What to write about tonight? Nothing spectacular happened today. I have taken some photos and tried the ‘old photo’ effect so I shall upload them and see if I can come up with an idea or two!!
I like the effect this gives to the house and to the ladder in particular, not sure about the tassel!!
Ok – I’m thinking old, I know exactly what I’m going to write about tonight……..I apologise that this has absolutely nothing to do with the photos but hope you will enjoy it.
As you will know I grew up in Wales. Our village was located at the foot of a beautiful mountain, it was glorious. No matter which road you took from the village, North, South, East or West, within minutes you would find yourself in lovely shaded lanes with trees overhanging creating shadows on the roads.
Many times were spent ‘en famille’, Mum and Dad and my 3 siblings, up on the mountain, either climbing, racing against each other or gathering mushrooms. Mum would provide a lovely picnic which we would devour, after which, we children would go and play hide and seek in the dense ferns while she would sit knitting and Dad would read the Sunday papers, or fall asleep on the red woollen tartan rug. We had an idyllic childhood, we were incredibly lucky.
As I grew, the mountain would provide me with stimulation and entertainment and employment.
Now before I tell you this tale, you must bear in mind that this was before Health and Safety existed!!
Sandra (my best friend) and I worked, for a local farmer, we were aged 13/14 years at most! Early on Saturdays and Sundays the farmer would take us on the back of his tractor up to the farm. There, we would be told which horses and ponies were needed for the day. We would go and catch the horses in the field and then climb up on our favourites, I would ride Rebel and Sandra would ride Fury, two feisty Welsh Mountain Ponies. We would then escort the selected animals back down to the village, a good four miles away. I can’t believe that we did it, now that I think back to it! We both rode bareback and all the horses and ponies would follow us along the lanes and to the stables in the centre of the village. There, we would tack up all the horses and wait for the tourists! Normally, Londoners, escaping the city for a week in the countryside. We’d spend the day ‘in charge’ of these poor unsuspecting people. Leaving the village by one of the roads that led up and up steep lanes and up onto the mountain. We would take it in turns to open the five bar gates and close them behind us, once everyone had passed. Sometimes, not even dismounting to achieve this delicate manoeuver! Many times I came a cropper and landed squarely on either my behind or my head….(explains a lot really!)
Come lunch time, we would take the paying public to a local pub, and whilst they had a good Welsh Ploughman’s Lunch, Sandra and I would grab a fizzy drink and stay out with the horses, we would loosen girths, coo and cuddle the horses and dish out Polo Mints®
The very best bit of the day was the arrival at ‘Gallop Land’, we knew where it was, the horses knew where it was, the paying guests didn’t have a clue, they didn’t stand a chance and you know what we didn’t care!!!
There was one five bar gate that gave onto a huge expanse of flat, grassy, land leading to a lake, here, the horses knew that when the gate was opened, it was a free for all! The gate opened and all hell would break loose! The horses would throw there heads back, some would buck and they were off! We would race from the gate up to the lake where the horses would just naturally come to a stop and start grazing.
I never had any riding lessons, we didn’t wear hard hats, we didn’t wear jodphurs, and we didn’t wear riding boots!! I wore my stirrups high and hung on to the mane of the pony for dear life, I loved it, it was the most incredible feeling, it was like flying. At the lake, all horses accounted for, we would count how many riders were missing! Sandra and I would then take it in turns to go back and collect the fallen riders…as the horses stopped for no-one!!
When I think about it now, it terrifies me! The accidents that could’ve happened, two young girls in charge, no mobile phones, no first aid training, in the middle of nowhere, up a mountain. We wouldn’t see another soul for hours! Thank Heavens, we never had a problem and although I’m sure the tourists weren’t overly impressed, I think they were probably too saddle sore to complain about anything else.
They were some of the best days, I loved the weekends. If we weren’t horse riding we would walk! We would leave our respective homes early in the morning (it always seemed to be summertime!) We would walk and walk and that’s all we did… we would walk from one village to another via the fields, along the banks of the river, down country lanes. We would chatter and laugh we would visit the local derelict castle and we would paddle in the brook.
I remember on one occasion we found a dead black bird and spent a good three hours giving it a decent service and burial. We were good kids, and kept ourselves out of trouble – on the whole!
We delighted in making our own entertainment, we definitely had a simple life, we didnt’ watch TV or read magazines. Fashion and make up didn’t exist as far as we were concerned.
As I’m typing this I have a very happy smile on my face, it was a wonderful childhood, I could tell you more but I don’t want you dropping off, because once I start I have trouble stopping.
If you’ve enjoyed my tale, leave me a comment and let me know…I hope it’s put a smile on your face or at the very least conjured up a memory from your past that makes you smile.
Have a great evening.