Sunday, 20 June 2010

Al Fresco Friends, Welsh Game Fair, Raffle Win & People Watching

The gardens here at the farm are really beginning to look their best, the roses are coming on very well and these poppies in Elder Son's patch are looking so gorgeous.
With the wonderful weather we are having at the moment, we gave a small al fresco supper party last evening for our friend the Architect and his wife. We see them quite often but never really sit down and have good extended conversation so a summer's evening in the garden was perfect. M. has known the Farmer since they were at primary school together and so there was a lot of reminscing about local characters and mutual acquaintances. While I am out of the room (or garden) on these occasions the conversation is conducted  in Welsh  and though I get the general idea of what they are talking about they always very politely revert to English once I rejoin them.

Today the Farmer & I gave ourselves a day out and went to the Welsh Game Fair which is held every year near Llandeilo. It is great fun and full of things to see and is also a good place to meet up with people that one doesn't see very often. We saw a marvellous demonstration of hawking whichI  always find fascinating and there were lots of lovely working dogs of all kinds, including hound packs from various local hunts. We have walked hound puppies in the past which is always good fun and though they can never be pets they are delightful dogs.
It was very hot but fortunately there was breeze blowing which made things bearable and we had a most enjoyable day, made all the more so by me winning the Countryside Alliance raffle. The Farmer doesn't believe in raffles and is always very disapproving in a mock-Calvinistic way, if ever I buy tickets, which I do very rarely. However, his bluff was called today when I won a large bottle of whisky!
The venue for the Game fair must be one of the most beautiful settings for such an event. It is held on fields at Gelli Aur in the Towy Valley with densely wooded hills rising up at each side and the river Towy flowing down one side of the show ground. With the clear blue skies occasionally dotted with fluffy white clouds and the lush green valley surrounding the ground it was lovely. The river is used for fly-fishing demonstrations which are very popular.
A game fair is great place for people and dog watching...the world and his wife in every guise are there from the tattoed couples with a bulldog or trio of grim terriers on leads to gentle bowler-hatted elderly farmers with a mad collie and the small boys in camouflage kit leading a pair of elegant lurchers with shaven-headed dad following carrying his box of ferrets.
There are inevitably lots of labradors & spaniels, usually in the company of gamekeepers and shooting men and tough little Patterdale terriers with tough men in strange headgear..
Then of course there are the women, many of whom are hung about with small sticky children as well as small yappy terriers and dragging shopping-laden push-chairs with shiny balloons attached. The women without the glued-on kids are often accompanied by a serious large dog, Irish Wolfhound or some exotic Continental hunting dog who find the whole thing terribly infra dig.
This is the place for serious Shopping! You can acquire a plate wih a picture of your particular breed of dog, a wicker dog's bed, a pair of tough moleskin trousers, a whistle made of antler, a whistle for calling foxes to you, a mother hen and several chicks in a crate, a hand-carved walking stick, larver-bread with a Chinese take-away (ugh!), a book on hunting with eagles in Mongolia, a hank of waxed bootlace (the Farmer's favourite...just cut off a length as and when required which is quite often with the Farmer) and vintage Welsh blankets. Its all such great fun.

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