It would be appropriate to separate the topics of Huffers and Bluebells but time constraints keep me from giving each its proper due. Saturday after going to a local point-to-point race (rough description: racing a grass course consisting of a series of about 20 brush jumps over 2 and a half miles on Thoroughbreds and other nutty horses with your knees up around your ears) to say goodbye to a bunch of friends I went up to a local-ish pub where I've spent many a fun Saturday night in the company of friends from a local hunt. This bunch were having their 2nd annual "Huffers Party." Each time one of the mounted field of this hunt fall off their horse FOR WHATEVER REASON they are charged 10 quid (pounds) and all the money goes toward an all-you-can-drink party at the end of the season. Folks such as I who not only didn't fall off a horse but can't think of anything I've fallen off recently got to pay 20 quid and have just as fine a time at this party. There were 40 or so of us there and while I gave the alcohol a miss I did enjoy the passionfruit J2O mixed with soda water very much. Several of my mates there may have taken it VERY easy the following day! We had bangers and mash (my American friends are saying HUH???? just as I did - that's sausage and mashed potatoes) for a meal before having too many of those free drinks. Well, folks, let me say that I've been around mashed potatoes all my life and the plate I was served (as well as everyone else at the table) had at least an American family of six's worth of mashed potatoes on it topped by plenty of gravy and 3 big fat sausages. Yikes, and they say Americans are all fat. Well, nobody complained about going away hungry and I wasn't able to eat more than 1/3 of what was on my plate - if that much - I'm happy to say. After dinner the awards were given by two of the nice ladies of the hunt (you know who you are) and they included some "interesting" prizes, most notably the pair of silver butterfly wings with flourescent pink fluffy furry kind of material all around the edges and the headgear that had same pink trim and looked like something Dolly Parton might wear on her chest and two separate pair of some kind of old age pensioners heavy duty support panties with these big hard hip protector cups on each side, too funny. Anyway, refer to the photos....I'm not naming names here, but it was a pretty funny and spectacular night with one of the centerpieces being a man who turned 40 just a couple of months ago and was the subject of an earlier blog entry (see February) as well as a local estate agent who was pretty silly by 2 a.m. when these photos were taken. Thankfully we were all kicked out of the pub (for our own good, no doubt) not long after these shots were made.
To sort of cleanse my soul after such frivolity I spent part of the late afternoon the next day in a 26-acre bluebell wood on a nearby farm. I was supposed to be walking with the lady of the house but she was having knee problems so she sent her youngest son as my tour guide. He cheerfully came along though I have to think a 31-year-old would rather be almost anywhere than in the woods with someone my age! Never mind, Stephen acted as if he enjoyed himself and I certainly did as we walked among the oak and beech, masses of bluebells, wild garlic and everything else that has decided that springtime is here! Along the way we saw a hare, a whole lot of pheasant and the songbirds in the wood at 7 pm were nearly deafening! Neither of us have heard a cuckoo yet, but that's sure to be just any day now. We were on the lookout for roe deer but though they live in and around the wood we didn't spy any. I was probably making too much noise crashing through the bluebells with my cameras.
There cannot be a prettier place on earth this time of year than right here in good ole Radnorshire in a bluebell wood full of songbirds and very late afternoon light...these are memories that will linger long.
Labels: bluebells, huffers, Radnorshire