Archive for the ‘Horses’ Category


A Japanese horseback archery contest took place in Cardiff in 1991

Occasionally I look back at the pictures I took in the days before digital cameras. This time the subject was a Japanese Yabusame (horseback archery) event in Cardiff’s Cooper’s Field, part of Bute Park, on Sunday, September 15, 1991. That was a particular boom time for industry links between Wales and Japan and we all loved anything Japanese. (more…)

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Horsemeat butcher, Aix-en-Provence, 1990…

It’s only a picture. In this blog I usually aim to be non-controversial and I am very rarely topical. However, this old photograph has been sitting in my “miscellaneous” pile for decades and at last I see an opportunity to share it.

I took the photograph while on holiday in Aix-en-Provence in the South of France in the summer of 1990, using my old Ricoh SLR camera. Horsemeat is something we know it’s acceptable to eat in France, so I considered this image to be a snapshot of a different culture.

To those of you NOT in the UK, you may wonder (more…)

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It’s that time to draw a line under 2011 and announce my top posts for the past year (figures kindly crunched for me by WordPress) – and three out of five were posts I had published in 2010…

I seem to have the BBC’s Frozen Planet to thank for my top two posts this last year, as again penguins seem to have been the big attraction for search engines.


Penguin of Arabia by Ursula Vernon

1. Designer birds: Penguin

From paperback books to chocolate biscuits and much more besides, penguins are iconic birds. Here are some others I have chosen in 2011:

Designer birds: Peacock

Designer birds: Owl

2. English words from Celtic roots…


English words from Celtic roots were top post in 2010...

This year’s runner-up was last year’s winner – and again it’s all because I used a picture of penguins. The word penguin comes from either the Welsh or Breton
Pen-Gwyn (meaning “head-white”).

I have also posted several other items on the origins of the English language:

The ungothroughsomeness of stuff…

Latin for today

English words from Scandinavian roots

English words from Indian roots

English words from Spanish roots…


White tiger at Singapore Zoo by David George

3. The sadness of white tigers

This one was new for 2011 and is a memory of the white tigers of Bristol Zoo and some information on other threatened big cats of the world.

4. Carousel horses – an illusion of freedom


Horse head from the Riverfront Carousel in Salem, Oregon, by Crossmark

This was a wonderful excuse to collect together some beautiful images of carousel horses, unicorns and even zebras and this post was fourth in my top five for the second year in a row.

Another collection of art went with my post
Fairytale bedding: the Princess and the Pea…


Some 1970s 'sci-fi' fonts from the 1970s

5. Design icons: Letraset

Design and nostalgia combined to make this a popular post. The same elements appeared in
Every poster tells a story

There’s more art and design here
and more nostalgia here

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Carousel horse by Ric Druet - freedom at last...

A horse’s head was probably the second thing I learned how to draw. I don’t mean at the stage of crayoning matchstick people and houses, but later, around the age of eight or nine, when my talented sister-in-law Vicky started to instruct me (don’t get too excited – I never did become an artist!)


The iconic shape of a horse's head, simply drawn, is a chess knight...

The first thing I learned to draw with a pencil was a human head – a woman with her hair up, Victorian-style, although I never did quite get it right where the head joins on to a body. Then the second image was the profile of a horse. It’s so easy, so stylised, that wonderful curve of jaw and arc of mane. At its simplest it’s a chess knight – but let’s hold our horses, as that iconic form may lead to a whole other blog post.

Here I am looking at that other beautifully seductive form – the carousel horse. I always wanted to ride on one but I very rarely had the chance. Instead I was always persuaded to spend fairground time shying at coconuts and throwing ping-bong balls into goldfish bowls.

What’s the (more…)

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