I have absolutely no idea what is going on in the news. I have not opened my computer today; I have not looked at Twitter or Facebook. Britain could have been invaded by Martians and I would not know.
I did my last tutoring session before the Christmas holiday. This is a young girl I love and I wanted to give her the good stuff so I strained every sinew to be useful. ‘Did that work?’ I said at one point, and she said, ‘I’m not sure, but it made me laugh and that’s more important.’
I drove down the valley and sat around a fire under the trees with a friend. It was a proper, old school, Swallows and Amazons fire in the woods and we sat around it in our hats and our wellies and our two coats and talked about Christmas and life.
Then I went home and made gravy and stuffing for another friend who has the virus and is isolating. I put little labels on them with my best writing and left them on the doorstep.
I got rid of a whole load of rubbish and then I went down to the field. I sang a bit of Belle and Sebastian to Florence, who only seemed quite pleased. I put some Leonard Cohen on very loud and stomped about the turf to get any lurking bad energy out. (My new thing is to get uncomfortable emotions out of my body as well as my mind. It sounds nuts, but it’s fabulously effective. Last night, I did some pogoing in the kitchen, and that did the trick beautifully.)
Then I lay down on the red mare’s pile of hay and gazed at the darkening sky while she ate beside me. The light dimmed and the clouds rolled in and everything was silent except for the meditative, rhythmic munching of her strong teeth.
I stayed there for quite a long time. The red mare ate and dreamed. I thought it was rather astonishing that I had a half-ton thoroughbred looming over me and yet I felt as safe as I have done in days. She will do me no harm, I thought; this is where my home is. This is where my heart is.
Then I went home in the dark and found that a long-lost aunt had sent me some Christmas flowers. I don’t think I’ve ever had Christmas flowers in my whole wide life. I felt ridiculously pleased.
It’s going to be the strangest Christmas this year. I cancelled lunch with the family weeks ago, because I felt it wasn’t worth the risk, so the new rules don’t make any difference to me. I have a beautiful solo day all planned. Snow is forecast, so we might even have a picture-perfect Scotland. I’m going to cook a few more festive dishes for the isolated friend and do another delivery run and I’ll leave presents on doorsteps like an elf and then it will be me and the dogs and the horses and I’m looking forward to it. I have a curious sense of optimism today. I think, on no available evidence, that perhaps everything will be all right. Humans are amazingly resourceful and amazingly resilient and they will stick together and keep buggering on.
I wonder whether I should have a quick peek at the internet. Something important might have happened. Then I think: no, today is going to be the day that I switch the world off. I shall stay in my quiet room and embrace the silence. There will be time for the world tomorrow.