Why do I blog? Well, I started, I think, because it seemed like everyone was doing it. Therefore it must be easy. I soon discovered I couldn’t be bothered writing up what I’d been doing each day but I was getting something undefined out of it so I cottoned on to the picture-a-day idea. Turns out I’m not so good at that one either, but I like taking pictures of the life going on around me so I’ve kept up some intermittent activity. Today’s picture is of the Derby House stand at Burghley Horse Trials, where Katie Price, aka Jordan the glamour model, launched a new clothing range.

However something has been niggling at me. All these country pictures I take are only a small part of my life. I live in town now; have done for the last 20 years since I got married. I worry that I’m trying to pretend I’m still a country person. Why I worry I’m not entirely sure, as I always will be a country person to some extent, regardless of where I live. I may end up living back among the fields someday, just not any time soon. And besides, I don’t want to be only a country person – no offence to those who are happy to be exactly that. There’s a sense of peace, comfort and rightness to wandering around fields and working with animals, but at the same time I’m aware that I’m not firing on all cylinders. These are the cylinders that power up when I’m in the university library with a clear head, or on a national strategic or research committee with a squad of quick-thinking, like minded souls and brains. If I don’t let them fire regularly I slowly slide into mood swings and depression, regardless of how much glorious country life I indulge in. I really really need to get my balance right between intellectual stimulus and sitting in a field breathing in the sweet smell of horse.

The event that brought these thoughts to a head was Burghley Horse Trials. M’husband and I spent a few days there last week. We’ve been before and really enjoyed ourselves, but this visit I felt very out of place. Burghley is a bit like a country house weekend for the Historically Horsey Fraternity. For anyone not British, this is one of those weird social class divisions we have: upper class, or upper middle, devoted to country pursuits like hunting, shooting and fishing. The weather on Friday was lousy, and the place was awash with waxed jackets, tweed and Dubarry boots. If you actually get round to talking to individuals they are generally lovely people, but the uniform is intimidating even if you have no intentions of wearing it. I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t there to find a tribe to belong to (or a new waxed jacket) but because I love horses and horse sports.

Another outsider at Burghley was Katie Price, aka Jordan the glamour model, who was launching a new clothing range for Derby House. She’s also been selected as the face of a new campaign to get British youth into horse sports ready for the 2012 Olympics. Here’s another shot of the Derby House stand at Burghley, with pink balloons galore, ready for the launch:

Katie’s come in for some stick from certain sections of the equestrian community as not having the right image. Not everyone is against her though, and more people should read Simon Barnes, columnist on The Times, who writes lyrically about horses, sport and country life. Here’s a quote from Simon: “Horsiness is not about social class. Horsiness exists for itself alone.” I would have bought something to show solidarity with Katie, but pink and diamante really isn’t me.

Then, after husband and I had fled the relentless rain and were curled up on the bed in our (lovely, warm and dry) caravan reading the newspaper, I came across an article about Hardeep Singh Kohli. Hardeep, who is best known in the UK as a standup comedian and occasional roving reporter for The One Show, has written a book called Indian Takeaway: One Man’s Attempt to Cook His Way Home. The newspaper interview, and his book, attempt to show how all the random parts of his upbringing and personality combine to produce the person. Hardeep has to work out how to be a Sikh with a Scots upbringing, an excellent sense of humour and a love of British food. To me, these seem like a bunch of distinctly different ‘tribes’  with very little overlap. So it should be relatively easy for me to combine country, town and city, plus horsiness, wife-and-mothering, and academia.

I hope this makes some sense. What it boils down to is: I need to post more pictures of my town and city life. I also need to give the town and city parts of my life more weight and significance as I try to manage my time.