We just had to head back to Moffat to witness their Annual Sheep Race. It promised to be a day of fun and it certainly had us laughing as we cheered and shouted at the sheep, trying to encourage them to head towards the finishing line.
Each race had six sheep competing with a knitted ‘jockey’ strapped on their backs. Bets are placed with the bookies and then the flag is down and they are off, running, leaping, looking this way and that, the jockeys being thrown from side to side (a couple lost their seat altogether!), down the High Street to the finish line, their pens and home.
Paul got a 1st place in the fourth race of the day with ‘Lady Baa Baa’. I also had a bet in the same race, on ‘Jenson Mutton’ but he was nowhere near as fast as his close namesake, Jenson Button, as he came last. The winner of each of the five races competes in the final race of the day, The Woolly Championship Steeplechase, but Paul’s luck with ‘Lady Baa Baa’ didn’t last and she bleated in second to last.
While we were still in Scotland Paul had to have another go at tickling the trout in a nearby loch and he caught a beauty, a large fat brown trout weighing in at over a kilo. We stuffed it with lemon and herbs, baked it and served it up for dinner with freshly baked bread.
As the weather had turned wet and windy we decided to drive south to find some sunshine but alas the rain has followed us.
On our way to find the sun we stopped in the tiny village of Beetham for the night. The quaint village only had a pub and a beautiful Norman church and it must have been practise night for the bell ringers as the church bells peeled for over 3 hours and just when we thought peace had resumed, the church clock chimed and it continued to chime every 15 minutes right through the night. Don’t think we will be staying there again!
It’s been a long time since we visited Henley-on-Thames so we stayed a couple of nights. I have a lovely memory of Alasdair, as a baby, by the river in Henley, with a sailor hat far too small for him perched on top of his head, enjoying an ice cream but wearing more of it then he was managing to eat!
We took a walk along the tow path, past the Meadows to the Henley rowing museum. Part of the museum is dedicated to Kenneth Grahame’s great children’s classic ‘Wind in the Willows’. A lovely statue of Badger stood by the entrance to the world of Toad, Ratty, Mole and Badger. The tales of Toad and his friends first appeared in bedtime stories Kenneth Grahame made up for his son, Alastair and in letters that he sent home to his son when away travelling. The stories are set along a river bank, said to be the Thames, somewhere between Oxford and Windsor, an area in which Grahame lived as a boy and then again later in life. ‘Wind in the Willows’ was published in 1908 after which Kenneth Grahame never wrote again and became something of a recluse.
Henley-on-Thames holds it’s Henley Regatta every year and has done since 1839. Two crews at a time row the 1 mile (2,112 metres) course to the finish line in a knock out competition until the last crew standing are the winners. The Regatta is an important part of the English summer social season.
We are now back in Old Windsor and trying to catch up with old friends and family. And also back to the friendliest pub in England, The Jolly Gardeners.
We spent a day at Mum and Dad’s along with my sister, Linda. and her husband Martin. It’s the first time my sister and I have been under our parent’s roof at the same time for many years. We had a lovely day catching up with each others news. Thanks Mum and Dad for a smashing day and for dinner too.
As the end of August is fast approaching we can see that autumn is not far away. The evenings are a little cooler and the edges of the leaves on the trees and in the hedgerows are starting to turn red and gold. The hawthorn is covered in small red berries, the elder tree’s fruit are hanging in purple clusters and the gardens are full of bright red globes of rose hips. I remember as a child breaking open the rosehips to find white powder which we used as itching powder on our unsuspecting friends!
That’s all our news for now.
Hope everyone is keeping well.
Liz and Paul x