OCTOBER 2006 I get up. I leave the flat in good time, to do some errands in town, maybe meet a friend for a cuppa, and eat [usually, unspeakably, to my abject horror, as if it’s beyond my control, at McDonalds] and in my morbid fear of missing the number 63 bus at 13.00, I stand in O’Connell Street for half an hour.

I listen to my Horseplay playlist on my iPod.

I pace up and back: there are loads of buses that use this stop, floods of them, and I nearly stand on the centre line to make sure I don’t miss the bus.

I can’t miss the bus.

The bus arrives. I get on. It’s an hour’s journey to the yard, a ten minute walk up the road and the drive, and I have an hour to hang in the barn, and to watch the other lessons, the little girls, and the big girls: the intermediate women, who I envy as I’ve envied no one since the girls whose hair looked exactly like Farrah fucking Fawcett Majors’. Argo is often working so we don’t get to have a chat, which is too bad, it’s nice to hang out with him on the ground.

The two o’clock lesson ends. By now, I confidently march up to Argo and take his reins from the Polish girl who loves him too. He throws his head around a bit— Who is this? Someone else? Who? Oh, okay— and rubs his face on my butt. Nikki brings the block over and I mount. I can adjust my stirrups now, by myself, from the saddle. I sit, tall, and it’s going to be another great hour, the hour that makes the rest of the day— the rest of the week— manageable, perfect, six days ‘til the next perfect hour, and who knows? It may be the most perfect hour yet.