Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Beryl has returned. Odd Job was pleased to find the stop out chicken waiting on the door step the next morning. She was been advised that its not really safe to stay out all night. By her waiting by the door its presumed she didn't have a very nice time.

Swaton is a small village on the western edge of the Lincolnshire fens. Set amongst mature trees and productive farmland the 80 or so houses provide homes for about 250 people. Mostly Crown Estate, there are 5 working farms, a micro brewery, farm shop, butchers, furniture workshop and shop, livery yard, riding school and numerous other home workers all doing their bit to support the rural economy. Theres also a distinct lack of usable public transport that means you have to have your own or are pretty much restricted to working part time elsewhere. For instance, you can get to Boston and back on Wednesdays or if you take the train from the nearest station at Heckington, but you have to arrive back in time to catch the last bus from Sleaford at 4 o'clock.

However, on the plus side, Swaton is also the home of the World Egg Throwing Federation and hosts the annual World Egg Throwing Championship each June. Its now in its 5th year and hosted by the Swaton Vintage Day, in its 15th year. This show comprises of 100's of vintage vehicles set in a large medieval ridge and furrow meadow. The normal occupants of either sheep or cattle are moved out a month or so earlier, the grass cropped and baled, leaving a smooth undulating field for the games. Other entertainment includes live music, fun fair rides and terrier racing.

For those of you that haven't ever seen this there now follows a description.
6 dogs of mixed type, loosely described as terriers but in reality any dog that happens to come along and can fit in a wooden trap just about large enough to fit a Labrador, is encouraged to enter. Once 6 are in place, a fellow waves a piece of furry looking material at them to get their attention. As soon as one dog takes the bait and starts barking at this, the others invariably join in.

On the given signal the furry thing is released, to be dragged via a rope on a hand wheeled winch, to the far end of the field, as this is done the front of the traps open. All six dogs, each believing he or she is in reality a 2 year old greyhound and supreme hunter, are off. The three legged Jack Russel leading the way, followed by the overweight Patterdale, then a minute Yorkshire Terrier, 10 year old Labrador, another three legged dog but this time a whippet and then another then Jack Russell. The lead dog position changes rapidly and then back again, falls are common, squabbles break out mid stride, others join in from the side lines. The furry thing is dragged to safety into a drain pipe and the winner, plucked from the barking mob, raised into the air to be proclaimed winner and supreme champion (until the next race).

Once seen, never forgotten.

4 weeks to go, June 27th.


  1. Ah ha a posting at last. Terrier racing hey, I seem to rememeber the first year when one of the dogs came up to meet me after the race, he was very excited and mistook me for the furry material "Ouch"

  2. He was sorely tempted, hardly his fault.