Hello, thank you for calling in. I continue to be delighted that people are reading my witterings. My holiday glow is fading, but veeeery slowly and gently so I haven't been afflicted by any post-holiday slump. The Olympic Games helped during the immediate aftermath as we enjoyed watching the coverage on the tellybox and celebrating all the medals won by Team GB - it's not like it was "in the old days" when we only won a few and so could remember all the winners' names. Alan Wells, anyone? David Wilkie?
Much has been made of Nick Skelton's showjumping success: at 58 years old he is our oldest gold medal winner since 1908, he has recovered from a broken neck and a hip replacement and this was his seventh shot at gold. Seventh! Now, usually I would say that you have to admire someone who keeps picking himself up, dusting himself down and starting all over again, and I suppose I do admire him, grudgingly, but I am not a Nick Skelton fan and I'll tell you why.
I took up riding when I was eleven years old and gave it up when I went to university, seven years later. This was during the era when the BBC televised the Royal International Horse Show and the Horse of the Year Show and so twice a year, for a week, showjumping would be on the tellybox every evening during prime viewing time. Consquently, riders like David Broome, the Whitaker brothers and Alwin Schockemohle were household names, at least, they were well known in my household, probably because I went on about them Quite A Lot. Eddie Macken and his lovely horse Boomerang were my favourites. I was a little obsessed: I had posters of horses on my bedroom walls, books about horses and horsey ornaments.
In December 1980 I went to the Olympia Horse Show in London with some friends. As we were browsing the stalls, we were excited to spot Nick Skelton doing the same with a friend very nearby - please bear in mind that at this time he was not yet 23 years old, the new Hot Young Thing on the showjumping scene and most of the horsey girls were in love with him. Think Justin Bieber in jodhpurs. As we were watching him, whispering and giggling as fifteen year-old girls do, a girl of a similar age approached him and politely asked for his autograph. He refused her very abruptly, turned his back on her and strode off. We were stunned and appalled.
That was more than thirty-five years ago and the memory is crystal clear. I have disliked Nick Skelton ever since. So, gentle readers, if you are thinking of becoming famous, remember to treat your fans well because some of us are like elephants: we never forget.
Now then, I wonder if the Best Beloved would object if I put a poster of Eddie Macken and Boomerang on the bedroom wall?!
See you soon.
Love, Mrs Tiggywinkle x