Jun 25th 2020AGNES AITKEN knows exactly what she is after. “I’m looking for a pleasant head, with a kind eye when she looks at you,” she explains. “
AGNES AITKEN knows exactly what she is after. “I’m looking for a pleasant head, with a kind eye when she looks at you,” she explains. “A nice personality, a long slender neck, a nice shoulder and a wide chest.” Mrs Aitken, in short, is searching for a goat. And not just any old specimen with a wispy beard and a gammy leg; one fit to be declared the finest in all of Scotland. Fortunately, at least some of the animals she has been inspecting seem to fit her exacting brief. “The quality has been good,” she goes on. “There’s also some at the tail end, but we’ll not dwell on them.”
Scotland’s summer calendar is usually packed with agricultural shows. Nancy Nicolson, farming editor of the Courier, a Dundee newspaper, goes to one every weekend between May and September, taking her wellies “no matter what the forecast”. Covid-19 has put a stop to that. It is easy enough for a caber tosser to persuade others to keep a social distance; harder to make animals (and their handlers) stay two metres apart or to prevent crowds forming for a celebratory whisky. Even with lockdown loosening, the Scottish social calendar is bereft of such festivities.
But Ms Nicolson couldn’t face a summer without a single show. Her newspaper’s solution—Scotland’s first online agricultural show—will be held on July 3rd and 4th. Mrs Aitken, who has kept goats for 27 years,…