‘I bet Brian May isn’t lying on his back in a field shelter wondering how long it’s going to take for the snow to cover him and whether the horses will just poo right on top of his frozen head,’ I thought.
Then, groaning in agony, another annoying thought surfaced in the annals of my resentment banks: ‘I bet Ricky Gervais hasn’t just schlepped a 30-litre container of water from his upstairs shower to a field of horses because the troughs are frozen and not refilling.’
Basically, it was tormenting me almost as badly as the pain in my wrenched back thinking about all the lefties applauded as ‘animal heroes’ at stupid awards ceremonies, just because they’ve posed, gurning, with a picture of a badger (not a real badger because that would eat their hands off).
‘Where are all the so-called animal heroes when it’s time to schlepp water to livestock in winter?
‘And why am I thinking all this when I’m lying on the ground in a field unable to move?’
I shifted around so I could get my hand in my pocket. My phone wasn’t in it.
‘Fine, so the phone is in the car. And the car is on the horizon, five acres away on the track. And it’s 3 p.m., and the farmer has just driven past in his tractor on his way home. And no one else is coming to this field until tomorrow. And I can’t move.’
These are the thoughts that run through your head when you’re not an ‘animal hero’, comfy at home in your celebrity mansion, admiring the lefty awards on your mantelpiece for cuddling pictures of badgers, toasting your warm lefty toes by your roaring lefty artificial real flame-effect fire…
‘Stop! Stop thinking about Brian May and Ricky Gervais. You need to deal with that resentment and move on. You’re going to freeze to death! Think! What are your options?’
A few hours earlier, I had filled the container in the shower and heaved it down the steep stairs of the cottage. I had loaded it into the Volvo and driven it to the field. I had humped it out of the car into a wheelbarrow and wheeled it to the camel tubs in the field shelter, where I hoped the water would stay thawed longer.
All had been going fine, until I tried to tip the barrow up with the uncapped container on the edge and misjudged the angle. The precious water splashed clear of the tub. So I grabbed the container, lifted and twisted round at the same time and a muscle deep in my lower back went ping. The pain tore through me.
I fell to the ground gasping. After a few minutes, I looked round. Grace and Tara were happily munching their hay.
‘They might notice me later, or possibly not. I’ll be covered in snow soon, with these drifts coming sideways into the shelter. Even if they do notice me, it’s not as though they’re going to go for help like Lassie.’
I tried to move and the pain sliced through me like a knife. I tried to roll. Holy cow! I didn’t have even an inch of movement in me. The sky darkened. The snow enveloped me.
‘I have two options. I can lie here and die. And the worst bit about that is I won’t get an award. And even when I’m dead, Rod Liddle will slag me off for not liking wolves, and for being upper middle class, which would be bearable if it were true. Stop! I need to get over it. Option two: I flip over, somehow, and crawl on my front to the car — about an hour away, I reckon, if I take the straightest route, through that pile of poo.
‘Option three? Come on, there has to be an option three.’
Think Bear Grylls. Use what you have….And then I realised. The ice!
I reached out into the water tub and smashed what was left of the frozen remains with my gloved fist.
Then I pushed a shard of ice inside the waistband of my jeans. ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ I yelled like Meg Ryan. The pain melted away.
After five minutes, my lower back was sufficiently frozen to allow me to get to my knees and there I performed my emergency back realignment manoeuvre. One knee up, one on the ground, tip the pelvis, and bingo.
‘Come on!’ I cried triumphantly, straightening slowly through the agony into an upright position. With another chunk of ice wedged inside my pants I was able to tip the fresh water into the tub so the horses had a drink, then I limped back to the car.
‘I’m just so humbled to receive this…and from Brian! Stop it, you fool. It’s never gonna happen.’