|All the fun of the show
||[Aug. 11th, 2015|10:18 pm]
On Saturday, we went to Sedgefield Show. It's a proper agricultural show, and I've never been to one before, and wasn't sure how interesting it would be, but it was a bright sunny day, perfect for an excursion of some sort. In fact we had a great day out - not one to be repeated every year, part of the charm was the novelty, but there was plenty to see...
There are endless competitions for best this, that or the other: one marquee was full of goats, another of cacti, sweet peas and giant vegetables. durham_rambler coveted the yard-long parsnips, laid out in threes across a trestle table, each one spanning the full width of the table. Another tent displayed knitting, woodwork and baked goods, fruit loaves neatly halved to display both the overall shape of the loaf and the texture of the interior (though there was no sign of anyone actually having eaten any of them, which seems an omission in the judging of a cake). Three or four loaves of bread were displayed alongside packets of bread mix (I don't think these were purely decorative) and although none of them was a lopsided as my usual loaf, I wasn't impressed. There were rabbits as large as dogs huddled comatose in their cages, and small perky rabbits sitting up and taking notice. There were hens which looked scrawny to us, as if their feathers were too small and tight for them (but what do we know? Several of these had rosettes), there were cockerels with fine elegant tails and one very odd creature which was feathered all over, with plumes on its toes, like a fan dancer. There were pigeons, of course, their cages built into the four walls of an enclosure in the centre of which the judges deliberated:
The centre of the field was divided into 'rings', and some of the competitors appeared therem summoned by the tannoy. "Shetland ponies to ring five, please!" And then, ten minutes later, "All Shetland ponies to ring five now, please!" Some categories were more contested than others: we sat in the bar and watched two pony carts performing circuits and manoeuvres - and as far as I could tell, when they had done their stuff both of them were given rosettes.
There were vintage cars and vintage tractors: one tractor was painted entirely in gold because, according to its owner, it was a model (the McCormick Farmall) introduced in Coronation year, 1953, and all the demonstrators were painted gold in celebration. There was a food tent, where we caught up with some of the people who no longer come to the farmers' market in Durham, and bought some game and some cheese and some flapjacks, and tasted rhubarb and ginger gin, which was nicer than I'd expected, with a good, fresh rhubarb acidity, but too much gin for my taste, and more cloves than ginger (this from the gin itself, apparently).
When we had seen enough, we walked across the field where the cars were parked:
and under the bypass into Hardwick Park for lunch at the café (new since my last visit) and a circuit of the park. Waterfowl everywhere, geese, mallards, swans clamouring to be fed (the swans accompanied by cygnets), a few coot keepig themselves to themselves, seagulls jostling for the best perch, on Neptune's head. Just after we crossed the bridge, almost back to the start of the circuit, one more new thing to see: