New Year's Eve saw the traditional gathering of the Warwickshire Hunt at the manor house in our village. Invited along to 'enjoy a glass of port' I couldn't resist bringing my camera with me. I realise that the photographs in this post will probably confirm many peoples' prejudices about country life - I'm not a supporter of hunting myself and the last time I was on a horse was about 30 years ago. But I have to admit to a secret thrill when I see people dressed for the hunt - the horses look so noble and the fine collection of florid faces, upright postures and refined vowels remind me that this has been part of country life for centuries. Just don't get at the wrong end of the whip!
On a more serious note, one thing that is obvious at this sort of gathering is that the people, whether riders perched on their horses in their finery or more prosaicly hunt followers kitted out in green barbour, flat cap and wellies, all seem to be perfectly at ease in their setting. This is their milieu - country dwellers and conservative with a small 'c' (probably with a large one as well!), rich and poor, gentry and farmers, old and young, they all have that easy way of behaving with each other that comes from belonging to a clan and knowing your place within your community. After nearly 30 years of living in the country, I still don't feel that way, and probably never will!