Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Bakewell Show

On Wednesday my friend L and I made what may well be our last visit to Bakewell Show which has been declining steadily over the last few years until it now has very little to do with either agriculture or horticulture. I've been going every year since around 1976 and have been a Patron for the last 25 years or more and it's changed out of all recognition until now it's not much more than a big fairground with most of the stands selling tat of one sort or another and very little sign of any animals other than horses - showjumping is the main thing as I believe some of the classes are qualifying classes for the Horse of the Year Show. There are still a few things worth seeing though including the chap with his birds of prey. Above is a beautiful Harris Hawk which was probably my favourite.

Another contender was the beautiful Barn Owl. I took lots of photos of him while he was perching on the trainer's arm but every time I pressed the shutter he looked away so I had to be satisfied with this one taken when he was put back in his box.

The WI marquee is always worth a visit too and we always have coffee and a little something munchy halfway through the morning - cheese and herb scones and a lovely fruit teabread in this instance.

The WI have themed competitions for both cookery and crafts each year for the local Derbyshire WI groups. This year the theme was Shakespeare Plays in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of his death in 1616 but there were very few entries for either the home economics or crafts. This was the winning home economics entry which has to consist of two savoury and two sweet dishes plus a floral exhibit illustrating the theme.

Someone really knew their Shakespeare and this was a very clever exhibit. Each item had a card like the one above with a quote from the appropriate play. I must say that these walnut and honey tarts looked rather delicious in spite of the quote! I rather think that even if there had been a lot more entries this one would still have won.

Vintage cars - always a favourite with me. I would absolutely love to own and drive one these elegant 1930s cars.

Another beauty - a Talbot 7 seater limousine. You could have bought it brand new for £850 in 1935!

Seeing the heavy horses have always been my favourite part of Bakewell Show and there is always a good entry for these classes - these are the handsome Shire horses belonging to The Co-operative Funeral Care.

Of all the heavy horse breeds these are my absolute favourites - the wonderful Suffolks frequently known as the Suffolk Punch. They are the oldest breed of heavy horse in Great Britain dating back to the 16th century. All the ones alive now trace their trace their male line back to a stallion called Crisp's Horse of Ufford who was born in 1768 - apparently he was never given a proper name, he was just known as Crisp's horse! The Suffolks became very rare indeed though the numbers are now beginning to increase slightly. They are still an endangered breed though. I'm a member of the Suffolk Horse Society though I have no chance of ever owning one. Speaking of Suffolk that's where I'm off to next week to spend a few days with my son and his family.


Pondside said...

I find that trends come and go, even in country fairs. We had a period where our fall fair was little more than a midway, music and junk shops. Things are changing now, though, and there is renewed interest in the animals and in the competitions in the baking, vegetables, fruit and flower categories. I hope your fair soon has a turnaround.

Jenny Woolf said...

I think Crisp is a Suffolk name. I am sure you've been to their stud not too far from Woodbridge. Have to say Bakewell show looks good to me- what used there to be before the tat stalls came along?

Mary said...

Hi Rowan - I have to say this still looks wonderful compared to so-called 'shows' around here, other than the huge 10-day North Carolina State Fair in October which goes all out with entries in many categories coming from across the entire state. The farm animals on show are no longer accessible to the public since illnesses appeared in some children who would pet them. But there is still plenty of interest to make it a great day out. Of course there's a gigantic fairground (the midway) - with all those stomach-turning rides for the young and brave! Tons of eating tents set up - although they are not my type of food - other than the delicious ice cream made from the dairy cows' milk on a farm/dairy run by North Carolina State University here in town. NCSU is a major agricultural uni.

Happy day and have fun on your Suffolk trip.
Mary -

Mac n' Janet said...

Other than the Steamfair we went to in England last year we haven't bee to a fair in years. Yours st looks pretty good to me. Love, leading 've love the blog Shire horses. We got to see the big Budweiser horses a few years ago and it was a thrill. Have a great visit with your son and his army.

Rosie said...

It still looks like an interesting day out, things do change though and sometimes not for the better. The WI food and displays look wonderful and I like your photos of the birds of prey. Hope you enjoy your visit to Suffolk:)

Gracie said...

So happy you're back blogging and with such interesting posts-

Roy Norris said...

Love seeing the Heavy Horses D.

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

It is sad, in some ways, how country fairs have changed - I suppose it would be wrong to say 'declined'? I like the look of the WI baking and the classic cars. And Bakewell is a place, believe it or not, that's on the overdue visit list!

Gretel said...

I love good a country show, but I suppose like many things they change and evolve over the years. Happily, you have picked the very best bits to show us.

Granny Sue said...

Our fairs, too have declined in many ways. We haven't been to our county fair in years--it's too big nowadays, with more focus on things like demolition derbies, big country music shows and the carnival. There are still lots of animals, though, and many many show competitions with them. These are local 4-H and FFA (Future Farmers of America) children's entries--but even there, the parents have become so involved that I heard from my neighbor that the winning hog was embryo-selected and the parents spent $10,000 raising it, just to win. That's not the spirit of these fairs at all.

Lowcarb team member said...

It is a shame how things do change over the years ...
I so enjoyed reading and looking at your photo's, thanks for sharing

All the best Jan