The Farmer & His Wife
John Taylor may have won the best prize after all.
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.