Titch: So you've finally decided to visit me, have you?
Me: I've been away. I told you. I came as soon as I could.
Titch: With me so ill?
Me: I kept in touch, and was told you were doing well.
Titch: Did they tell you about my septic tendon?
Me: Of course.
Titch: And I had to have a general anaesthetic. Bet they didn't tell you that.
Me: Of course they did. I signed the consent form!
Titch: And did they tell you that there's a one in 500 chance of a horse dying under the anaesthetic?
Me: Yes, they did. They also phoned at 11.30pm to tell me you were back up on your feet.
Long silence. Carrots provided and consumed.
Titch: Of course, they gave me a private room.
Me: Don't I know it. I paid for it (actually the insurance company will pay for it, but I let that pass).
Titch: That'll be because of my grandfather. He was -
Me: Yes yes. We all know about your grandfather, and it had nothing to do with him. All horses get a private room.
Titch: Hmmph. (Pause.) I hope you told them I'm a vegetarian.
Me: All horses are vegetarian.
Another long silence. More carrots, and much noisy munching. Titch's neigh(bour), who has been snoring loudly, wakes up and sticks his nose over the partition. He too is partial to carrots. I give him one.
Titch (bridle - ing): Those aren't for him!
Me: There's a whole big bag. You can spare him one.
Titch: I didn't rate those grapes you sent. Nasty squishy things.
Me: Well, it's the thought that counts.
Titch: I've ever understood that, myself.
Me: No. Neither have I.
So, having reached a broad measure of agreement, I decided to quit while I was ahead (or at least, not facing defeat). While I was there, Titch's stitches were removed, and he was very brave (credit where credit's due). He'll be confined to his box for a while yet, but best not to tell him that. I don't want to push my luck.
As for the insurance, the bill has already exceeded Titch's value, but I thought it would be tactless to mention it. After all, he has been ill. And I do love him.