Now that the ground is hard and dry as a bone, and the season of squelchy mud appears to be over, my thoughts have turned to my fingernails. The aforementioned mud is no longer lodged under my nails, staining the skin with a blackened crescent that no amount of prodding, poking, lotions or potions will shift. Cutting down the nail and peeling off the offending skin is the only effective way I’ve found of dealing with it.
Now, though, it’s gone. My nails are long and strong, if very unkempt. It’s a myth that horsy gals don’t have good fingernails; I think delving in all that muck fertilises them and makes them grow like prize roses.
My sister’s nails are currently a gothic purple-black, but I lean more towards the blues. I went to see Marianne Faithfull once and she had the most marvellous blue fingernails. She used them wisely, gesticulating as she sang standards from The Threepenny Opera. As a teenager, I was also influenced by Flo Jo’s nails. I was never an athletics fan, and her nails were a little claw-like for me, but I’d never seen anything like them before. I dug out my myriad-coloured nail polishes and painted my own rather smudged rainbows, hearts and flowers.
Like well-plucked eyebrows, I think well-tended fingernails make all the difference. After all, it’s the little things that count.