Show ponies, sheep with firm buttocks and a bog

Trip Start Feb 02, 2010
Trip End Feb 02, 2011

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Flag of United Kingdom  , Scotland,
Sunday, May 9, 2010

What a great weekend! Saturday we went to the 'Ayr Country Show' – a great big agriculture show on the West coast of Scotland. On arrival, as we were getting out of the car a lady came up to us and offered us one of her free passes she wasn’t going to need. Danielle already had a free pass so when I scored one too we only had to by one more, bargain! Imagine that, we were so lucky to be in exactly the right place at the right time.

Our first destination at the show was the horses. Danielle knew a few girls showing their horses and strangely a friend of mine and Danielle’s from working together in America was also there working. It was almost like being in a fairy tale for me to be at this show, except without the magic and wonder – the reality was right there in my face. It all comes from the horsey magazines I used to read when I was young, most of them are British so all my dreams of beautiful green fields to ride over, lovely big barns and stables, polished, clean and shinning tack, beautifully groomed horses, riding boots, tweed jackets, gumboots for mucking out stables, horse trailers, judges in bowling hats, show jumping, show ponies, riding down country paths with stone walls, soft ground, and grass, grass, grass.

Everything I have been seeing for the last few days, especially because where we have been at staying (Danielle’s parents run a stable and livery yard) plus now this show is exactly what my childhood dreams were made of. I was right in the middle of my best ever dream. Except it wasn’t a dream. I wasn’t a rich horsey girl with five shinning beautifully groomed horses in the back of my horse trailer/motor-home with a stack of clean beige jodhpurs, a tweed jacket, high riding boots and black riding helmet. I wasn’t trotting round riding with perfect technique and control on my dappled grey mare, about to enter the show jumping and win and I didn’t have green fields and a great big stable to go home to. No, I was still me, dreaming… of what was so close and so far.

So anyway, we watched the horses for a while, visited Danielle’s friends at their mega flash trailers with practically a whole shop pouring out of them, then Felix and I went off together to explore more of the show. We came across the cattle and sheep judging. Here all these weird and wonderful breeds of sheep and cows were being lined up (each in their respective classes of course) to be poked, prodded, squeezed, pinched and grabbed, then awarded a ribbon for the firmest buttocks. No, more likely the best grade wool or breeding quality.

After the sheep and cattle judging we went and looked at the vintage tractor exhibition. This was of great interest to Felix, he was really excited to see all the old engines and constructions of the machines, the most interesting thing there for me was the very friendly lady from the ‘Vintage Tractors Club’ making free pikelets. We talked to here for a while about travel, our trip and hers to Melbourne many years ago.

After the vintage tractors we watched the Tug O’ War. This was no ordinary Tug O’ War. The teams had been training for six months for this event and all had matching outfits and special boots. The men weren’t so entertaining; it was the girls that were funny. I think its always funny seeing a heap of butch girls grunting and making heaving noises. Even funnier was the little blond barbie doll girls trying their hardest, I’ll give them that, grunting and heaving but still just getting pulled along, like the little Jack Russel down the road from Mum and Dads who hated going for walks with the crazy lady.

After exploring the arts and crafts tent where we met a lady with the coolest sock knitting machine from the nineteen twenties and a motorbike loving bee keeper, looked at the baking competition exhibition and bought some cheese and sausage before going outside again to the Tug O’ War ring where there was now mini tractor racing, actually they were more like off road golf buggies. Unfortunately the mini tractor racing was almost finished by the time we got there. Next we went to the prize goat tent, not much to report from there, just lots of prize goats. Same story in the chicken tent. Next we went and watched the show jumping, I really enjoyed this event, it reminded me of the good old days when Pegasus and I used to jump at home. We sat and watched for ages, I loved it.

Next stop was the beer tent. Not much to report from here, just a lot of rowdy young farmers getting drunk and enjoying the sun and a break. Well actually Felix did have a very funny ‘chat’ with some fellows. One was muttering unkindly and almost incomprehensibly about Felix looking like Jesus because of his beard.

"Nah, Jesus was a great guy." His mate said

“Oh, well if he looks like Jesus he must be a great guy too, Jesus was a great guy.”

“Yeah, well he’s a good guy then”

“Yeah you’re a good guy.” They said to Felix as they stumbled off.

When we left the beer tent we wandered over to a massive Tesco where we collected a heap of snacks and random things for dinner to feed our rumbling tummies. We then walk all the way though Ayr looking for a fish and chip shop which we eventually found. After eating a strange and very filling dinner as we wandered through the strange streets of Ayr we drove home, stopping via Edinburgh to pick up Calum from work then fell straight into bed, looking forward to a sleep-in the next day.

Today we finally got the sleep in we had been really looking forward to after many late nights and early mornings. Sometime after midday we made it out of the house. Danielle and Calum took us to see their local castle; we didn’t go inside but climbed up the nearby hill and sat in the sun looking over the castle and the beautiful surrounding countryside. Here Felix came up with a plan. We would walk back to the house – down the valley and across the bog, up the hill, across the farmer’s fields, down into another valley, and up again to the house. Danielle and Calum decided not to try crossing the bog with us and I wasn’t to keen on getting stuck in deep smelly mud but Felix looked so sad when I didn’t want to come so I changed my mind.

Crossing the bog turned out to be great fun, we literally couldn’t stand on the ground, it was such muddy mud we just sunk into it, we didn’t test how deep it really was but we got very close to ankle deep. So to cross the bog we jumped from tuft of grass to tuft of grass, it felt like we were Frodo and Sam in Lord of the Rings, we had to choose the very right path not to get stuck where we couldn’t jump to the next tuft.

When we had successfully crossed the bog, we crossed a very Scottish little stream and scrambled up a steep hill. At the top, as we climbed through a fence, Felix’s most rancid humour was accidently over heard by someone who happened to be taking a rest from their bike ride right where we emerged from the bushes. He very politely acted like he heard nothing of the filth, one can cling to the faintest hope that maybe he genuinely didn’t hear though. After that it was up the road to find a suitable gap in the typically prickly hedge to climb through into the next field we had to cross. For the next half an hour we walked through the lush green fields, met a few cows from a good distance and made it safe and sound back to the house.

Tonight’s evening activity was a big BBQ, drinks and hot-tubbing. I cooked the Cullen Skink soup Felix has been dreaming of since that ‘the one’ he had in Stonehaven. I am very happy to report I more then met the requirements, my soup was a great success, Felix saying mine was better than at Stonehaven, I hope not just to make me happy. Unfortunately I think the soup has not a very pleasant taste at all so I can’t say if it was good or not, it all tastes bad to me. The BBQ was a great team effort by Danielle, Calum, Felix and myself and dinner was a bit of a laugh for me. Danielle’s brother and his two friends joined us, they are lovely but not the smoothest or gentlest of characters, so it was interesting non-the-less to hear their opinions on immigration, race relations, social behaviour, role models and other such subjects.

So now after a lovely long soak in the hot tub we are off to watch some classic Edinburgh film. No doubt another instalment to our Edinburgh adventure will be following shortly.
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Miwa on

LOVE the descriptions of the show!!! So cool about crossing a bog. No time for more from me, I want to get to the next blog!

P.S. You may want to think about coming home a week early!!!

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