Saturday, 28 May 2011

A Bank Holiday Week-end.

It is the May Spring Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK and our little market town is absolutely heaving with people. It is the Farmers' Market Day, the hotels and guest houses are probably full, people with caravans are bringing them up for the Summer and in addition to all that, it is the run-up to the Appleby Horse Fair. It is nose to tail traffic and no spaces in the car park.

However, in spite of all that we did our usual coffee in The Golden Lion in the market place - a good place to people-watch. We had not been there long before two traveller 'buggies' pulled by horses came into view. I knelt in the window of the Golden Lion and took a photo through the glass. You can see just how congested everywhere is. The buggy owners just parked their horses there, went and got a few pies and pasties from Thomas the Bakers, ate them and then they were on their way again to Appleby.

Appleby is in Cumbria, maybe about forty miles from here and the gathering is one of horse-traders, gypsies, travellers and folk who love the fair. Horses are washed in the river there, groomed, trotted up and down the main street and then sold. It is an ancient gathering and a tradition which goes on from year to year. Many of the caravans have come many miles to get here and quite a lot of them come through our little town.

Our Auction Mart also allows a few to park overnight in their field and my friend W kindly drove into the field so that I could get a shot of a caravan and of some of the horses. Reader I cannot tell you the awful horsey smell which came into the car when she wound down the window. I took two hurried shots, neither of them very good but I hope you get a bit of the flavour of the event (without the smell). There was also a lovely piebald horse but, frankly, there were bits of it showing that I am sure you would rather not see!

I always love to see these enthusiastic people on their way to their annual event. Each year I think I would love to go and see it, but then I think of the crowds and dismiss the idea.

On the farm - Goldie, my most ancient hen, has gone broody. We have cleaned out the little hen hut, filled the nest with straw, put in corn, pellets and water and put ten eggs into the nest. Then the farmer fetched Goldie, already sitting on a nest in the chicken hut. As he picked Goldie up to transfer her, my lovely Buff Orpington cockerel, gentle, kind and very friendly dashed up and attacked the farmer for stealing one of his wives!

However, all's well that ends well. Peace has descended, Goldie is sitting for the moment - I shall keep you informed of progress. As they so rightly say - don't count your chickens before they are hatched. We can but hope.


Arija said...

It is so nice to have a fair and the local traders certainly value it but it does rather disturb the peace and tranquility of a place.

Lovely stretch of bluebells in your header my dear.
Are you well, how is the back and all else???

Jayne said...

The Appleby Horse Fair sounds fascinating. May bank holiday is all about embracing local fairs and pageants. We have a classic car pageant tomorrow near where I am - just hoping the rain holds off! Hope Goldie does you proud. :)

MorningAJ said...

Appleby has always been on my wish list but like you I don't fancy the crowds.

Crafty Green Poet said...

well hope you have lots of chicks to enjoy in the near future!

annh said...

Hi just dropped by your blog from another as you do and stayed for a browse. Lov it, just love it. Happy Weekend

angryparsnip said...

Fascinating post today.
Your quiet town looks very busy but still so charming.

Now ... not knowing anything about chickens, why did you move Goldie if she was already sitting on a nest ?
Is she too old to lay eggs but can sit and hatch them ? so is that why you moved her to a smaller hut and nest ?
I must go google this later today.

Can you please take a few photos of her on the nest for us non-farmers folk ?

Have a lovely weekend.

cheers, parsnip

steven said...

thanks for taking me on my first trip to appleby. i've heard of it and seen it in books. steven

Hildred and Charles said...

Love the caravans, - so much more picturesque than our modern travel trailers with push outs and all the conveniences. I wonder which I would rather travel in????

Preseli Mags said...

I'm another who just dropped by from somewhere else. Lovely post - I had to giggle about the piebald showing bits we wouldn't want to see! We've got a broody at the moment too, but thankfully no cockerel to attack.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you Arija - at the moment I am very well.

Jayne - thank you for calling. I shall pop over the visit shortly.

Yes Morning AJ - the crowds look pretty horrendous.

Juliet - three weeks is a long time in chicken rearing (to misquote one of the US Presidents)

annh - thanks for calling

ap - I have sent you a bit of an
explanation by e mail. I can't take a photo because it might disturb her and it is quite dark where she is sitting.

steven - many books with fantastic photos - probably more exciting than the real thing I think.

Hildred - you can have gypsy caravan holidays in Ireland these days but I think I would be scared of the horse bolting.

Preseli Mags - shall pop over and see you.

Bovey Belle said...

I have had horses most of my life (we only had to sell our final 3 a couple of years back). I have to say, my nostrils are fully acclimatised to the smell of horse!

Someone gave me a DVD of Appleby Fair, but it's not for me - I hate to see the horses hammered up and down the roads and hauled around. Not my sort of horsemanship.

Gwilym Williams said...

It's lovely to get round the northern villages in spring and summer when there's something going on; places like Wray, Dent, Quernmore, Hutton Roof, Kirkby Lonsdale, Ingleton, Hawes, with sheep dog trials, fell races, point to point races, fairs, shows etc., brilliant days!

BilboWaggins said...

I'm with Belle, don't go to see the fair if you want to see happy relaxed animals, and know from experience that the horse fair screws up Appleby completely. Impossible to live 'normally' for a couple of weeks.

We knew a vet who used to work in Appleby who hated the fair; he couldn't turn his back on animals needing treatment and says he rarely got paid either. He said many of the horses and dogs were in appalling condition. Now the RSPCA have a couple of vets on duty for the week which helps but you can guarantee that when the travellers leave there will be a lot of lurcher-type dogs abandoned and needing homes. Happens every year, the ones who don't get sold, or are old, get left behind. Yet these 'travellers' will tell you how much they love their animals - yeah, right ....