I doubt if John Betjeman every attended the Duns Hunter Trials-his famous poem is very Home Counties but I doubt if the atmosphere is much different:It’s awf’lly bad luck on Diana,
Her ponies have swallowed their bits;
She fished down their throats with a spanner
And frightened them all into fits.
So now she’s attempting to borrow.
Do lend her some bits, Mummy, do;
I’ll lend her my own for to-morrow,
But to-day I’ll be wanting them too.
Just look at Prunella on Guzzle,
The wizardest pony on earth;
Why doesn’t she slacken his muzzle
And tighten the breech in his girth?
I say, Mummy, there’s Mrs. Geyser
And doesn’t she look pretty sick?
I bet it’s because Mona Lisa
Was hit on the hock with a brick.
Miss Blewitt says Monica threw it,
But Monica says it was Joan,
And Joan’s very thick with Miss Blewitt,
So Monica’s sulking alone.
And Margaret failed in her paces,
Her withers got tied in a noose,
So her coronets caught in the traces
And now all her fetlocks are loose.
Oh, it’s me now. I’m terribly nervous.
I wonder if Smudges will shy.
She’s practically certain to swerve as
Her Pelham is over one eye.
* * *
Oh, wasn’t it naughty of Smudges?
Oh, Mummy, I’m sick with disgust.
She threw me in front of the Judges,
And my silly old collarbone’s bust.
Today Duns is swarming with horsey men horsey women, horsey offspring and, er, horsey horses with huge horse boxes and general purpose pantechnicons grinding up Gourlay's Wynd hot tyre for Duns Castle where a cross country course winds through the grounds.Tout Berwickshire (not to mention Tout Fife, Selkirkshire, Peebleshire and other shires) Barbour jackets, green wellies, brown jodhpurs, hacking jackets swarm over the town noisily raahing away. A large sign across the road from The Horn says HUNTER TRIALS and a separate AA one repeats the same message. One can imagine definitely disgruntled and determinedly drunken of Duns, no admirer of the landed gentry despite their impressive seats, staggering out of the hostelry, peering blearily at the notice and proclaiming'Hunter Trials? Find the ******* lot Guilty'
(One image is Wales not Berwickshire but authentic enough-wind, rain and in the case of Duns Castle, the odd flurry of snow. The others are actualite but just as the event was finishing as I was reluctant to take out my camera in a windchill factor of -7C)
Labels: Duns, Hunter Trials, John Betjeman