Sunday, 29 May 2016

Appleby Horse Fair - the fun begins

It's Appleby Horse Fair, and the town suddenly turns into the wild west as thousands and thousands of gypsies and tourists pour into it.  For the travelers it's a get-together, a traditional horse trading event and there are harness races.  For the tourists it's all very picturesque.  This year the businesses in town are hoping to make enough money to make up for the devastation of the floods, and the sudden arrival of summer weather is an added bonus.   But, sadly, there's another side to it.

I've spent today erecting a fence against horses - and humans.  Unfortunately very necessary.  Last night there was a disturbance outside which I ignored, since there was only one of me and a group of very rowdy people on the river bank, but this morning the big, riverside door to the mill was lying face down on the riverbank and the ground floor open to the world.  In town a shopfront had been smashed in and other damage reported.  It's very sad that this ancient event has to be marred by violent public disorder.  A few individuals.
The horse on the left had to be led through the ford - he was terrified
I love watching the horses being put through their paces.  Today there were several young horses being introduced to the water for the first time - one or two were very reluctant.

Others were loving it.

 And there were the usual family gatherings for washing and grooming.  I have a feeling that the fair is going to be very busy this year - so many horses and people so early (it hasn't officially started yet) is a good sign.
Temporary fix
I'm going to bed tonight feeling a little more secure, with the fence almost complete and the door hammered back into its frame and secured by boards.  The drawbridge is up and the boiling oil on the hob! 

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