I can almost hear the surf and the thud of hooves on the sands at Holkham
Percherons on display.
Here’s a little story about a Glorious Horse called Margaret whom l met in 2013;
Went into the countryside around Duras this afternoon after finishing some important business (shopping for early Christmas présents) to look for something unexpected for the Weekly Photo Challenge… En route we had passed a field containing a few horses, three of which were actually laying on their sides, something l have never seen before. I thought they slept standing up but my dear wife gently disabused me of this notion stating that it wasn’t the least unexpected to see our four legged friends prone on the grass . Couldn’t find anything in Duras that fitted the bill so l thought l might as well take a few snaps of sleeping horses on the way back anyway.
You guessed it – not a horse in sight. I parked the car and walked up the little path beside a lovely old stone wall that ran alongside the field – nothing. As l moved upwards to the next field, where the wall veered of to the right, there was some movement in the trees on the skyline and this lovely little horse emerged and trotted down the hill alongside the wall and stopped, on its side of the wall, right next to me and proceeded to ask me what l wanted. It was so unexpected that she spoke English, here in the middle of the French countryside that l was speechless. I eventually managed to splutter out that l was on the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge crusade to find something unexpected to photograph and was looking for the sleeping horses l had seen earlier. She turned out to be a Cornish girl who had moved to France for the relaxed lifestyle, good oats and stunning scenery but did miss a good chinwag in English and a bit of male companionship. She said the French colts were too arrogant and short on commitment. We returned to the reason for my being there and she explained what had happened.
She said that they had been frightened off by an annoying little jack russell terrier called Claude who belonged to next doors farmer, a rather annoying bully of a chap who only liked horses if they were on his plate. Margaret, for that was her name, went on to suggest that rather than waste my journey could l not create a little vignette of tasteful photographs of herself, which she would gladly pay for by return of post – I told her that wouldn’t be necessary as it was a digital camera and l could send them, tweeked a little, direct to her email account completely free of charge.
That settled it – she was absolutely right, no point in crying over spilt milk, so l took some very nice close-ups and a full body shot over the wall. She also gave me a lovely little trot up and down her path which, l think, came out quite well. Before taking my leave l asked her if she knew of anything unexpected in the vicinity l could photograph as l was rapidly running out of options and the light was going. She suggested that l try the bus stop in the village where the Dubois twin sisters had been waiting for a number 11 bus from Monségur to Bagas for the past thirteen years. Apparently they refused to leave the shelter and rarely showed themselves, except to receive food parcels and timetables from the locals and passing tourists. Margaret said l would be lucky to get a picture as they’re very camera shy and wary of strangers. Well it sounded too intriguing and possibly perfect for my ‘Unexpected’ crusade to miss.
After exchanging addresses, (hers is MagtheNag@pony.expres.com by the way and she would be glad to hear from other expat horses, ponies and even donkeys) l returned to the car full of hope that finally l might get a picture that would be a worthy contender for this weeks challenge. Well five minutes later l managed to get one of the rarest things, a picture of two young women, albeit their legs, who live in a bus shelter. A local chap who was passing and introduced himself as the Mayor of the village, seemed interested in my story and said that Margaret rarely got to chat in English these days and would have enjoyed the opportunity. When l told him about this weeks challenge he proclaimed that the Dubois sisters story was perfect as nobody in the village, except themselves, had any expectation of seeing a bus in the near future, possibly never.
So here is my contribution – Unexpected (Bus).
La Sœurs Dubois
(All the photographs, paintings, artwork and other images in this blog are copyright and cannot be reproduced without my written permission and consent)
‘Triton’ is the mainstay of Chateau Rouillac in Canejan in the Pessac Leognan AC South of Bordeaux. He pulls the plough between the beautiful vineyards and is a great favourite with everyone.
I knew I couldnt afford to go on an immersive course to learn French so signed up to volunteer at an animal sanctuary “Le Refuge Animalia” in Basse-Normandie. I learned a lot, made good friends and had a wonderful time and went back the next year too. My language and understanding of french improved immensely all for free! I have kept in touch and am about to drop in to see them soon.
That’s the way to do it - listen/talk, listen/talk- and when it is about something you enjoy, it makes the learning bit so much more fun.
They’re glorious Norman - you should do a Blog
The horses look so spirited. Impressive, Norman!
Wonderful, love them Norman.
Glad you like them, and you will see them again in the Blog (I hope?) If anyone has read the text only first part, I would draw their/your attention to my comments on creating movement within a static picture. So, if I may be so bold is to ask you to look carefully at these and see how and where I have created the illusion of movement (hopefully). I will give you a free ‘starter’ - the tails of the horses. There are others.
Morning Norman - well I saw the effect, without knowing how you did it.
I can see movement in the horses’ manes and tails, the tassels/plumes/sleeves etc of the uniforms and riding gear - everything that would normally lie flat/hang/stand - is waving/flying/jangling etc.
The horses themselves - I can’t properly describe it - the movement is simply there.
I see the bunching of the muscles and the stretching/response of the corresponding limbs. Well, I don’t know how you do it, but I can see them running, hear them panting and the thud of their hooves.
They look to be Ardennes to me, is that right?