Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Travel Tails

A Rainy day

There are many bonuses to travelling by the seat of your pants. For one, if you aren’t crazy about where you end up, you carry on. We got to Derry and as it was still raining, decided to keep going until we left the rain behind. We travelled all the way to Sligo before the rain stopped, and there we stayed for the night. In our room for the night, we browsed some brochures and were intrigued by the burial mounds in Carrowmore, just a few miles south of where we were. We’d never seen such a thing, and seeing as they were the largest megalithic tombs in Europe, and among the oldest that dated back to forty-six hundred BC, we had to visit the sight. Though much of the site had suffered damage over hundreds of years of construction, there are still thirty mounds left. We couldn’t be so near, and not check it out.
Early the next morning, we caught the bus to Carrowmore. Stepping off the bus into the early morning sunshine, we saw it. The biggest of all was Queen Maeve’s tomb. Rising impressively from the grassy site atop the summit of Knocknarea Mountain, it’s where the mythical, iron age warrior, is said to be buried. One thing we never took into consideration was the time of day. As always, we wanted to get the day started. Unfortunately, not everyone has as early a start, and that included the historical site. There it was, the mounds rising from the grass, taunting us with their mystery, and there we were, gazing from afar.
Just a short distance from where we stood, there was a road crew working away. Tourist attractions had a later start, but workers were already hard at it. They noticed us and encouraged us to go ahead and take a look. It wouldn’t open for hours yet, there was no point in standing around. Not about to ask if they were sure it was okay a third time, as we’d already asked twice, away we went. After we meandered all over and marvelled at the size of the burial mounds, especially Queen Maeve’s, we decided to take advantage of the friendly demeanour of the workers.
“Do any of you know of anywhere to go riding around here?” I asked as we walked towards them, “we’re hoping to find a riding stables close by, within walking distance would be great.”
They chuckled at my question, and one pointed towards a building just the other side of the road, “Right there. A right pleasant bloke owns it. I’ll wager if yeh go over and ask, he’ll be chuffed to get yeh riding.”
As pleased as anything, we went over to where there was a man getting something out of the back seat of his car. We asked him if it was possible to go riding, and he said for us to wait, he’d see if he could do that for us. A couple of minutes later, a young girl came and got us. Apparently, the man we’d spoken to was the owner of the large stables, and she was going to leave her morning chores to take us out on a ride. That’s the sort of kindness we’d experienced many a time on our travels, and it never ceased to impress us. People always seemed more than willing, to be obliging and help us along.
We convinced our guide, Vicki to allow us to help saddle up. It seemed wrong to stand around while she did all the work. After a brisk grooming, we saddled up then had to ride in the arena a bit before going out on a ride out. I suppose it makes sense to check if riders really have the abilities they profess they do, before taking them out on a trek. We didn’t have to do more than a round, and were deemed ready to go. My horse was a big grey. When I had first stepped into the stall with him, I asked Vicki what his name was, and I swear she said Annie. Funny thing was, I was sure that he was a gelding. I mean, people name their animals all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons, but Annie for such a big gelding, just seemed wrong.
“Annie,” I repeated with a perplexed smile even as I took another look under him, just to be sure I hadn’t missed anything, “why in the world, would anyone name such a big boy, Annie?”
“Not Annie,” she repeats, “Annie. His name is Annie, not Annie.”
Now, I’ve mentioned before that sweetpea had to come to my rescue when it came to accents, and she did this time as well, “Not Annie mom, Arnie. His name is Arnie.”
“Right,” Vicki smiled while nodding in agreement, “like I said, Annie.”
I suppose it was one of those things. I’m sure I shook my head at myself, even as the girlchild rolled her eyes. Well, at least he wasn’t named Annie, so that was as it should be, at least in my opinion. He was Arnie, yet another horse, I would’ve happily taken home. He was such a lovely horse, yet Vicki told us that when the farm owner had purchased him at the Ballinasloe Horse Fair, he’d been a shadow of the horse he now was. It was hard to imagine that the big, solid horse had ever been thin, yet I’ve seen skinny and malnourished horses often enough to know it happens far more than it should. He was a lucky horse, to have landed where he was.

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB