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.