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The Warp

Carol Riding

Carol later came to stay with us at Wern Watkin, a farm we’d bought in Wales.

Carol couldn’t really ride. One day I took her on a mare with a leading rein, me on what they call an entire horse, a stallion. She in blinding white tights and a cashmere sweater. ‘How do you make this horse go faster?’ she asked.

Up on the mountain we caught sight of wild horses, mares and foals, peacefully grazing guarded by their attentive stallion who threw his head up when he saw us and got between us and them. My horse was getting over-excited. ‘We’ve got to turn back,’ I said, ‘We don’t want these two stallions fighting.’

‘Turn back, says who?’ says she, and she’s urging her horse forward, recklessly going towards the danger. My horse was out of control, he reared and I had to let go the leading rein. I turned my horse back for home and I’m glad to say Carol’s horse fancied going home more than having an encounter with a stallion. She turned around and headed back after me and as she passed by with Carol lurching about on her back like an elegant sack of vegetables, I was able to grab the leading rein and lead her to safety.

She wouldn’t be Carol if she didn’t finally contrive to fall off, looking like the star she was, very elegant with the water welling around her in a mountain pool, brown water welling over her white jodphurs and white cashmere jersey.

The horse made its own way back and we walked the rest of the way home that day.

Nell had given me a Mini-moke car, essentially just four wheels with a green sardine tin on top. I had taken Carol for a drive up in the mountains by a reservoir lake. Carol implored me to let her take the wheel.

To start with she drove quite gently, according to my instructions, along the stony muddy tracks, but then reaching a straight stretch going slightly downhill she did the same as she had done on the horse, accelerated along the downward track. We were jolting along, everything jumping about in the open back of the car, me shouting, but politely, that it would be a good idea to stop. The car was careering out of control. Luckily the battery wasn’t clamped in, it rode loose in an embrasure at the back, it leaped up in the air and became detached from its lead, so the car had no more power and slithered to a stop.


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