Magazine article The Spectator

Costly Charges

Magazine article The Spectator

Costly Charges

Article excerpt

While J. Alfred Prufrock measured out his life with coffee spoons, I prefer to chart mine with the daily passing of one hundred pounds. Hence, and though there must be many ways to evaluate one's existence, I feel my days are best quantified as follows:

Monday: Scented candle, £16; bottle of moisturiser, £30; horse physiotherapy, £50.

Tuesday: Train ticket, £3.80; food shopping, £40; petrol, £55.

Wednesday: Congestion charge, £8; lunch with a friend, £35; dinner with a friend, £60.

Thursday: Car MOT and service, £119.

Friday: Horse x-rays, £110.

And so on. I grow old ... I grow old . . . I shall go into overdraft and then fold.

But I know what you are thinking. There are items here which look a bit extraneous, items of equine expenditure which cannot be put down to the everyday cost of normal living. Let me assure you, if you are a single girl who raises animals instead of children this is all perfectly humdrum. While my married friends complain of little Johnny needing braces, or Olivia having grommets fitted, I find myself coping with a faint but worrying lameness in Tara's back legs.

And, unlike my friends with children, I cannot get my darling's needs sorted out free on the NHS. Nor can I gossip endlessly about them on Mumsnet. Forgive me, therefore, if I unburden my anxieties here.

The horse physio turned up at 8 a. m.

on Monday, my day off -- all busy working mums need one -- and rang me while I was still in bed: 'I've looked at her on the straight and in circles and she's a bit lame in the right foreleg. She's also stiff in her back and hind legs. Do you want me to release her pelvis?' There is no answer to this gobbledygook. I understand it not a jot.

Having my horse's pelvis released was never on my 'to do' list. But, given the choice of having one's horse's pelvis released or not, one does of course opt for the former, and hang the expense. 'Will this help the lameness?' I asked blearily. 'Not really, ' said the horse physio as if this were the daftest assumption I could possibly have made from the information just given to me. 'That's a matter for the vet.' The vet's verdict was equally baffling. She thinks Tara has become 'long in the toe' indicating possible damage to the bones inside the feet and so she has been packed off to the clinic in Horsham. …

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