News from Grandtully

 

August/September

 

The weather has not been particularly kind recently so we were apprehensive that the Agricultural Show and Games was going to be a washout, but fortunately the day dawned fine and dry and the selection of photos here gives a flavour of the event.

 

The tractor parade is always popular and the heading photo is of our local farmer Sandy on his Massey-Ferguson – still in regular use on the farm. They don’t make ‘em like that any more. His brother Hughie is also in evidence in the sheep judging pen – that’s him wearing the red overalls in the photograph on the right and seemingly getting the run-around by a lamb or two.

 

Tossing the caber is always a highlight for the crowd and the cheering when one of the “heavies” gets the caber away in front of him into the twelve o’clock position is always very enthusiastic. We managed to catch a picture of one of the cabers in full flight – they really are very long and very heavy!

 

 

With the end of the school holidays mid-August, Hazel is now travelling on the bus with Charlie having moved up to Breadalbane Academy – we now have no children in primary school after what seems a long time. In fact, Hazel has attended four different primaries in her school career - two in Scotland and two when we lived "down south". This move should be the last!

 

Notwithstanding a period of wet weather we have started harvesting the first of the apples, having already eaten the plums and greengages. Although the trees are still quite young and small there were sufficient fruits and growth this year for us to look forward to the next year’s picking. The portrait format picture shows Limelight and Laxton’s Superb against the wall in the orchard.

 

We had a surprise visit in September from a gentleman called Ian Collie who was the son of the man who was head gardener here between the wars. He lived at Garden Cottage from 1930 until 1945. It was fascinating to hear him stretch his memory back 80 years to his childhood at Garden Cottage, talk about what has changed and what is much the same. He confirmed that the Bothy was indeed the home of the two journeymen gardeners employed on the estate. Ian also discussed the crops and fruits his father grew and in which locations. Interestingly, we have planted pretty much the same fruits and often almost in the same place. That probably explains why we cannot grow raspberries as they have a tendency to leave a virus in the soil that never really dies out. Indeed, we have had no rasps at all this season so will be grubbing the biennial raspberries out and replacing with Mirabelle plums which seem to be a promising crop for Scotland and not much seen in cultivation.

 

Ian mentioned that he signed his name on the door lintel in the workshop over 70 years ago, so as a nice touch maintaining the links with the past, we asked him to sign his name on the back of the same workshop door alongside the names put there by gardeners who worked here over 100 years ago.

 

Finally, the main local event over the last couple of months has been the return of the Logierait market at Peter and Fiona’s Railway Farm. This was always popular and the first event at the end of August was very well attended. There are two more planned for the end of September and October.