Friday, August 06, 2010
Bakewell Show Again
Bakewell Agricultural and Horticultural Show takes place on the first Wednesday and Thursday of August every year and has been going now for 180 years! I've been going for over 30 of those years but regrettably it is no longer the lovely rural event that it used to be. The farm animals and country crafts have been pushed into the background and the whole thing has become more and more urbanized. I feel that the Show committee are losing touch with their rural roots which seems a pity when there is so much interest these days in the countryside and the old rural crafts and skills. The cattle are now in a permanent building at the side of the Showground which is normally the cattle market and all the judging takes place in the area at the front. If you go early enough you can go and look round inside and the farmers are happy to talk to you about their animals. The photo above is of a lovely Hereford calf. As always, the photos will enlarge if you click on them.
An English Longhorn with her five week old calf. English Longhorns are a very ancient breed, they were used in the medieval times both for ploughing and as a source of milk for butter and cheesemaking.
A closer look at the Longhorn calf who was as interested in J and I as we were in her!
A Red Dexter having her tail combed and fluffed before her big moment.
A Limousin posing nicely for the judge - not necessarily always the case, one or two of the cattle were decidely frisky...
...such as this Black Dexter who obviously could think of more interesting things to do than walking round the judging ring!
This Eagle Owl is at Bakewell every year helping to raise funds for the sanctuary for injured birds of prey. Injured birds are treated and then released back into the wild apart from those who would no longer be able to fend for themselves.
A Harris Hawk was another of the birds of prey on the same stand. I'm hoping to have a closer encounter with one of these soon as a friend of mine has got one that he flies and he's promised to bring her to meet me. She's a working bird though not a pet so how close I get will depend on whether she like s me or not! I'm hoping to be able to wear the glove and hold her on my arm though.
Neither agricultural nor horticultural I admit but oh! how I love these wonderful vintage cars. The next few photos are just a personal indulgence:) This is the one I'd drive off in given half a chance - a fabulous 1936 Aston Martin. Racing green too, my favourite car colour.
1926 Bullnose Morris Cowley Tourer - not as dashing but kind of cute.
A 1936 Rolls Royce and very nice too. There was a really good turnout of vintage cars this year.
A different kind of horse power here, a lovely Shire horse decorated up to the nines. This wasn't work-a-day gear of course but is a reminder of May Day celebrations when the working horses were decorated with garlands of ribbons and flowers, and paraded through villages and around the countryside in order to encourage the health of the horses, and the fertility of crops and fields.
My favourite part of the whole Show is watching the heavy horses, each year there seem to be more teams entering and it's great to think that these wonderful horses are gradually regaining popularity again. This is a pair of grey Percherons pulling what I think is a vegetable cart.
Not a very good photo but it is in because the Suffolk Punches are my favourite heavy horses. Until the 1930s the Suffolks were very much an East Anglian breed and of course it was just as they were beginning to be used in other parts of the country that mechanization took over and the heavy horses became redundant. The Suffolk Punch is the oldest breed of heavy horse in Great Britain and in the 1960s they came very close to dying out. Even today the Suffolk Punch is on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust's critical list.
These are Belgian heavy horses pulling a lovely old Yorkshire Wolds waggon,the horses were lovely but definitely didn't do speed:) I loved the whole turnout because they weren't all professionally done up as all the other entrants in the class were, they looked as though they'd come straight off the farm which appealed to me very much.
I enjoy watching the carriage driving and the Concours d-elegance too.
I always enjoy seeing the display that the National Vegetable Society produce, it didn't seem quite as bountiful as usual this year and we did wonder whether it hasn't been a very good year for vegetables. It isn't a good photo as there was a constant crowd of people in front of it.
Finally some of the prize winners waiting to take part in the Grand Parade, that brief appearance in the main ring is about all that most of the public see of them. J and L both feel that since I'm a Patron of the Show I should write to the Committee and voice my reservations about the direction the Show is taking - not that I think they'll take much notice of a lone voice. On the other hand it may turn out that others agree with me so I shall send them a letter and see what the response is!