Sunday, 17 August 2008

A Tribute to "Stuarty"

I hope you do not mind but before I add anything else to my blog today, I would like to pay tribute to one of our friends who died last Tuesday.
We only found out yesterday evening from another friend that "Stuarty" those of you who knew him will no who he is from Skye died last Tuesday.
I do not know the full details as to how he died.
Stuarty was one of the nicest quietest most modest people you would ever want to meet, he had a bit of mischief in him and at 60 years of age it seems a great waste.
I first met Stuarty in the Torlundy Auction Mart in Fort William about 8 years ago, after I bought a heifer through the ring that was Effie, she was the rowan heifer who I have mentioned a few times in my blog previously.
After I had bought her my husband and I went to see the previous owner who we found out was called Stuart Nicholson or "Stuarty" as he liked to be called, we give him a lucks penny, this is something most buyers do when they purchase a beast through the ring they give something back to the seller for luck, usually £5 or £10.00.
Anyway Stuarty did not want to take the lucks penny, but we told him we would be highly offended if he did not take it.
He told us about Effies history and her mother and he said he knew we would be good to her, which we have been even though she has been bad to us with her temperish ways we would not part with her.
Every time we seen Stuarty after that at the market he would make a bee line for us asking how his heifer was doing, I started taking photographs down to the mart for him to see her and also pictures of her off-spring, we would also let him know when any of her off-spring where at the sale, so he could go over to take a look at them.
He had a big soft heart and would shead a tear on the odd occasion when he looked at the photograph, saying I was a kind kind woman with a good heart.
I think Stuarty was of the same stature a good man gone for ever never to be replaced.
He loved his animals as we love ours with passion, and he was happy that his heifer went to a good home.
Stuarty also had a mischievous side to him and although he was not married liked the ladies, and was not adverse to tweaking my bottom as well as any other poor unsuspecting female that came within his sights.
We missed him at the last sale for what ever reason I do not know, I cannot remember even if he was there at all, but it would have been nice to spend the time catching up with him again.
We never know what is around the next corner for any of us, life is to short and sometimes very cruel, that is why there is no point in brooding over spilt milk, or holding grudges or arguing with one another, because you never know when you will get your calling.
I for one will miss Stuary as will many others who were his friends we will all miss the chatter and laughter we had with our great friend from Skye.
Stuarty I hope you are in heaven tonight watching over your friends and making new ones too, but please don't tweak the angels bums, and if you have to do it, do it with that mischievous look you have, they will laugh all night.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Here we go again

Well here we go again, August has been a busy time for us so far.
We have been showing at both the Black Isle Agricultural Show and the more local Strontian Agricultural Show.
We were meant to show at the Lorn Agricultural Show on the 2nd August but the weather was against us from the start, there was high winds and heavy rain so we did not want to cause the animals any undue stress with the long journey.
Luckily the Black Isle Show day was forecast for better weather it was held on Thursday 7th August.
I took three days holiday from Wednesday to prepare the sheep we were going to be exhibiting.
We spent all of Wednesday washing clipping and preening the one's we were going to show.
We decided to take Myran and her ewe lamb Chirsty and her Ram from last year Craigy now a one shearing Ram.
We also decided on Babs a Gimmer (a Gimmer is a sheep that is between a lamb and a ewe sheep) and Raff the Tup lamb. (Tup is a ram lamb).
Well we had to set of at 4.00am in the morning as all entries had to be on the field by 8.00am
So you can imagine it was a long day for all involved, one of our friends went along to lend a helping hand as he had never been before, so it was a bit of an eye opener for him.
We used to enter in the Crofters section an did really well, but we were asked to compete in the North Country Cheviot Hill Section instead so we did.
The entries in the individual sections were large on average 18 exhibits in each section, mostly big estates and large farms and a couple of crofters.
We were little fish in a very big pond, needless to say we were up against it and we knew it.
Well the crofters never even got a ticket all the big names were in the driving seat.
So I am not ashamed to say this little fish will not be swimming in the big pond for a while yet ;-)
I was put well and truly in my place and some people like to let you know that in their eyes you are not worthy of swimming in the big pond.
But that's life we all have to start somewhere, just as they did once upon a time and probably were made to feel the same way too, what short memories people do have.
Anyway we were not ashamed of our little flock they did us proud and strutted their stuff, and comments by the audience were warmly received, but then they are not the judge on the day if they were we would have got at least one ticket ;-)
The weather stayed dry except for a little shower that passed over in the late afternoon.
Once the judging had finished and our animals settled down we had a wander around the show ground, our friend picked up a few bargains as did we, there is normally something you can find that you have always wanted at these big events.
There was plenty of stalls to draw you in and browse around.
We went to have a sit down meal in the large food tent, it was very enjoyable, after that we watch the sheep shearing competition, one competitor sheared 8 sheep in 6 minutes 14 seconds, that's some going it takes me half an hour at least to do one Ha Ha.
Anyway we had our fill enjoyed the day and loaded up at 4.00pm as the exhibits could not be removed until then.
We arrived hove at about 8.00pm, once the animals were fed and tucked up for the night that was us, done in and ready for bed.

Strontian Agricultural Show was held on Saturday the 9th August.
We were showing a Heifer called April who as you can guess was born last April, she is a beautiful Charolais cross sandy coloured with a white blaze on her face, we spent the night before cleaning and trimming her up.
We also took two Gimmer's Babs and Poppet the twins from last year, Nelly and Raff twins from this year, Craigy the ram and wee Rabbie the Tup lamb.
My husband was showing the heifer I was in with the rest of the family;)
The cattle classes were well entered and there were some fine exapmples of the breeds on show.
April our Heifer did really well coming first in her class and third overall being beaten by another Heifer.
The Heifer was later beaten by the Texel ram for the overall Show champion.
All of the classes for the sheep were well entered with over 15 entries in some sections, I was really surprised after the lows of the Black Isle I got a first and second for Raff and Rabbie the Tup lambs, poor Rabbie was pulled out first but was swapped over with Raff, I said "poor Rabbie you got demoted " and everyone laughed.
Nelly the ewe lamb got a first in her class of about 16, Babs also got first in her class and was runner up along with a ewe sheep, Raff and Nelly to the Texel Ram that won the overall sheep and show.
Craigy the ram came second to the eventual overall Texel.
Poor Poppet never got a place, never mind we still love her she will come good yet she has the potential and the style, she is just a little bewildered by it all as it is only her second time out.
When it was all over we had a wander around, I could see Craigy laying down as usual he is not put out by all the fuss I think he enjoys all of the attention really.
We went over to check on them wee Rabbie was making a racket as usual, Craigy gave a deep Baa and Rabbie went quiet? It was just like the older said to the younger " Just sit down and relax we'll be going home soon so stop complaining" ; )
Any way that's the Lows and the Highs for now.
Our last outing or the year showing will be Lochaber on the 23rd August, so we might see you there if not I will let you know how we did.
I have posted slide shows of both Back Isle and Strontian for you to see some of the competitors.

Thank You to Iain from Nairn

This is a big hank you to Iain Fairweather from Nairn.
Iain kindly allowed me to use some of the photographs that he had taken at the Nirn Agricultural Show this year, after my camera decided to play up.
He kindly got in touch with me to offer some assistance.
Iain is a professional photographer in Nairn and also manages the visit Nairn site.
I have added his links as a thank you for his help.
I have posted some of the pictures in the slide show opposite, but the one I wanted you all to see was the picture of the two old age pensioner mannequins that were on display at the Nairn Show.
As I said previously the person who thought them up should have got an award for ingenuity.