Polo: Caribbean-style

Polo Caribbean-style on Charlie Polo:  Caribbean-style Polo was part of my life from the age of three to twelve. I enjoyed my weekly ride on one of Billy Walsh's polo ponies. He owned The Equestrian Club (close to the famous Ham playing field near London, England). Over 30 years later I once again enjoyed the instant canter from a walk at the squeeze of the knees. This time it was  on one of Howard Boulton's ponies in Venezuela. The Venezuelan ponies are small & nifty, like the Argentinian ones that Billy Walsh liked so much. Here in Antigua, where I now live, there are no polo ponies.  However,  there is an active polo season on the Caribbean islands of Santo Domingo, Barbados and Jamaica (which boasts one of the oldest polo fields in the world, founded in 1892). Polo is still very popular on these islands and competition remains fierce despite the considerable expenses involved in this somewhat elite sport. It is, however, wonderful to watch and is an occasion to dress up - particularly for female spectators - although a pair of flat-soled shoes is required for treading in the divots when required! This watercolour painting (12x16” 31x41cm) depicts a Jamaican polo player on his nifty pony Charlie: polo Caribbean style. It was commissioned by a friend as a birthday present for the “man who has everything”!

A little bit of Tuscany in Bristol, England.

My best friend in Bristol has a lovely apartment in Royal York Crescent, Clifton (where so many scenes from Jane Austen scripts are filmed). This beautiful Regency terrace is built on two levels: the upper level, pedestrian only, is accessed by steps or slopes at either end; the lower level is on the road, where the entrance to my friend's apartment is. Hers is known as a “garden flat” and can be viewed both from the door below, through the grill, or much more clearly from above, looking down though the railings next to the entrance to the apartment above her, on the pedestrian level. The main alcove wall of her garden was white and bare and uninteresting, so to brighten it up, I painted a Tuscan mural on it (we also thought her garbage can was very ugly so I gave it a bright, floral treatment). The mural (and garbage can!) is clearly visible to pedestrians above and it attracts a lot of attention from passers by, who even stop and take photographs. Once it was included as a clue in a treasure hunt, much to the amusement of my friend, who saw many viewers making a hurried note before dashing off to the next destination!

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