It’s been a long, long day, and I am almost too tired to type anything. But I want to record my one good thing.
My eighty-eight-year-old stepfather is in complete isolation. He keeps getting stern letters from his local health service telling him he must not step outside or have any contact with another human being for twelve more weeks. It breaks my heart to think of him in his little house with only the memory of my mum for company. So, this evening, I fired up the video call function on my telephone and took him down to the field to see the horses.
When he and my mother lived across the way from me, here in Scotland, I used to take my red mare to see them. She would delicately climb up the steps to the front door and my stepfather would bring her apples. She didn’t like eating a whole big fruit (she is far too duchessy for such vulgar crunching), so he would thoughtfully chop up the Bramleys and the Coxes and the Pippins into perfect slices, and she would nod her head in appreciation.
This evening, she was drowsing in the evening sunshine when I went down. I pointed the telephone at her. ‘I can see a horse!’ said my stepfather in delight.
The dozing thoroughbred opened her eyes and lifted her head. I swear she remembered his voice. That was her apple man, the devoted gentleman who always knew exactly how she liked to be fed. He might now be five hundred miles south but, for a moment, he was back with her. I don’t know how horses hold on to memories, but they do remember. I think she was remembering then, and those recollections were happy ones.
‘I can bring you here every day,’ I said to him. ‘Now we’ve got all this technology worked out. I can bring you to Scotland, to see the horse.’
‘I’d like that very much,’ he said.