SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Melissa Kite

June 03, 2020
Virtual contact can’t permanently replace human contact – and sometimes, it can’t even be a stopgap “Have you thought that your brain might not be cracked up for this?” asked a friend after an attempted conference call. A small group of us have met every Friday night during lockdown on Zoom, to chat and give
April 02, 2020
The horse passports go into my pocket as I leave the house, just in case I get stopped on my way to do the feeding. For those of us with livestock, the routine has not changed. We live in a state of self-isolation anyway. Social distancing is a way of life we have already chosen.
March 05, 2020
Sinking up to my shins in mud, I was forced to dig a moat around the horses’ shelter to try to drain away rainwater so they had a dry shavings bed to lie in at night. With the wind and rain lashing us as trees bent double and groaned, the horses began racing around. After
January 09, 2020
When, as deputy prime minister, John Prescott punched a protester during the general election campaign in 2001 it nearly ruined his career. I remember it well because I was a political correspondent at Westminster at the time. I was on the Conservative leader William Hague’s battle bus. We journos covering the Tory end of the
December 05, 2019
Driving north to my parents’ late at night, I realised there were so many lorries on the road that I was queuing behind them. I have taken to driving at night to avoid the traffic, as the motorways have become so busy in the past few years that what was once an 80- minute drive
October 31, 2019
Flying back from a late holiday to Greece, I barely held it together, having lost my dear little horse Grace while I was away. Her show name was Amazing Grace. She lived up to this in the way she galloped so lightly it was as if her feet didn’t touch the ground. The vet told
December 20, 2018
Whenever someone uses the word “natural”, I feel a sense of dread. But nothing puts the wind up me more than the words “natural horsemanship”. Having watched so many of my horsey friends attempting this strange practice, I have come to the conclusion that it would be far more accurately called unnatural horsemanship. Natural horsemanship
October 11, 2018
Ageism may be the last great prejudice our society deigns to address, if indeed it ever gets around to it. This occurred to me as I sat in a classroom of computers at night school desperately struggling to put together a Powerpoint presentation on the Human Rights Act. I have enrolled on an entry level
July 26, 2018
Since I began renovating my house, I haven’t been able to afford to go anywhere, exotic or otherwise. “Holidays? Oh, I remember those,” I say to friends when they tell me which luxury resort they will soon fly off to. Thankfully, the heatwave here means I can enjoy a staycation, something widely publicised by the
June 07, 2018
Since moving to a picture postcard village in Surrey, I have been inundated with kind invitations. The chairwoman of the parish council brought me the timetable of the local Anglican church, which has roses around the door. She reached out to touch my arm sympathetically when I demurred. It turned out that my nearest Catholic
April 12, 2018
“Now it is time to say our final goodbyes,” said the humanist funeral celebrant, a sour look on her face. “Hugo is gone. And we won’t see him again.” The curtain was pulled around the coffin. An uneasy silence descended. I looked at my companion and he shrugged. I stifled a giggle, but I was
December 21, 2017
This could be the worst one ever, I told myself, terrified, as I dug out a moulded bag of tinsel from underneath a heap of builder’s rubble. I always fear I won’t make Christmas come up to scratch, because it has to be perfect, doesn’t it? So if it feels like it is going to
July 20, 2017
The last couple who lived in our house got divorced. From moving in as a happy family to selling amid acrimony, it was barely five years for them. This is a fact that remains ever burning at the back of our minds as we attempt to renovate and restore our little cottage on the village