I've also been slaving away producing the long, long overdue postal catalogue on pony books. For anyone who usually reads what is on the website, don't worry, you aren't missing anything. The poor postal people are just very behind having a look at the new stock. If you want a postal catalogue, please contact me. I have a few left over.
The teenager has at last finished exams, and yesterday I took him and two friends to the school Prom. I'd been reading about Proms in The Times, which are apparently now an exercise in teenage conspicuous consumption, with the little loves turning up in stretch limos and spending hundreds on their outfit. Our house eats, quite effortlessly, what you'd spend on a bling-bling bag without even blinking, so spending money on clothes isn't something we do.
I was rather worried that teenager, who has inherited his mother's love of the charity shop and T K Maxx bargain (if only there was something similar for sash windows and Edwardian woodwork), was going to feel outclassed, even though he and I were both very impressed with his bargain shirt and tie buys for the event. Friend 1, however, turned up in what he described as a cobbled together suit (he was right, it didn't match), friend 2 had a new suit but trainers as he wanted to dance, and son's suit was another cobbled together effort: an old jacket of his father's and teenager's as yet unworn new school trousers.
I was impressed by the fact they'd made an effort, but weren't agonising over not having either djs or indeed prom dates, which teenager told me was the thing to do. Neither did they mind their unexciting method of transport - my ancient and unclean car, though I did give the back seat a quick brush to remove the worst of the labrador hair and cake crumbs. The thing, I'm told by The Times, is to go in a stretch limo. I saw three, and a rather fetching E-type Jag with a proud and glowing couple in the back, but other than that, everyone turned up in more or less elderly parental or even grandparental cars. Unbothered by public opinion though they mostly were, all of the lads I took were, I could tell, relieved that we no longer had the ride and drive Shetlands. There can't be many people, I told them, who arrive in a pony trap to a Prom. What a triumph that would be! What a shame we don't have them anymore, I said. I love those nervous smiles teenagers give you when they're not quite sure just how far you're winding them up. A small triumph, but mine own.