Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life

Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life

Article excerpt

Wandering along a smart west London street after lunch, I happened upon a little tack shop.

I have a strict policy of never passing by equestrian suppliers, as you know. I am quite hopelessly addicted to the smell of saddle leather. The sight of shiny new bridles hanging in a row makes me swoon the way some women get excited over a rack of La Perla underwear sets. Give me a velvet skullcap cover over a silk camisole any day of the week.

This was a particularly swish-looking tack shop and as soon as I was inside I was emitting 'Aaaah! . . .Oooooh!' noises. There were Beagle caps and polo hats, hunting coats, tweeds and long black shiny boots.

'Oh! Oooooo!'

Maybe I was a bit high on leather fumes, but as the woman who ran the place appeared from the back of the shop I could have sworn I had seen her in an episode of The League of Gentleman.

As she skipped up to me and put her face right into my face I was very much expecting her to say, 'We're a local tack shop for local people.'

Instead she said, 'We're the only tack shop in London, you know.'

'Really?' I said, backing into a display of head collars. 'I'm fairly sure there's a tack department in Harrods. And what about that place near Sloane Square . . . ' 'Yes, well, apart from those ones, ' she said, forcefully advancing on me again as I walked backwards around the shop.

She pinned me against a wall of numnahs and stuck her face right up against my face again.

'Are you looking for anything in particular?'

At this point, I noticed with a small sense of alarm that the shop was deserted. I picked up a small grey riding crop, identical to one I had just misplaced.

I had bought it for £8 from Roker's country store a few months before and it had now fallen into the tack black hole into which everything you ever buy for your horse disappears shortly after purchase.

No one is stealing this stuff, by the way.

The lost tack never turns up on anyone else's horse. It just vanishes into thin air.

I am coming to the conclusion that there is another plane of existence, outside our own space-time continuum, where all the lost tack is piled up after being sucked through a wormhole. I don't know why this should be. But it is possible that there are powerful beings in another world who are playing a game with us.

'Ha! …

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