Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Scented clematis and gypsies on their way to Appleby Horse Fair

I went over to the Lake District to see some gardening friends and the weather over there has been Mediterranean hot for some days. It has made some plants go over quickly and brought others out into flower, though watering has been a problem... not something normally associated with that area of the country! They have a beautiful clematis with a fabulous scent - Clematis montana wilsonii - that scrambles amongst shrubs below a tall retaining wall so that you stand at eye level with it and the scent wafts up to you. It's usually described as smelling of chocolate but I think it is spicy rather like sweet rocket.

Coming back through the village of Melmerby at the bottom of the Pennine escarpment, large numbers of gypsies and travellers were camped on the green, their horses tethered in the long grasses. It's a traditional stopping point after descending the long, twisting road from Hartside. The gypsies are on their way to the great Appleby Horse Fair, a place where families from all over the country can meet up and buy and sell horses amongst other things.

The main weekend of the Fair is always the first in June and this year Cumbria County Council have a series of school workshops and visits from Roma artists, storytellers etc. in the run up to the event. The Horse Fair is the largest in Britain and an amazing and vibrant event.

No comments: