Appleby Fair June 2011
Fine Bowtops Frisking the Sward - part 2
John Pockett - Vardo Artist & Historian
There were plenty of waggons at another village fairly close to Appleby on a different road.This village is where I stopped with a friend of mine last year and once again there were only waggons. It's interesting that no traders were to be seen.
There was one chap present whom I met earlier this year. He has built a nice Bill Wright copy, and his lady friend has also painted a waggon.
It's good to see young people showing interest doing this work. So it does look like things will carry on in the future.
There was a red-painted waggon with an unusual winter scene painted on one side of the waggon; I think the other side had a summer scene.
This waggon was painted by a good friend of mine called Maggie who paints in the North Shropshire area.
The following day was the first day of Appleby, which was Thursday. A very ornate waggon was built by Phil Jowett of Bentham near Lancaster.
He has built many waggons of a very fine quality. This is one of his latest and was the talk of the fair. It is a Bill Wright pot waggon copy and has been fabulously carved and painted.
The paintwork was by Yorkie Greenwood and in quite unusual colours: heavy colours of a very dark green and maroon unders, but it worked really well.
Yorkie's decorations are breathtaking, and he just gets better every time. Like Jowett, he proves you can still create the pure magic of rich colour and beauty of Gypsy waggons
It was lovely to see a very old waggon, a George Cox of Hereford. I don't know who has done the work on this but it was very well done.
Myself and Yorkie Greenwood very much admired how the paintwork was done, more in the old original style of not over-elaborating the decoration, and it looked very well.
Two more Jowett waggons were a full size van and a half-size one to match in every way. These were also painted by Yorkie, and I later heard of a fabulous price paid for these two waggons.
On the whole the weather was very good at Appleby this year. It was a bit overcast on the Wednesday, sadly when all the waggons were on the move, but Thursday was fine.
Friday was a very warm day, and the town was really busy. Saturday was also packed, and it was the last day I spent at the fair.
Near where they run the horses up and down is a little white farm house. The owners are very entrepreneurial, and they sell cups of tea and cakes and sandwiches from one of their buildings.
It was a good fair and an enjoyable Appleby. There wasn't too much trouble to see, but I must say the Saturday was so busy, and there's so much publicity now, that I'm afraid it's too much the amount of people that get there. It rather spoils the fair.
There is talk that they may be able to change the dates of it or work it in a different way so that the main fair is held on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Wednesday being the main day. As I've emphasized in the past, by Wednesday these days there is nothing left of the fair. It's such a shame they don't hold it at the right time. Most people complain that on the whole it's just become a Sunday market, and there's a lot of stalls that sell things which really do not relate to a horse fair, so it would be good to try to alter it a bit. This year's attempt, with the cutting down of trailer caravans and people going earlier, will possibly help.
Text / images © ValleyStream / John Pockett Collection 2011.
Transcribed and edited by GypsyWaggons / UK Vardo Project.
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