Saturday, 22 August 2015

Jam and Jerusalem

Tuesday June 30th and it was only a few hours ride to my final destination at Pat Larsen's stables in Crown Point.  The photo below was taken by journalist Deborah Laverty, who interviewed me en route.

Lady was settled into a paddock while I made a trip back to Port Huron to fetch the rest of my baggage. Many many thanks to Pam Vanaman for so generously driving me all the way there and back in her car! 
 Pat takes me for a delicious frozen yoghurt before I catch the coach to Canada..

As I still had a few days before my flight home the following week, I arranged to visit Hilary Tolhurst, an old friend who emigrated over thirty years ago from Wales to Canada. Starting with a colt and a filly she imported from Wales, she has built up the well respected Cwmfelen stud of quality Welsh cobs near Kemble, Ontario.
I had a most enjoyable weekend reading, relaxing and looking round the cobs.  We went to watch a novice cattle sorting competition which was a first for me...
Each team of three riders has 60 seconds to cut out numbered cows one by one from a group.  They must be herded to the opposite end of the arena in a strict sequential order starting from a number called out by the judge.  The cows did not appear unduly upset by being chased around, and this one seemed more concerned about grabbing a mouthful of grass from under the fence..

  An interesting trip was to the Kemble Women's Institute Lookout, with its memorial dedicated to what amazingly transpires to be the oldest active women's institute in the world!!   I was astonished to find that although I have always regarded the 'jam and jerusalem' brigade as quintessentially English, the first institute was in fact founded at Stoney Creek, Ontario in 1897, followed closely by the Kemble Women's Institute in the same year - it was the third to be formed.   It was not until eighteen years later that the first WI was set up in Britain - and that was in North Wales!
The monument consists of a slab of limestone displaying a carved concrete tea service set for three - there is even a plate of cakes!  The chair is also part of the memorial, and one is invited to 'sit and ponder' -  not at all an unpleasant proposition given the sweeping views over Owen Sound bay.

I was also delighted to meet up with David Wilding-Davies, a former member of the Canadian eventing team who lost his farm in Zimbabwe to Mugabe. but then founded Ashanti Coffee , importing and selling African coffee. We met up at his café in Collingwood, Ontario..
Our connection is that he is a g-g-grandson of John Morgan Davies who built the house where I live in Wales today and his g-grandfather was born here. see   His grandfather Theron Wilding-Davies started the annual 2-day Fayre Oaks Sale so renowned among Welsh pony enthusiasts, and accountant cousin Paul was at one time treasurer of the Welsh Pony and Cob society.  

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