I was going to start off with “It’s that time of year again!” but it’s been and gone now! Being with Eunice, Keith and Ken in Moffat meant that we missed seeing the Wednesday night ride-out round the boundaries of the town, and the cavalcade of horsemen and women crossing the ford at Haylodge Park, following the Cornet, the leading man, and his party. “Safe oot! Safe in!” That’s quite a sight! Well, there’s always next year.
However, on the Friday night when I returned home after saying “Not goodbye, just So long!” to my Kiwi friends, I joined with some of the staff of the British Heart Foundation shop to take part in the fancy dress parade. We were, individually… warm hearted, faint hearted, broken hearted, half hearted, cold hearted, heavy hearted and chicken hearted, with a couple of Queens of Hearts thrown in! The manageress and her assistant couldn’t decide which was to be the Queen so both were! Somehow we didn’t manage to be in the competition, but we did get to parade along the High Street and round some of the back streets to return once more to the High Street and back to the Green where we’d started from. It was actually a lot of fun, waving to friends, and anyone else really, with the traditional Hur-ray”shouted between!
These are the doggy walkers. Can you spot the real dog?
Then the dig at the English world cup football team. They said they were coming home , and they did, in fact the very next day, a lot sooner than they thought.
These oversized leprechauns were in honour of Ryan, – could he be an Irishman perhaps - the guy who got his 4x4 stuck under the Cuddy footbridge earlier this year – see Talk of the town!
Saturday morning saw the children parading to the church steps, the arrival of the Beltane Queen to sit on her throne and be crowned by a worthy lady townswoman - Catherine, this year, one of my former work colleagues from a few years ago. After all the pomp and circumstance, the kids in their traditional fancy costumes head off to join their float – I should think that all the lorries/trucks in the town are inveigled into service – for the Grand Parade.
Pipe bands from Peebles, Innerleithen, Galashiels, Coldstream and Penicuik also took part this year, as did the Peebles Silver Band,
toys, children from other lands, archers….. I can’t think of them all. All were cheering - “Hur-ray! Hur-ray!” You have to have that break in the word indicated by the hyphen or it doesn’t sound right, Beltane style! - and sweets/candies were being thrown from the crowd to the children in the floats. The floats tour around the streets of the town for folk who can’t come down to the town centre, and another “fording” takes place across the little Cuddy Burn to the north side of Peebles. People still gather by the edge of the route to wave and cheer and throw sweeties, and finally the cavalcade meets up again with the bands for a final march along the High Street. The children are usually a bit overwhelmed by all the excitement by this time and have given up cheering, though there are still a few tentative waves to the remaining crowds!
But hey! How could I forget the Rugby Club boys who get dressed up to entertain the folk waiting in the High Street for the parade’s return! It is always a laugh to see the wigs, balloon boobs, tights and high heeled shoes, etc. as they perform their dance routine to loud music carried with them as they move along the High Street.
And then it is all over! In the afternoon, the kids can go to the fairground – the Shows – in Victoria Park and later, in the evening, the pipe bands assemble once more to “beat the retreat” that indicates the end of the week’s festivities! (I missed that, as I was up in Edinburgh by then.) By early Sunday morning the bunting, flags and banners have disappeared, and the High Street looks as it usually does once more. How the bunting hanging across the street brightened the place up. Well, it’s gone now… until next year! “Ah well, then,” as one Peeblean puts it, “Soon be Christmas!
Oh, not too soon! Pleeeeeease!
Talk again soon!