Nov 15, 2014

AN UNSETTLING ENCOUNTER WITH A HORSE BOX

We now spend a lot of time in rural France and our bit of France is very much like Derbyshire, lovely hills, rivers, valleys and villages.  Having returned home from a long spell in France I couldn’t help but be aware of some major differences between the two places we have chosen as our homes.

First of all – the traffic.  Everywhere here is so incredibly busy and drivers are much less careful and considerate than in France.

Second – the litter.  Here the hedgerows and lanes are littered with rubbish whereas in our little corner of France it is rarely seen.

Third – and this upsets me most – how rude Derbyshire people are.  You see it in every activity, every day.  Drivers are aggressive and inconsiderate.  Supermarket staff are unhelpful and indifferent.  Shoppers are arrogant, pushing and shoving their way past other people.  What ever happened to manners?  In France we rarely encounter rudeness.  Polite indifference occasionally but generally people treat each other with respect and they have good manners.

Within an hour of arriving home from France I had an experience which upset me a lot.  We took our dog Lulu in the car to one of our favourite walks.  Driving along a narrow lane we met a horse box coming the other way.  The lane is wide enough for two cars to pass comfortably but this horse box was far too wide to pass anything.  I dived as close to the hedge as I dare, not wanting to damage the car wheels on any rocks in the gutter and not wanting to scratch the side on branches of trees. 

The horse box came to a halt and the female driver leaned out of the window and said “do you think you could reverse back a bit?”  The word please did not come into it.  So I reversed rather gingerly, as did the cars behind me, to get to a wider bit of the lane.  As I reversed the horse box continued to drive forwards and I could see the lights sticking out of the side getting closer to my car.  I looked up at the driver but she looking ahead, not at my car, so I sounded the horn.

She stopped and looked down at me with one of those looks that can only be described as a sneer or a smirk, curling her lip as if in disgust.  A male voice from inside the cab said “ silly cow, there’s loads of room.  Silly cow.”

So these people had brought a horse box down a lane where they knew it could not pass other vehicles, I had reversed back to make way for them and they called me a silly cow when I showed that I was concerned about it.  Why couldn’t they have shown me some gratitude and respect, and said something like “don’t worry love, there’s plenty of room”?  There’s a world of difference. 

As we drove on to our destination I was feeling bruised and upset.  “Welcome home Jean, I thought, welcome home.”