NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLANDER

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If someone told twelve year old me that one day in the future she would be asked to write a few words in the JEP, she’d have fainted. Seriously. As a kid, I would slyly circle the livestock category in the classifieds before my parents got to it, fervently hoping each year that my birthday surprise was called Geronimo or Bramble and that finally! I too would join polite society, and have reason to wear unfeasibly tight trousers and wield a whip with nobody suggesting that I might be headed for a career as a dominatrix.

Although nonplussed by a child with an unnatural passion for saddle soap, my parents capitulated and dangled the carrot of a horse should I pass my next piano exam. I was not averse to bribery.

When they gave me the box, I was convinced it was a lightweight bridle just invented. My covert defacement of the JEP was about to pay off! I beamed, prepared the promise-to-do-all-the-housework-forever speech, took a deep breath and tore at the wrapping.

Hello, Sindy Doll Horse.
!‘Isn’t she fabulous, darling?!’ Mum looked genuinely pleased with herself.

Dad, knowing that with women present giving can go spectacularly awry, looked nervous.

I think this precipitated The Great Sulk of Teenagerdom, and this week, it all came back to me, when after pestering me for the latest Lego, my son uttered those fateful words,

‘But Mu-um-mmmeeee! This isn’t the one I wanted. This is the little one! I wanted the BIG one.’

Okay, so I’m a cheapskate. But what sane adult spends £100 on a Lego set when you can get a slightly smaller version for a tenner? You’ll spend five hours building it with painstaking precision, almost divorce your spouse over the correct interpretation of instructions written in Hieroglyphics, for it to be reduced to a thousand pieces that will never again resemble the picture on the box. You’ll eventually find that crucial missing piece while shambling downstairs half-awake one morning, and it stabs you in the foot. Lego, my friends, is the bane of my life.

Perhaps this is what my parents had in mind when they confined me to the Poundland version of Pony Club, knowing that it too would go the way of all my other more outlandish pastimes, like dancing, or pottery.
But bless my mum-in-law, who must have sensed some deep horsey yearning in the only woman under fifty with a subscription to Country Life. For Christmas, she gave me riding lessons.

This means tight pants and boots and headscarves.The wardrobe possibilities are endless! I can’t wait. Tally- ho chums!