'History of Horse Drawn Carriages'
We were entertained by an excellent speaker who not only filled the brief of "The History of Horse Drawn Carriages" but who was also very funny and knowledgeable about her subject.
It's not often that our speakers come dressed for the part. In fact, I can only remember one before. I was sworn to secrecy that Antonia would make a grand appearance in her riding gear and the affect was certainly worth the wait. Dressing in appropriate coaching gear for the late 19th century, our speaker explained why each item of clothing was needed and gave a brief demonstration of how to control the horses pulling the carriage with her coaching whip. Sadly the whip had been damaged and she lamented that, although there had been quite a few whip makers when she had started coaching, there was now only one and the wait for an expert repair could be several years.
It was clear that she was a real enthusiast and this came over in her talk. She described the coaches she owns and the competitions she enters. The talk was not only full of expert information but provided us with light humour, explaining how certain coaching terms had remained in modern day language. Our car dashboards are a follow-on from the protection from mud as horses dash away and when we "drop off" to sleep, it has it's origins of literally dropping off the coach as sleep overtakes with the onset of hypothermia when on the outside. Who would have thought it?
With many more snippets of interesting links with coaching, there were certainly none of our audience who dropped off. Thanks Antonia!