Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life

Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life

Article excerpt

Miraculously, mysteriously, almost supernaturally, I found a man. I'm sorry for not mentioning it earlier but it crept up on me.

I didn't realise I had found him until ages afterwards. I had to have the whole thing signposted in neon, and even then I did my best to drive past it.

What happened was this: my friend Ingrid rang me in a state of considerable excitement last June. She had been shopping in Cobham and had got chatting on the street with a man in jodhpurs. She decided he would be perfect for me and, with a flash of extraordinary matchmaking flair, persuaded him on the spot to move his horse to the yard where we keep our horses.

My friend Ingrid is a very persuasive woman. I can only imagine the conversation which concluded with him agreeing to load his horse on to a lorry and drive him straight over. When the lorry arrived, I was heavily briefed and waiting in my tightest jeans and long riding boots. The lorry ramp was lowered and a handsome grey thoroughbred was led off.

He was solid and dependable looking, with a kind look in his eye.

'So far so good, ' I thought.

The door of the cab then opened and the owner got out. He was a tall, handsome blond. I wouldn't say he was thoroughbred.

Warm-blooded certainly, but on the rugged side.

He was tanned, windswept and wearing white breeches. And he was immediately swamped by a dozen teenage girls.

He walked entirely shrouded in hysterical teenagers to the tea room, where he sat down with a mug of tea amid the din of giggling girls, and held court for the next three hours.

'Well, what do you think?' said my friend when she rang for an update.

'Very nice.'

'And? Have you talked to him?'

'No.'

'Why?'

'I'll tell you why. Because he's never going to notice a middle-aged woman in a sea of nubile 16-year-olds in a million years.

It was a very nice try. But I'm afraid it has fallen at the first hurdle.'

But I was wrong. Just before Christmas, he took me for pizza. It turns out I only had to stop ignoring him to prove I wasn't bothered about him for two minutes to give him a chance to ask me out.

It turns out he's a builder. It turns out he's unflappable. It turns out he responds to most things by saying, 'Don't worry about it, we'll sort it. …

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