"So guess who's the Page 3 girl today?" said Elsa as soon as I walked in the door last night at 10.30 p.m. My mind was still on the raised peat bogs I'd been discussing at a meeting all evening, and to be honest I really couldn't care less who was on Page 3 of anything, or why Elsa had suddenly become so interested in topless women in tabloids.
"Go on", she goaded. "Look", flashing a newspaper under my eyes.
I recognised my ponies immediately but hesitated to admit that the fat face grinning at me was my own. Perhaps I should have been more careful with my choice of words in the press release requested by the local paper. Now people will be thinking it's just as well my ponies are "sturdy" Fells because they jolly well need to be to carry that lump.
I told Elsa it was positively the worst picture of me I'd ever seen.
"On no mum, I think not. You should try googling yourself. There's far worse on there." (And no I haven't, and if what Elsa says is true, I'd really rather you didn't either.)
Anyway, notwithstanding the unflattering photo, the Annandale Herald has written a really nice article about my ride, even if everyone I've seen today has said they thought it very amusing that I said I was so looking forward to my own company. Tell me honestly: if you had a darling daughter being so charming, wouldn't you feel the same? And mightn't you be tempted to ask yourself why, oh why, you had encouraged her to accompany you on the first week of an epic trip when there's no-one else around to arbitrate? I had to go out riding not to toughen up ponies and my posterior but just to restore sanity.