How much rubbing, buffing and polishing it took to get these babes up to steam I can't imagine. These throbbing engines are more cosseted than any woman could ever hope to be. There can't have been a man in Bishop's Castle this afternoon not salivating at the sight of these puffing, panting beauties.
The Showman's engines led the cavalcade of vehicles through the narrow streets of Bishops Castle this afternoon. They were followed by the road rollers (proper steam rollers), traction engines in diminishing sizes, lorries, tractors and classic cars. The air was filthy and loud with smoke and noise from the massed engines. We coughed and spluttered but even I had to admit these were majestic beasts.
...and some things, thankfully, will always remain a mystery.
This magnificent procession was only apart of a weekend of events in the small south Shropshire town of Bishop's Castle; the Michaelmas Fair. Bishop's Castle is a town with a certain je ne sais quoi - what it lacks in shops and facilities it makes up for on the feel-good factor scale. Perhaps it is on a fortunate ley line or the feng sui is right. I don't know.
With this in mind, even intermittent drizzle didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the many visitors this Saturday. Music was medieval or ethnic, food nutritious and plentiful, crafts - well, craft-y and on the whole - this being Bishops Castle - quite tasteful. The Shrophire Bedlam danced and clattered their sticks - a most English thing this Morris/Moorish dancing. (Don't tell anyone - but I do quite like it..) I guess, once upon a time shepherds and milkmaids would have come to a Michaelmas fair - a hiring fair - such as this in search on employment but these days it's in search of entertainment and imported olive oil from the delicatessan's stall.
We could have stayed longer - festivities go on into the night with dancing and revels - and tomorrow will see the streets packed again. Well worth a detour. Bishops Castle, Shropshire, just off the A488.