Warm Port and a Bit of Cake

The country side spinning past me
Sheep after sheep
Stone fence after stone fence
Rolling green as far as the eye can see
A quick right turn from the left side of the road

I start down the small drive
Narrow and winding
Cows crossing here and there
An old Land Cruiser approaches
Muddy and worn

A quick wave to an old man in a hat
Debating to stop and chat
I continue on
Something is pulling me down this road
This unplanned stop half way through my journey

I roll up to the old barn
See the main entrance
A nice welcome center
Nothing fancy
The old Land Cruiser pulls in front

The old man eases himself down
Waving me over to the front door
Taking my hand and in a firm welcoming shake
I’m Willie, and you?
I’m Whitney

Nice to meet you WH-IT-nay
My name bounces out of his mouth
So much emphasis on the first bit it sounds like a whistle
“Come in, come in” he says
We walk into the front doors of what’s now a museum

“Would you like a cuppa tea?”
“I’m just wanted to walk through the old museum”
He obliges and explains how to get around
It’s just him and I in the big old compound
He tinkers, looking for a brochure for me

I wander
Find old fox hunting journals
Two kilt 23 August, 1935
Warm day, dogs were on
Horses were bold

After a quick tour I’m back in the gift shop
Dusty and unused, pre-season
Puss, the all black, cat greets me
Follows quickly into the dining room
Willie’s sitting with the brochures

“Sit sit! I’ll get you a port.”
“A what? I’m fine, thank you though.”
“Nonsense, have a seat. You been horse riding long?”
“Most my life”
“Me too, you know I created trail riding…”

And on it goes
Story after story
He invented trail riding as a concept you know
In 1968 with 26 Frenchmen and a heard of Connemara Ponies
And on he goes

Half way through our warm port and bit of cake
In walks the doctor, his mother and sister
Just back from a hack
I’m immediately invited out the following day
I stop, look at my watch, it’s time to move on

Brochure in hand
Warm port and cake in belly
Ears ringing from tale after tale
A warm handshake and pat on the back from Willie
I promise to be back, because I must come back

“Good girl” Willie Says
“That’s a good girl”

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