The rain stopped finally and we headed a few short miles to the hills for a lovely afternoon at a local agricultural show. If it was just me I'd have spent all day here from the crack of dawn, taking in the preparations, the atmosphere and the characters around. Why there's never been a documentary series about show days I don't know.
The Manifold Show is a small, traditional event with all the usual classes for cattle, sheep, horses, poultry. What it has less of are the commercial stands (aside from farm equipment and country clothing) that can dominate at the big shows. Right on top of the hills above Dovedale, under a lowering sky, we bought plants, ate ice cream and watched the skills of stockmen, riders & drivers and keepers.
The Handicrafts tent is always a favourite of mine. The place where you find the skills of growers, bakers, makers and children too, with cups to be won for everything from "My favourite salad" to enormous veg, flower arrangements and cakes .
Being new hen keepers we all loved the Poultry Club tent. All sorts of fancy hens, ducks and doves plus giant rabbits, funny ferrets and sweet little guinea pigs.
Around the show ring is where you find the real farming folk with their magnificent beasts. There were some jolly lunch parties going on in the backs of trailers, complete with stoves, picnic chairs and tea urns while the cattle and sheep in their rosettes munched theirs
Years ago I used to ride and read all those horsey novels written in the 50s about gymkhanas. These scenes bring all those books back to me. Woody and the boys don't get it at all but I really enjoy watching a bit of showing and showjumping, even though I was never any good at it!
There's a real tradition of showing Shire Horses around these parts and there were lots here. They're magnificent; I think these chaps probably deserve their ice cream.
A really lovely outing despite the grey sky. Hopeless for pictures but thankfully it wasn't raining and we got to enjoy the highlight of the farming season. Looking forward to next year.
P.S Thank you for all the fabulous comments I've been left recently, especially in light of the riots in England this past week. Its disturbing and embarrassing to know how shocked people across the world have been. Thanks for all your thoughts. But seeing the fantastic community spirit that's emerged across the country is really heartening, so there's hope at least.