Saturday, 30 May 2015

That time of year.

Yes, in the middle of next week the Appleby Horse Fair begins, so at the moment scores of travelling folk are making their way through our Dales with their heavy footed horses, their gypsy caravans, being followed by their posh four x fours and their luxury 'modern' caravans.

Many people hate it and many villages have fenced off their village greens (there are some large ones in our villages) to try to keep them off.   There is, of course, a new law now about fly grazing horses - but it doesn't seem to have any effect.

Our local Auction Mart field always welcomes two families - they are there now with their horses, their trailers, the cattle wagon for the transporting of the spare horses, their gypsy caravans.   I must say that when they move on they always leave everything as they found it.  (not the case always)

The tradition of Royal Oak Day (yesterday's blog) may have died out but not that of the Horse Fair, where horses are raced up and down the streets, washed and groomed in the local river and traded at the big auctions that take place throughout the week.

Not unlike the Harley Davidson Festival we encountered in Lincoln last weekend, this is an event that means a lot to a lot of people, who meet up only once a year and catch up on the gossip.   I have always wanted to go - but not now - too much walking.

I imagine there will be plenty of horse manure for the local gardeners who are willing to go out with a bucket and shovel.   The farmer saw folk shovelling horse manure up on the London streets after the Queen's state opening of parliament - should be more than that - so plenty of good veggies to be had this year on Appleby Market!

I shall try Googling the horse fair to see what I can find out.   If you are interested you could do worse than try the same.


Rachel Phillips said...

You are fortunate that they move on and leave the place as they found it. This is not so when the travellers come here. Great Yarmouth welcomed them for a bank holiday weekend once and the rubbish that was left strewn everywhere was measured in tonnes. They were not welcomed back the next year. We have a smaller horse fair in a town near here and the horses are run through the streets and are bought and sold. The locals shut up shop for the weekend. I hope the Appleby Fair is its usual success and you enjoy the scenes of 4x4s and gilded caravans.

Gerry Snape said...

Alan's final teaching practice was in Appleby...1970... and he lodged with a farmer and I stayed for a week in the caravan in the garden behind...happy memories!!

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

I enjoyed reading your post about the Appleby Fair. I'm having a hard time picturing the "gypsy caravans" because I suspect we call them something else over here.(Ontario) In my mind I am seeing an old-fashioned adorned horse-drawn wagon, but no doubt it is something quite different. Is the fair like an auction, with an auctioneer?

Joanne Noragon said...

I imagine it's the same when any fair comes to town, horse fair or art fair. I exhibited at several art fairs that took over a neighborhood for three or four days. The success for both the exhibitors and the neighborhood depended on the degree of commitment and discipline of the fair organizers. One such fair is in Louisville, Kentucky, home of the Kentucky derby. It's the St. James Court Art Fair. At the art fair the neighbors became part of the fair, knowing rebellion was useless. The fairs made a great deal of money for charities and their neighborhood organizations. And yes, the rules included leaving the neighborhoods as lovely as we found them.

thelma said...

They used to have a famous fair in Priddy on the Mendips, but that seems to have been stopped the last two years. We have 'gypsy' horses on the fields near us, piebalds, pretty foals born every year. I suspect it is a dying happening these horse fairs, the clamp down on gypsies has slowly being going on all over the country for years - pity.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I shall now go and look if I can find a gypsy caravan so that I can put a photograph on for coffee on the porch with me. Usually we see a lot on the roads but we seem to have missed them all this year.

Rachel Phillips said...

On the contrary Thelma, they have never had it so good. If they aren't where you are they must have all moved here.

Heather said...

Another lovely local event. My father would have been out with his bucket and shovel to improve his vegs and roses. A couple of years ago there was a small gypsy camp on a large grassy roundabout on the A38. They were there for a week or two, working at various crafts and tethering horses and dogs. When they moved on all was left neat and tidy.

Cro Magnon said...

There is a world of difference between the old fashioned Gypsy and his horse drawn wagon, and the traveller with his Ford Transit and gaudy caravan. I love the former but can't stand the latter.

angryparsnip said...

It sounds pretty special to me. I would be out and about (with my walker) and looking.
I remember the James Herriot's story about the gypsy family and the little horse who had foot problems and the little girls played with him in the river.

cheers, parsnip

The Weaver of Grass said...

You do realise Parsnip that I live in Herriot country?
The majority of the folk at Appleby I suspect have gypsy connections but now live
in houses and just keep their caravans for the interest and for the fair.
Some in the past have made a mess invillages and they are not welcome there now. The ones on our local Mart field, on the other hand, are know to the Auction Mart and are made welcome every year - and leave the place as they find it.

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

I'm with Cro. I used to know some "proper" gypsies and they were a joy to be with, with great respect for the countryside and other people's property.

Frances said...

I've been at work for a few days, and am now enjoying catching up with my favorite blogs.

The Royal Oak Day is just a bit familiar to me, because of my last name (but I admit that I did not remember which time of the year was the date of the celebration.) I do know that many pubs are named after the Royal Oak. Thank you for joining all these memory threads together for me.

On to the Appleby Horse Fair. I think that I would love to be able to see such an event, and am very glad that it's still going on. Perhaps I romanticize the concept, but as a city dweller, perhaps I can be forgiven.

What treasures you send me in the posts! Thank you!