Spring has begun, the grass is lush, and the crops are sprouting up. A cool breeze seemed strangely at variance with the sun and blue sky. It was a day to ride in three layers of clothes, not any less, though I did roll up my sleeves. Let's give my impending summer tan a bit of a head start!
This particular circular trail led past an abandoned farm. I'd never been in before. But all was quiet, not a soul was about. This was my opportunity for a little surreptitious exploration. I pointed Brena away from the trail and off into the silent grassy farm yard.
One needs to take a little care. Abandoned buildings tend to spawn scrap metal, nails, wire, holes and kindred hazards. The ground seemed quite safe. A tractor had hauled straw bales in there for storage - last autumn?
Silently the spirits of the men and horses that had worked this place turned to stare. A big shod foot stamped, harness jingled. A cart creaked, a tail swished. The men saluted cheerily, for it was the landowners and gentry who rode back then. I greeted them. At ease one sucked at his roll-up whilst the other adjusted an old work harness. They knew their work, there wasn't much to talk about. A plough lay on the back of the cart. Now the crops had been sown, it was being hauled away for overhaul by a blacksmith in the village below the hill. They'd have a pint down there, the two farmhands, whilst their horses ate chaff from nosebags. And I'd head off who-knows-where...
Under the roof carts and ploughs would have been stored. There was the stable, towards the right. It's all on its last legs now. I doubt whether a horse has been stabled here in fifty years so perhaps I should be surprised that any of this is still standing. But I can think of half a dozen rickety old farms surviving storms year after year in rustic decay.
I'd love to acquire a place like this, rebuild it, and keep horses here. I'd have a cottage, just a couple of rooms, that's all I'd need. A little space, horses and a like-minded companion. One may dream.
The spirits shrugged their shoulders. It was just a job, and a hard one. Their descendants work in the city. What is there for me to be nostalgic about? Give yourselves more credit, I reply. But they've gone.