. Later we ate fugu.

    Mrs P, I feel our lives converging.

  4. "Kind friends will recall how I suffered two compound fractures and, as I gazed on the bones protruding from my very flesh, two gracious old alfresco copulators bound me up with their flag of Austria and summoned help."

    Without a doubt, the best sentence I will read all week.

  5. Starlings are a joy. Two weeks ago at dusk, I stood at the end of Eastbourne pier and was delighted by a vast swarm of starlings that swirled about me, eventually disappearing into the camera obscura. What fun.

  6. The way you set the scene, Pouncer, I thought this post was leading to smut. Vile is a good word. Bones sticking out? Really?

  7. Mrs. P. "I sit on the trunk when I visit and make a silent toast."

    Map. "I sit in my trunks when I vomit and eat burnt toast."


  8. Bye bye everyone.

    Maybe laters; maybe not.

    Mwah xx

  9. Ah, there you are. Been away rather a lot of late. Foreign climes, plus troubles (old and new), so not been in touch. Could you please help me catch up and give a quick precis of what, if anything, has happened in the last 6 months? I've been told about finding water on the moon and the outing of Belle De Jour (I knew her all along, of course, though not in the biblical sense), but most other things seem to have escaped me. Thanks for letting me know it's autumn. I thought the tress in my orchard had some sort of leaf disease.

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  11. An Englishwoman in her prime should not be let down by an unreliable man.

    She should certainly not get sozzled because of her bitterness and disappointment.

    Perhaps a Temperance Society in Maidenhead would be just the thing for the Maidenheaders and an Englishwoman who wishes to remain in her prime for a little bit longer.

    Too many gills of gin does terrible things to one's complexion and should be avoided if one is already delicately middle-aged but divorced and still looking.

    That would be my advice for what it's worth.

  12. That it?

    Come back Clarissa, we needs ya!


  13. Clarissa, this dalliance with Facebook is proving detrimental to your blogging. You will lose readership if you're not careful. Apply yourself my good woman. Facebook is an amusing pastime but it won't pay the rent.

  14. Have you tried Twitter as well? I do and link it to my Facebook account. I think it's called Twitface or something

  15. Hear hear Daphne, FB damages the ozone layer and kills brain cells.

    Backbone Pouncer, backbone. Remember your deportment lessons.

  16. I enjoyed reading your descriptions of Maidenhead Thicket and relating your stream of consciousness.

    Although severe, you were very lucky with your riding injuries. From personal experience I know what a devastating impact this can have on a family.

  17. Yeah, whatever. I am coming back. Gone off Facebook.

  18. Still waiting!......tapping foot.....


  19. May we share a sausage and a sherbet sometime?

  20. 閒暇為所有財富中最美好的財富........................................

  21. I get to relate, how refreshing..anyway, you can' leave now, we've determined you are important and sniff up your own butt