Thursday, 4 April 2013

Guest post by Frances Garrood

Today's moving guest post is by Frances Garrood, who's written several books and who knows how many short stories. She writes about the 'story behind the story' of her tale A Horse Called Rosie, which you can find in the current issue of Woman's Weekly. 


A Horse Called Rosie
This story is important to me because it combines the themes of young widowhood and a love of horses.
I have been a horse-lover all my life, but because of pressure of life and finances (horses are very expensive to ride and to keep!) I only came back to riding about thirteen years ago. There's is something about horses; their gentleness, their tolerance, their smell, and, funnily enough, their understanding. When I fractured my spine a few years ago, my horse at the time (rather a lively one) was incredibly gentle with me when I first started riding again, almost as though he knew I wasn't myself. After a couple of sessions, he obviously decided I was better, and returned to his usual bouncy self, but I was grateful to him for taking it easy and giving me time to get used to him again. I have heard similar stories from other people. I now have a huge bay horse called Fairfax (shortened to the unlikely name of Fairy, which doesn't suit anyone his size!), and he is lovely. I am very lucky to have a horse, and never forget what a privilege it is to own one.


As regards the other inspiration for the story, I was widowed in my forties, so that theme is close to my heart. I know about the grief, the despair, and the (often odd) expectations of other people. I don't think anyone who hasn't been through it can begin to imagine what it's like, so I won't try to describe it (and besides, it's different for everyone), but grief can be like a kind of illness, and takes a lot of time to come to terms with. Bereavement isn't something you ever "get over"; the best description I've heard is that, over time, it turns from a wound into a scar; i.e it never goes away, it always leaves its mark, but it does eventually fade and become manageable. Part of my novel The Birds, the Bees and Other Secrets, which describes a tragic accident, was written from my own experience of bereavement. I was fortunate enough to re-marry - a lovely man who helped me on my return to "normal"- but my life is still divided into two parts:  before and after the death of John. I think that anyone who has suffered a bereavement will understand what I mean.
I didn't own a horse at the time my husband died, but I know that had I had one, (after my friends and family) it would have been the horse to which I would have turned for comfort.

Thanks Frances. You've had some terrible experiences in life. I think we can all relate to the comfort that animals can bring those who are suffering. What a beautiful horse! 

Frances blogs here and her website including links to her books is here


I'm off on holiday tomorrow - Lake District for a week. When I get back there'll be another guest post, from Kate Long, followed by I hope some exciting news of my own... watch this space!

14 comments:

blogaboutwriting said...

Frances, I read your story in Woman's Weekly last night in bed (ooh, the things I get up to!) and really enjoyed it, both because I am a horse lover too (never owned one but it's an ambition!) and two of my closest friends have been widowed - one in her thirties, another more recently, in her forties. I do my best to understand what they're going through, so your post was very pertinent - and also poignant. Thanks for a great post, which added to my enjoyment of the story greatly!

Geraldine Ryan said...

Such a touching post, Frances. Will grab my copy tomorrow.

Wendy's Writing said...

Hi Frances. You already know how much I love your books - my husband has just finished Birds and Bees and liked it just as much. I haven;t read the WW story yet but look forward to reading it.

Karen Clarke said...

Lovely post. I've always been fond of horses - my sister owned one for a long time - and I agree they seem capable of showing great empathy somehow :o)

Old Kitty said...

Lovely to meet you and your wonderful book! I think I'd not gotten over so many of my traumas in life if it hadn't been for my wonderful cats. Having animals is such a comfort. I visit Redwings (formerly Ada Cole) in Essex and the horses and donkeys there are totally wonderful - surviving their terrible histories with what I see as their innate noble dignity!

I am sorry for the loss of your beloved husband and wish you all the best with your book and stories!

Womagwriter - have a great holiday and stop teasing us about your fab news please!!! :-) Take care
x

Rosemary Gemmell said...

I always enjoy your blog posts about horses, Frances, and I can only imagine how much they have helped in your life. Haven't read that story yet, but I loved The Birds and Beas!

Teresa Ashby said...

I'm looking forward to reading your story, Frances. I agree about the gentleness and understanding of horses. Lovely to see a picture of beautiful Fairfax :-) x

TracyFells said...

Lovely post and will try to get a copy of the mag to read asap. I stopped riding about 5-6 six years ago and really miss being around horses, they are wonderful creatures to spend time with. Devils too at times...

stevie-carroll said...

I haven't read 'Woman's Weekly' for a few weeks. I might have to rush out and buy that one in a minute.

Penny said...

Hello Frances, A lovely story of yours this week, which I've only just read and will certainly read again now, in light of your post!

Fairfax is a great name for a horse, methinks.

Penny A.

Sue Blackburn said...

I read your story in WW, Frances, and it brought a lump to my throat. Beautiful.
A very touching post on Womagwriter too. None of us can know what another is going through or their feelings and reading a post like yours can perhaps help us in some small measure.
Thank you

joanne fox said...

Oh I'll look out for that issue when I go shopping tomorrow. Lovely post, thanks. x

Frances Garrood said...

Thank you for all the kind comments, everyone. Much appreciated.

Wylye Girl said...

Frances came to our WI to talk about her books. I've read and thoroughly enjoyed them and am now looking forward to the publication of my own book in June. Thanks Frances, you inspired me to keep writing!