I once worked at a Shire Horse Centre in Lincolnshire.
On arrival it was my job to bring in the giant horses from the paddock to their stables.
I would go over to the gate and these massive horses would come galloping at full trot towards me. Then they would suddenly put on their breaks amidst flying dust. I always thought they would burst straight through the wooden five bar gate. However they were very gentle in nature.
I would hold a bridle in each hand and we would slowly walk to the stables.
I love the sound of horse hooves and especially horses going through water. I believe it to be a past life experience as I have had visions of myself with horses in America.
Considering the fact that I am scared of horses, although I did not tell my boss this, I was very pleased to be able to walk these gentle giants to their day time abode, ready for the daily visitors. Yes, I am frightened of horses, however I am less frightened of Shires for some reason. maybe it is because they give you the impression of be slower and calmer than, say, a racehorse.
My other job here was in the cafe.
Now, I found customers, on the whole quite rude. They would point to what they wanted, or place a bar of chocolate and their money on the counter and never say a word. No please or thank you left their lips. Some days this would really get me down. It would always be a surprise if a customer actually spoke to me! This is why, today, I always talk to the people at the tills whenever I shop. They are told to chat with customers because, for some people, this is the only interaction they may have in a day or even a week.
On one particular occasion a shop assistant asked me how I was and I said 'fine thank you' and then asked her how she was. She looked at me in utter astonishment, as if she had never been asked this question, by a customer, before.
At the Shire Horse Centre there were special days set aside for coach parties and other parties. On one of these particular days a group of severely disabled people came to the centre. Several of them were in reclining wheelchairs. One of the helpers caught my eye by the way she was dressed. Her whole outfit was jet black and her hair was purple. She had just about every part of her face pierced as well. I wondered how on earth someone such as she had got a job looking after a disabled person.
The young lady of about twenty came over to the cafe and I could see that her tongue was also pierced and the piercing hung down over her bottom lip. When she spoke the piercing and her tongue went in and out, just like a snake's tongue.
However, when this young lady did speak she had the softest, politest voice and manner that anyone could imagine. Her personality was the opposite of her harsh looks.
This was definitely a lesson for me, that day, to never judge a book by its cover.
Copyright Barbara Burgess 2016
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