‘One sheep Willie’, that’s me this week, as we just arrived at the Royal Highland show to find one of our two entries is poorly and unable to be exhibited. I have to admit that it does seem like a lot of effort, to trawl round three major shows with just one beast, but I do have to be at the Highland as I am once again due in the commentary box for a couple of days TV work. This year I have been moved mainly to the cattle section since the last guy got sacked for saying inappropriate things to a lady whilst live on air, so I will need to brush up on recent bovine knowledge as well as my pees and queues! I also have a few hours to chat about the Beltex sheep, my father’s breed. Now the biggest section in the livestock lines, I will be quite proud to drop into commentary that my old man was the first person to bring this breed into UK from Belgium, 25 years ago, and was at the top of the tree for many years. I actually now use his old show box (known as a Kist in Scotland) which still bears the name of HS Frazier and Son on the front.
We have had a good trip so far, completing week one of our six week tour of UK. Our first stop was at a lovely farm in Wiltshire where the millionaire owners had a very nice herd of Red Devon cows, although why they needed four Range-Rovers is beyond me. Then a couple of days with my sons in Bedfordshire, one of whom shamelessly put me to work on arrival, DIYing his house together in time for a new baby due in October. Yes, this author is to become a granddad which I am delighted about, as I will have so much to teach the young one, particularly about sheep!
Then a trip to Carlisle when I spent an hour trying to persuade a well known Ryeland breeder to part with one of his best ewes. He said he would think about it, but then this morning has declined my best offer. Oh well. Our little flock seems to be decreasing rather than increasing in size and quality. Hopefully things will turn around next year.
A quick visit to another farm, the one where our Scottish flock is kept, and then we hotfooted it down to Edinburgh where we will be all week. Unfortunately our allocated parking space is right next to the airport runway, so it is a tad noisy after 6.30am, as hoards of pasty tourists head off to sunnier climes for lager and sunburn via Ryanair. Still, it saves me setting the alarm I suppose.
This year we have taken Haggis (the wee hag) on the road with us and she is coping quite well so far. Now 14 months old she still has the attraction of cuteness, especially to a Fox Terrier from Liverpool called Jinxy, complete with one ear up, the other down. Well that wasn’t the only thing that was up as, unknown to us, Haggis was on heat and things happened that shouldn’t have. Thankfully the vet administered a ‘morning after’ injection, so everything is still in-tact, except her virginity. She really is a tart though, throwing herself to the mercy of anything canine with testicles. Not sure what a Fox/Border would look like but, knowing the father, it would probably be out stealing things after the hours of darkness!
By the time this goes to print we hope to be on the western isles of Scotland, particularly the isle of Harris, where I might perhaps buy myself a winter tweed suit. Ah, if I only I had four Range-Rovers!