Wednesday, October 7, 2009

King's Troops come to Manorbier

A beautiful blue skied, sunny Saturday on a cliff top overlooking a blue, blue sea and Caldy Island… burnished, gleamingly groomed horses silhouetted against the blue… gold-braided exotic uniforms…and this in peaceful Manorbier in Wales.

Visually it was a wonderful treat. Thirty horses and their riders, from The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery in St John’s Wood, were here for their Summer Seaside Holiday Camp and at the same time to entertain local people with their talents.

There was however a much darker side: although their roll is primarily performing at ceremonial occasions such as the Trooping of the Colour, there is no denying that the object of this exercise was to attract young people to the army- to become soldiers, to fight wars. By enjoying and sharing the visuals am I therefore supporting wars? That is certainly not my intention.

I was reminded of a story of my mother’s: before- and during- the Second World War she and my father were staunch Pacifists- members of the Peace Pledge Union. At the time they were living in Edinburgh in a top flat in Ramsey Gardens, directly overlooking Edinburgh Castle Esplanade. There the romantic Highland regiments regularly paraded, to the emotional skirl of the bagpipes. Coming from the Highlands herself, to her shame my mother’s Scottish blood was stirred by this pageant …she kept her feelings and her shame to herself…

So here are some images of a glistening blue seaside day and the close relationship between horses and their riders… sweeping my uneasy thoughts under a carpet…

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