The Farmer & His Wife

John Tay­lor may have won the best prize af­ter all.

The People's Friend - - News -

HIGHLY COM­MENDED. I couldn’t be­lieve my eyes. The way the stone-ma­son who’d come to mend Dad’s walls had been so en­thu­si­as­tic about my ban­tam hen tak­ing a prize at Cu­par Show, I was con­vinced it should have had a win­ning red ticket.

The stone-ma­son should have known his hens – he was a breeder! But no, not even a sec­ond place blue ticket.

I nearly burst into tears. I was so dis­ap­pointed.

I gave a sigh. I’d just been with Dad’s friend, Jim Calder, who’d been show­ing me how to judge sheep.

Thank good­ness I hadn’t asked him to come and see my prize ban­tam!

I wanted to go home there and then, but I’d read that en­tries couldn’t be re­moved un­til 4.30 p.m.

The birds were in cages, on long tres­tle ta­bles.

I was look­ing gloomily at my hen in her cage and hap­pened to glance up. Through the cages at the other side, a young lady smiled at me.

I sup­pose I should have said hello. But I have to ad­mit I was more than a lit­tle fright­ened of young ladies in those days. I was an only child and had no ex­pe­ri­ence of girls.

The mo­ment was lost.

On the dot of 4.30, my “highly com­mended” hen was taken out of her cage, put into her crate and loaded on to my bi­cy­cle. I left the show ground in a de­spon­dent mood.

I’d just passed Pitscot­tie cross­roads and was head­ing for Peat Inn. As I rounded the bend I saw a lassie push­ing her cy­cle up the hill. I drew along­side and dis­mounted.

“Hello, John, I saw you won a prize at the show.”

It was the same lassie who had been look­ing at me through the cages when I was get­ting over the shock of my prize!

Well, she was one up on me; she knew my name.

I’d never known what to say to a girl be­fore. Hav­ing no sis­ters is a dis­tinct dis­ad­van­tage. But as we pushed our bikes up the hill to Peat Inn, I found I could talk to this smil­ing, un­made-up young lady, whom I had never met be­fore.

I learned she had two brothers and two sis­ters and as she was the el­dest girl she knew how to deal with boys.

Chat­ting, I soon de­tected, posed her no prob­lem.

Tact is not one of my strong points, but on that beau­ti­ful sum­mer evening I did man­age to sum­mon up a wee bit.

“Did you have any­thing in the show?”

She had a third ticket for black­berry and ap­ple jam, a sec­ond for scones and a first for a rasp­berry sponge.

But I still didn’t know her name.

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