Friday, 26 July 2013

Kirkcudbright Country Fair and Crosby Carnival

Photo by Sam Kelly
Photo by Helen Gilbertson

Friday afternoon and Helen, Sophie, Tinker, Casper and myself headed back up to Scotland again, this time bound for Kirkcudbright Country Fair.  We had been booked to appear at Kirkcudbright last year, but unfortunately it was one of the shows which succumbed to the awful weather, so we were delighted to be asked back.  Although it was a two day show we had already been booked to appear at Crosby Carnival in Liverpool on the Sunday, so we would just be doing the one day at Kirkcudbright.  Luckily the Interesting and Unusual Team from Birds of Prey Displays were available on the Sunday, so Benji and I were going to be tag teaming!

We arrived and set up with no problems, and it was a really beautiful setting.  We were right next to the river overlooking an old railway bridge.  The field was large so we set up a good size paddock for the boys and let them wander about to stretch their legs.  However, it wasn't long before we realised the menace of Kirkcudbright - horse flies!  There were hundreds of them!  We soon learnt that the locals call the 'Cleggs'.  I doused the boys (and myself!) in fly spray, but it had little effect - Cleggs are savage!  Over the course of our twenty-four hour stay I must have killed about 150 of them, no exaggeration.  I even got a few double whammies, killing two with one swat!  

Come the morning we were ready to go, and the show had set up some beautiful stands and marquees.  The arena was the perfect size for us, and although it was on a slight slope I didn't think it would cause any problems.  Casper was a bit excitable at the start of his show, and struggled to concentrate throughout his dance - he was more focused on trying to get the flies away!  There's a little video up on YouTube of me vaulting on the excitable Casper, which you can see below.

Soon it was Tinker's turn, and things didn't go quite to plan at the very start!  I was introducing the show kneeling up in prince sit on his back, talking away down the mic and as we were cantering down the slope Tinker (very uncharacteristically I might add!) stumbled.  Eeek!  I went straight over his head, but somehow twisted in mid air and managed to land on my feet!  Tinker stopped dead and I think he was as surprised as I was to find myself standing up next to him rather than on his back!  'Well, that's not in the script Ladies and Gentlemen, we told you you'd see tricks you wouldn't believe, but that's not one of them!'  Back on I jumped and thankfully the rest of the show went really well!  There was so many lovely things at the show, and aside from our photos there is lots on flickr!

Before long we were packed up and trucking back down south, although only to Liverpool so not too far!  We arrived for Crosby Carnival not too late, and were soon in place with the horses off the lorry.  The site is a primary school field, and we were informed that as the field was totally enclosed we could just let the horses go - so we did!  Typically, the first thing they did was head off to the playground to clatter about, before climbing the mound surrounding the school to survey the area.  They had a bit of a charge about, but soon settled down to the serious task of eating.  Standard.

In the morning I took Casper into the arena for a practise, and he was foot perfect.  He was lovely to vault on, and did his full dance and all his games beautifully.  This always makes me slightly nervous, and unfortunately when the time came for his show he didn't behave quite so well!  He did a couple of unscheduled laps of the arena on his own, although he did come back and was very good to vault on afterwards - I just think he needed to let off a bit of steam!  Either that or he was determined to go and meet the donkeys that were there - he's always fascinated by them!

Tinker's show was once again lovely, although I took another tumble!  I haven't fallen off in a show for ages and ages, and then to do it twice in one weekend...  This time it was entirely Tinker's vault, no excuses!  I was at the end of my first freestyle and I usually do a big jump off from stand to finish.  Tinker is very good at stopping dead as soon as I dismount, and is usually stopped by the time I hit the ground.  However, the little monkey pre-empted my dismount by about two strides, so whilst I was happily standing up on his back, waving at the crowd and just about to jump off, he just stopped.  Dead.  Straight over his head I went again, this time with quite a bit of speed!  I'm not quite sure how I did it but I managed to turn the fall into a rolypoly before jumping to my feet and presenting.  I got a big round of applause, and having spoken to quite a few people afterwards it seems nobody even realised that wasn't what was supposed to happen!  I don't think I'll be putting it in the show as a permanent fixture though...

We had so much lovely feedback from people at both shows over the weekend, so we were really happy.  All the audiences were great, clapping and cheering in all the right places, and we met some lovely folk at both shows - so thank you if you were there.  We only got a couple of photos at Crosby unfortunately, but you can see them here.

We've another road trip next weekend, although this one's a longer haul.  We're off down to Byfleet on Friday which is just inside the M25, and will be performing our double act show at Byfleet Parish Day on Saturday.  Then we'll be packing up and trucking back up north, ready to perform at Hampsthwaite Feast on the Sunday.  I'll let you know how we get on!

Love Rosie x

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