Early on Wednesday morning, 15th July, Steve, Ron, Dora and Hazel were in the kitchen eating soft boiled eggs and soldiers prepared, as usual, by Slugger. There was an atmosphere of excitement as all four talked about their full day outing and what they wanted to see and do when they got to the Great Yorkshire Show. The Colonel had offered to pay for their day and a cash bonus each to buy something of their choice as a thank you for all the hard work they had put in a Follyfoot since the new stables were built.
“I will go to see the horses first” said Dora with a beaming smile.
“Surprise, surprise” remarked Ron, who went on to say “I’ll be looking for the beer tent, then the burger stall! After that I’ll go and see how me old mate Harvey Smith is going on in the showjumping competition”, in a joking tone.
“Oh, can I go round with you Ron”, replied Hazel, who also liked the idea of the beer tent and then seeing the well-known ‘V-sign’ Yorkshireman.
Steve said “Well, I know what I’ll be doing… we need a new set of stirrups from one of the saddlery merchants, and if ordered on the day some offer a discount. And I could do with a new pair of riding boots, and isn't it time you had a pair of jodhpurs Hazel? Anyway, it’s time we got the horses ready.”
Hazel said nothing, but had already thought of spending the money on having a good time.
Across country Follyfoot Farm was a little under seven miles from the Harrogate showground. The only tricky bit would be crossing the River Wharfe just north of the farmstead. It had been a dry summer and Steve intended leading the riders across the river after being told a ford had developed where horses could cross safely.
It was just after 7.15am and Steve said “We should be there by about 9 o’clock, The Stables are expecting us.”
The Stables was a place on the south side of the showground where horses, as the name suggested, could be stabled for the day.
As the four riders set off from Follyfoot, Slugger gave them a wave and said “ Don’t you four get up to anything I wouldn’t do now”, with a cheeky grin on his face.
A clear blue sky promised another hot summer’s day in Yorkshire and all were dressed in lightweight clothing, even Steve exposed his arms by wearing a vest top.
It was not long before they had reached the river and Steve proceeded to look for the shallow crossing place he had been told about.