Monday, April 23, 2007

the hoarse whisperer

The doorbell rang. 'Deliverance!' shouted a voice. Inside, I examined the riding crop that emerged from my rummaging in the package newly arrived from my agent. It made a satisfying whoosh as it swished through the air. This was obviously my agent’s attempt to help overcome the writers block I had told him about that had just brought my first Black Lace novel to a grinding, shuddering, thrusting halt. The phone rang. ‘Er hellair!’ said the voice, ‘riding stables here! You haven’t forgotten have you?!’ It had been a long night on the karaoke. I had forgotten. ‘I’m feeling a little hoarse’, I said. ‘Practicing already eh?’ said the voice, ‘that’s what we like to hear! All kitted out then?’ I peered into the package from my agent and nodded. ‘Hellair?’ said the voice. ‘I’m nodding’, I said. ‘See you at ten’ and I put the phone down. ‘Ish’ I added. I lifted a hat from the box. It was large and hard, sigh. At least it was black to go with my flowing raven locks. A further rummage revealed some trousers of the same tanned complexion of a slightly disappointing off season week in Tuscany. I looked at the label. Size medium, colour:Lady Godiva. Horses and I do not see eye to eye, unless I stand on a box, I have to take an antihistimine to read a Jilly Cooper novel and if anyone’s going to have a long face in the room it should be me. I remembered the conversation with my agent. ‘Rilly’ he said, ‘you could be sitting on the next Da Vinci Code here saleswise’. This was quite apt as I was sitting on the original Di Vinci Code to reach the desk. ‘But you’ve got to look like you don’t mind mucking in with the locals’. I said I would muck in, but if mucking out was involved he could bloody well forget it.

I arrived at the stables. ‘Er hellair', said a man in even tighter trousers than me, ‘you must be Rilly’. ‘Are you supposed to be able to bend your knees in these?' I asked. The instructor looked impressed. ‘I say, those are the same brand The Queen wears you know’, he said, as if to explain why Her majesty rides side saddle. 'Are you ready for me?' I asked. 'Yep, I've upped the old insurance since I spoke to you on the phone Rilly', he replied. 'Oh dear, did I sound that accident prone?' I asked. 'No, just worried you'd slag us orff orn that blog of yours! Now, let’s get you started then shall we dear’. he said. ‘Foot in the stirrups’, he indicated, ‘easy as visiting the gynaecologist, eh old girl?' Good thing I’m not seeing him today’, I said. ‘Oh, I don’t know', replied my instructor, ‘At least wearing those jods he’d be able to see everything was OK without you taking your trousers orf!’ He steadied the horse with a calm masculine, although slightly horsey smelling, confidence. ‘Alright up there Rilly?' He asked. ‘I can see one of my houses from here!’ I told him. I tried to hide my nervousness whilst making a note to mention it on the blog for dramatic effect. ‘Maybe I should trade in the car for one of these’, I said, patting my mount. ‘How many horsepower can you get out of these things?’ At least I couldn’t lose the keys, I thought, although my husband would probably still forget to fill it with hay, or whatever they run on. Maybe instead of driving each morning to watch other people work I could ride. ‘Does that Philips girl ever visit your stables?’ I asked. ‘Fraid not dear’ said the manly Rupert, ‘but Daniel Radcliffe comes up from time to time, that’s why old Shergar here seems a little nervous. He's been through enough already, poor lad. Don’t worry though Rilly’, he continued, ‘a horse is just like a man, you just need to get on him and ride him until you break his spirit’. Oh dear, I thought as that image entered my prescient imagination, I really should have worn the dark blue jodhpurs today, and I began to slide slowly sideways off of the damp saddle.

Later, as I stepped out of the shower at home and made a mental note to order another gallon of deep heat before the next riding lesson I thought that perhaps I was cut out for this country life after all. I put on my riding hat and resolved to wear it whilst I recounted my adventures to the world. I looked in the Mirror and Ellen Whitaker looked back, although a little less blonde, young and able to tell one end of a horse from the other than young Ellen normally is. Suddenly the doorbell rang. It was Rupert, all six foot of mud spattered Jods, high leather boots and masterful authority of him. I sighed. ‘Just popped by to check you survived’, he said. ‘Come in’, I whispered in a timorous voice I put down to the smokey karaoke of the previous night. My intuition told me he was very impressed that I was wearing my riding hat when I answered the door. 'Very impressed to see you wearing your riding hat when you answered the door!' he said. I don’t know how long he was there but sadly eventually he had to go. ‘I can see you’re really keen to adopt the country life Rilly’, he said, 'just one small word of advice, and hope I'm not too late, don’t forget all your old London ways next time you go back home will you. Remember some things are completely the other way around in the city than they are here’. ‘What do you mean exactly?' I asked, puzzled. He looked me up and down and smiled. 'I think you’ll find that in town the fashion is still hat orff, trousers orn dear.’

As Rupert left, the phone rang. It was my agent again. 'Rilly darling!' he began, 'just read about the riding lesson, just what we need, that's the horsey fraternity hooked up to buy the book for absolute certain dear'. He hung up and I sighed as the prospect of my dust jacket author's photograph replacing the ponies and horses on a thousand 4x4 spare wheel covers suddenly cast a cloud over my day in the sun. I reached for the dictafone that I used for my novel and tried to speak but only a hoarse whisper came out. Would I really ever fit in? Would I ever find the inspiration to finish my romantic novel or was I trapped in the gritty kitchen sink social realism of Strife in the North for ever? Sigh...

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, Rilly, you still didn't quite manage to get your jodhpurs off with Rupey ? Isn't there some way I could help you ? A bird in the hand is worth a tumble in the bush, or however the saying goes..

Drunk Mummy said...

Dear Rilly, please be careful in those tight jodhpurs!
Not only is the 'camel's foot' look aesthetically unpleasant, its not terribly good for your gynaecological health either.

rilly super said...

anonymous, afraid the answer to that is 'nay', in fact I had some difficulty getting them off at all. I do appreciate your kind offer to stand in though dear, what would I do without you, sigh

do you think the fact that I didn't know that actually had a name suggests a sheltered upbringing drunkmummy? I will certainly be careful in future and more importantly try and brush up on my tight trousers related slang. thank you for dropping by and for your kind concern my dear.

The Secretary said...

Cor Rilly - Rupert sounds like a dreamboat (do people still say that), it's better than reading about Mr Darcy. Perhaps you can get him to tumble of his horse into a lake and then he can walk out bare chested and dripping wet a la Colin Firth. I feel rather hot and bothered now and will have to go and have a rub down with this months Horse and Hound!

Anonymous said...

Surely 'jodhpurs' ?

spymum said...

Sage advice from hunky Rupert there! Gosh, first the gorgeous angelic Swede and now the posh, handsome horsey hunk!

Phew - I'm going to have to lie down now! I wonder if I can persuade my husband to leave Dulwich and move North?

dulwichmum said...

Rilly dear,

Your ischial spines will ache tonight! You should be glad your belovbed husband works down south, it is never good for ones husband to see one sitting on a rubber ring...

Anonymous said...

dulwichmum - Too Much Information there honey..But if you want to send Rilly some camera-phone footage, I'm sure it will help increase traffic to her blog...

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Drunk Mummy is right, in this hot weather and with such tight jods...you could be looking at a nasty case of thrush. Go steady Rilly!

mutterings and meanderings said...

And I thought you'd not been on because you were walking like John Wayne (it's always worse the day after the day after).

Word to the wise - get some Harry Hall Atlantas - very stretchy and non-constricting!

Glad to hear Mr Campbell-Black is still on the go ...

Sarnia said...

You really are a trouper, Rilly.

The things you have to go through to get copy for your upcoming boo err the things you have to go through because your thoughtless husband has made you move oop norf.

Anonymous said...

Rilly, but if you are just feeling a little uncomfortable and want some baby oil massaged into those important little places, just put a little red flag on your blog, and I will pop round after milking...

I'm running low on the foot massage oil, but can improvise if you have some 'extra virgin' in the house..

Mum's the word...

rilly super said...

secretary darling, thanks for dropping by, you're right, sometimes my life feels so unreal it's almost as if I only have to wish for something and it comes true, except I keep wishing for my husband to pay more attention to me than to the laura ashley catalogue but that never happens, sigh

anonymous, thanks for the advice

oh spymum, I hope you didn't read anything between the lines there darling! He is a bit of a dish I suppose, but I only have eyes for one man, well, one man at a time anyway..

dulwichmum, I'm a martyr for my ischial spines, sigh

anonymous dear, I'm not interested in traffic to the blog, however if you'd like me to put you down for a copy of my book, please leave your credit card number below.

PITK, I certainly don't like the sound of that, even if I could get a couple of good sympathy-eliciting blog posts out of it. I shall just have to add another jab to the shots the doctor gives me each time I return north from London, sigh

M&M, yes, Rutshire's loss is my gain, and you know,you won't believe it but he really does look like Michael Praed in real life. I will order harry halls immediately. They may not be the brand the queen buys but if you wear them then that is recommendation enough in my book dear.

oh sarnia, I'm glad you understand what I have to go through. Just because I only do any of these activities for just one day some people think I'm not sincere, can you imagine that sarnia?! me, insincere, sob sob

anonymous, how can I thankyou for your kind offer. I can only conclude you are some kind of mother theresa, dedicated to helping the poor and the suffering, sigh

Marianne said...

Gosh Rilly, this is almost better than morning sex. I'm getting all hot and bothered just reading it. Or maybe it's just a hot flush. I'd better go and check with my gynaecologist.

rivergirlie said...

"air hair lair" doesn't sound desperately northern, you must concede. could you have found a kindred spirit?
btw, i so agree re e nesbitt. hadn't thought of it before. you was robbed!

rilly super said...

marianne, I hope you won't be ringing up to book any sessions with Rupert, I saw him first!

rivergirlie, you're quite right, Rupert is from a better place, where everyone is beautiful and carefree on their white horses, nobody ages or uses the wrong cutlery, and the north is just somewhere children are told they will end up if they say toilet instead of lavatory, sigh

mutterings and meanderings said...

whispers Grey horses Rilly ...

rilly super said...

mutterings and meaderings, your observation has led me to the discovery of the marvellous world of the horse colour chart, and of cremello, perlino, ivory champagne, and pinto, not to mention grey of course. (It seems that to find a true white horse you need to look for one with a single horn on it's head). I knew there was a link between riding and interior design somewhere!

rivergirlie said...

sadly, children all learn to say 'toilet' at school from their teachers - who adamantly refuse to say 'lavatory' or even 'loo'. never mind standards in literacy and numeracy. they should be teaching our little ones to say 'napkin', and that one keeps lard (or rendered goose fat) in the larder and pans in the pantry