Between Swindon and Marlborough is a rather lovely stretch of cyclepath that takes the route of a disused railway line. Avoiding the snarling A346 this affords the two wheeled an opportunity to flow up and down the Og valley without coming into contact with the motorist. At various points along the path are wee benches and – more recently – some really funky wheelchair friendly picnic tables.
As a lifelong pedallist I have tootled along many a byway and hold this one in great affection. Dog walkers, runners, ramblers do too it seems. As do horsey folk.
The latter group include something of a curio that I – over the last 18 months or so – have noted on several occasions. Specifically that a certain regular pedestrian on the path rather fancies one of the picnic benches as a pony simulator. I know this because the path affords the keen cranker to build up a good pace and – unintentionally – one can rather surprise people who are quietly going about their business. (Clearly, this precludes stadard good behaviour such as slowing for gee-gees, loudly saying “good day!” to joggers/walkers with headphones and so forth so that you don’t cause fright.)
Whizzing past the foliage which envelops the track is joyous precisely because vistas flash in and out of view where the greenery is absent for one reason or another. Amongst the fields of crops and views across the downs you might glimpse livestock, geese, hares, deer, birds of prey. Equally, you might expect to see someone tying a shoelace, a roadside puncture repair, a light al fresco luncheon. However, it’s quite the double-take to catch an individual cantering vigorously on a solid, entirely stationary stout wooden bench. Yet on several occasions this is precisely what I have encountered.
Said person in question is oft seen walking along the track with a pack on their back and – bearing in mind I am a 90kilo bloke traveling at some speed – is apparently not one for conversation. My working assumption being they are a local, keen on the equestrian side of life only – for reasons unexplained – sans filly. Indeed, the only time I have seen them converse with a human is with somone in the saddle of an actual horse (as I oh-so-gently slip by).
Today then I saw not a hammer-and-tongs static gallop enactment, but what would appear to be a customised-hobby-horse-picnic-bench mashup. The hasty conclusion reached? Some kindly soul has seen the above enthusiasm for riding and respondded by providing a sort of static-steed ornament. To my eyes, this acknowledment – albeit entirely impractical – is genuinely touching.
The following are some photos thereof: what do you think? Or perhaps there is a different explanation?