A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it... We are too ready to retaliate, rather than forgive... And yet we could hurt no man that we believe loves us. Let us try then what love will do: for if men did once see we love them, we should soon find they would not harm us. Force may subdue, but Love gains: and he that forgives first, wins the laurel.
William Penn

Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations wherever you come; that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone...
George Fox

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Week's Help Exchange South of Perpignan

Who is that chevalier?

Kim, René, the boys and the friendly camel
Couldn't get enough...

...of that camel

Isa, the horse I fell off of
An Apaloosa called Nevada
 A day's walk from Céret brought me to Rando Cheval et Chariot, a horse-riding 'ranch' near the village of Palau del Vidre. I was greeted by a big dog that promptly bit me on the derriere, then I was greeted by René, who along with Kim, runs the ranch. Kim is from Scotland, and René, who is a local, is as proud to be Catalan as French. René had a grandfather who came over from 'Spanish' Catalonia after the civil war, so he speaks some Catalan and Spanish, which helped us to communicate to some extent.
Most of the time, Kim is managing her B&B with her mother near Céret, so I was working for René the week I was there. I soon discovered that ranchers in the American West have nothing on this French Catalan when it comes to being tough. René has broken his leg twice while taking tourists out on horse and carriage rides, and according to Kim, you wouldn't know he was in pain by looking at him. Of course, René doesn't smile much anyway, so pain might be hard to detect on his countenance in any event.
When I fell off a galloping horse named Isa (not Isa's fault at all, I just fell off) even though I felt like whimpering and skulking off to my quarters, I imitated René, shook off the pain in my already sore derrier, and climbed back on. Before long, René had me galloping again, properly.
The work I did on the ranch was divided between strimming and using a tractor to plow and cut grass for hay. The riding was a gift from René, and before long I was looking forward to going at a full gallop. Nevertheless, when I walked away from the ranch in the direction of Perpignan, I was a lot more sore than when I'd arrived, and I felt the 20 kilometer walk with a heavy backpack would give me a much needed rest.

Part of the 30+ head herd, which includes ponies and two camels, one of which was quite friendly

The friendly camel  liked to play with a football

As I said, friendly

Cutting hay

Driving back from cutting hay

Parked after cutting hay
Photographing myself while cutting hay

My quarters

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