Alison Goulding: Bring back Marmite the mule...

Not Marmite the Mule (posed by a model)

Not Marmite the Mule (posed by a model)

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HAPPINESS means different things to everyone but for me it is this:

A big horsey event spectacular halfway down the country with six fellow horsey women, 15 bottles of wine, a lot of herby M&S snacks and two nights accommodation at a venue nicknamed the Murder Motel.

The weekend was engineered by a friend I shall call The Captain who excels at a) buying superb mini chocolate rolls that make every car journey a delight b) shooing people into the right place and retrieving them when they get lost and c) sourcing excellent cups of coffee to derail fractious behaviour.

We made splendid bedfellows for the trip due to an unspoken arrangement whereby she gave me zero responsibilty and I gave her full control over decision-making.

This was very soothing and good for my nerves.

There is nothing quite so freeing as knowing someone sensible is looking after the room key and your ticket and all you have to do is remember to put on some pants and eat breakfast. The next day we woke very early. It was still dark but The Captain was a ray of sunshine, while I lay under the covers gently crying at the thought of getting out of bed.

We had a cup of tea, dawn finally broke and we surveyed our surroundings.

The Murder Motel is popular with skinheads, has no apparent staff, the electrics are disconnected for “our safety” and yet, in stark contradiction to the lack of heating, the showers are so hot they take your skin off.

All the snacks we’d bought along were stinking the room out – the prawns had to go on the windowsill as they were particularly fragrant. But we didn’t really care, since it was so close to our big horsey event where we spent the day happily.

The only sad moment was that Marmite the Mule was no longer in the breeds parade.

We are all long-standing fans of Marmite, who is a total kick-off merchant, but he had clearly been deemed too furious with life to attend and so we had to turn to the Camargue stallion for entertainment, who looked like he could sit next to Marmite in anger-management classes and hold his own.

Dinner was a lovely affair in the local Indian restaurant where one of our party suddenly revealed, rather brilliantly, that she’d been a midwife in Saudi for a year.

She had some very good stories to impart about gin-smuggling and taxi drivers that try to kick you out in the middle of the desert, which helped dry our eyes over Marmite.

The last day was more demos, more beautiful horses and more opportunities to see some very good-looking horse trainers impart their skills. There is really nothing I like as much as a handsome man wearing tight jeans and scuffling with a naughty horse. I don’t like to make assumptions but I imagine it’s the same feeling some men get when they watch ladies mud-wrestling in bikinis.

All too soon it was time to go home. I felt distraught but The Captain gave me a giant bag of cheesy puffs to play with in the car which cheered me up no end. What an excellent friend to have, and what an excellent weekend.