.....it's the inconsiderate idiots behind the wheel of a large number of cars in this country. The French, in my opinion, richly deserve their widely held reputation as terrible drivers.
On Monday, my week hadn't exactly got off to a good start. The SNO's teacher is off ill, so she had no school. I had to have a blood test (ouch) and make a phone call to the bank (ouch again!). So I thought we'd go for a little hack as that usually works for improving my mood.
I put the SNO on Sky, who, although prone to shenanigans at the start of a ride, (mainly due to not being allowed to stuff grass into her face, which as far as she's concerned is the only reason for going out for a walk) is generally a fairly sensible young horsie. She does not normally worry about traffic, barking dogs, killer bicycles, flappy plastic and the other everyday hazards waiting to scare the unwary equine.
We set off down one of our usual rides, along a single track road through vineyards just outside the village. You can see how wide the road isn't from this pic taken on the same route the other day:
Normally we would ride on the edge of the vines, but we've had so much rain recently, it's too slippery and wet on the grass. Sky kept trying to head for the verge and the tasty grass anyway, and when told she couldn't she took it out on poor Gandalf by biting his neck, throwing her head around and skittering about a bit. The SNO doesn't mind a bit of skittering, as it goes, even the odd little buck didn't have her reaching for the grab strap, she merely asked "were we cantering?". We carry on, Sky settles down, apart from a brief bit of concern over people trimming the vines with those noisy clipper things. The SNO is babbling on, as she does, when I hear a car coming up fast behind us.
I do my usual, which is stay in the road til they slow down, then move over. But I quickly realise this pillock isn't slowing down, so I start to move across, but he doesn't give us time and rushes past a hairsbreadth away from Sky, who understandably objects to this and tries to run away. I contain her, and yell at the car with the appropriate hand signal, but it's long gone. The SNO is a bit upset by this, as she was scared too. But we calm down and carry on, only to come to a house further along and see the damned car parked outside. Not only that, but the driver is waiting for us so he can ask why I thought it necessary to "raise my voice". For a split second I am totally gobsmacked, then I whip Gandalf round (fairly decent turn on the haunches, actually) and trot right up to him and launch into a tirade about his terrible driving, which is sadly far less satisfying in French, which just isn't as biting as good old Anglo Saxon invective. But by then I was so angry I lapsed into English afterwards. They all understand the f word here.......
Anyway, the rest of the ride was lovely, and the SNO and Sky soon recovered their equilibrium. Especially once Sky was allowed some grass :-)