The heat and glorious sunshine (as well as sense of community) reminded me of the county fairs from my childhood in Southern Illinois, even though the funnel cakes, lemon shake ups and corn dogs were conspicuous by their absence.
However, there were plenty of gorgeous dogs of the canine variety – every shape and size. Now that Charlie Papillon is gaining more confidence, he greeted several of them. It was also lovely to see so many young people showing off their skills in the ring.
The Quack Commandos team from the Trossachs featured the awesome skills of the border collie herding Indian Runner ducks as an alternative to sheep. It seems ducks became a stand-in when foot and mouth disease meant movement of livestock was restricted.
We were mesmerised by the equestrian vaulting team – how they make the jumps and turns look so effortless and the sheer beauty of the horses twisting, turning and leaping. The dedication of the young riders was certainly evident.
Perhaps it’s a vestige of my upbringing, but I’ve always had a passionate love of . . . tractors, and there were some beauties on display at Haddington – modern, state of the art to vintage machines from between the wars.
The highlight for me was the immaculately restored brilliant orange 40’s era Allis Chalmers, both for the patience and loving care that went into it and the fact my mum had a similar (though sadly decaying) version in her back garden (long story!)
It was a joy to see the shiny tomato red livery of the latest Case IH machines. I have abiding, strangely pleasing early memories of the hum of International Harvester tractors and equipment traversing the hot, flat fields. I also commandeered my elder brother’s miniature set of IH farm machinery – inadvertently jamming the elevator baler with a piece of chewing gum.
Perhaps it’s a good thing we ran out of time before seeing all the stalls and displays with their tempting locally-produced food and other wares, but we couldn’t resist a rye and caraway loaf from the the Bakery Dunbar (and it was delicious as cheese on toast!)
Looking forward to next year already!
Prints and products from the images above are available to order here.