THE GREAT and the good – and some of the bad! – from Dumfries and Galloway crammed in to a busy Waterstones book selling branch in Dumfries town centre this week for the launch of local author, Jamie Blackett’s new book ‘Red rag to a bull’, which had just been released.

As one wag pointed out: “Just give the locals a sniff of a free drink and the place will be stuffed” ... and it proved to be true too.

Oh, and the book isn’t bad either.

Digging deep

THERE’S no doubting farmers are a charitable lot when it comes to matters close to the heart and breeders of Beltex sheep proved to be just that when they raised £6430 for two worthy causes at the society’s recent agm.

Digging deep to raise money for John and Heather Barclay’s nephew, Jack Murdoch, who has been diagnosed with lymphoblastic lymphoma at the age of 10, attendees were bidding for the pick of the Barclays’ ewe lamb crop in 2018 from their Beachy flock. With Graham Burke taking care of the auction, an opening bid of £1000 swiftly rose to £3800 when the hammer fell to Andrew ‘Shakey’ Morton, master of the Mortons flock and current Beltex Scotland Club chairman.

The under-bidder, Andrew Wood, of the Withy Trees flock, then donated a further £1000 to the fund.

Four items were up for grabs and raised £1630 for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation – firstly a show hamper from Henry Jewitt sold to David Lawrie, Grangehall, for £250; then a voucher for a drawing by Claire Wilson sold to Neale and Janet McQuistin, Airyolland, for £600; before Jim Kennedy, Lyonpark, paid £250 for dinner, bed and breakfast at the host hotel, Doubletree by Hilton, North Queensferry.

And there must have been some sort of record set when a tie from the Irish Beltex Breeders’ Club was sold for a total price of £530 – firstly to Ross Williams, Black Jack, for £150, then to John ‘Beachy’ Barclay, for £120, before auctioneer Graham Burke, Pentland, bought it for a further £100. Shakey then paid £80 to hold it for a minute before it was finally knocked down to Jim Kennedy for another £80.

That must have set Jim in a charitable frame of mind as, having forgotten to lift his overnight bag on the way to the agm weekend, it was off to a charity shop to buy a new shirt and jumper to go with said tie.

Getting ‘fit’

SOME OF the Beltex team made a concerted effort to get ‘fit’ for their agm weekend – by having a pre-agm practice weekend away at Lochgoilhead.

It would appear that some (OK, it was mainly Shakey Morton ... again!) were so overcome with the effort of getting ready for the big event in North Queensferry that they had to retire early to bed after being red-carded by the pub referee for being over ‘fit’. In a miraculous feat of endeavour and stamina, a recuperative bottle of vodka left with him was found empty and Shakey was well on the road to recovery when the rest of the combatants returned in a state of shabbiness, it has to be said, back to the caravan.

Rudi engagement

THERE was a surprise for all Belted Galloway supporters on the evening before their sale last weekend – a German couple became engaged in front of the assembled throng!

In a brave move, breeder Rüdiger Stadus asked Eike Steder to marry him, and she said ‘yes’ – much to the delight of the 17 German breeders and others in attendance.

Painting and walls

EVEN THE Raider can get things wrong. Oor Patsy and her husband, Ian Hunter’s painting they bought at the recent Dalmally sale in aid of RSABI funds will be hung in the UA boardroom and not at the Ingliston offices of the RHASS, as we said last week.