Sunday, 4 September 2011

Local Agricultural Show & Rural Skills Displayed

For as long as I have lived in West Wales our local agricultural show has been held about 10 miles away. I will admit that we have not attended it for a very long time; it is always held on the first Saturday in September & Saturday is my busy day with cottage change-over & the arrival of new guests. In fact we last went to it in 1997 on the day of Princess Diana's funeral ( the show was surpisingly well attended, a great antidote to the general gloom of that day, though a minutes silence was held). However, this year (and apparently will be for evermore) it was held on a new site just half a mile from us, so we had no excuse for not going. Also the Sons had been asked to be stewards for the judges of the dairy & beef cattle classes. So, yesterday despite the very unfortunate heavy drizzle which continued throughout the day, we made our way up to the fields of our neighbour which had been turned into the venue for the 137th Annual Llandysul & District Show.
It was such a pity the weather was simply atrocious for such an event as the new site is excellent, being very accessible from all directions and with  superb views across the Teifi Valley. Nonetheless, a considerable number of people turned out to show their cattle, sheep & horses all of whom, people & animals, stood  for long periods of time in the persistent rain & got soaked. So much time & effort is put into preparing animlas for showing that rain cannot stop play.
As well as the livestock classes there is very serious competion in the horticultural section. There was a fine display of huge leeks, giant onions and smooth skinned potaoes and elegantly tapering carrots as well as magnificent dahlias, sweet-peas & chrysanthemums all having been so carefully produced for the show.The floral art section is always popular at local shows but my favourite group of entries are the childrens ones; a miniature garden in a egg-cup or a necklace made of sweeties where great ingenuity is shown, though I was surprised to see 'Any item made of Lego'!...not excatly a tradtional rural craft.
Some the most beautiful examples of rural crafts on show were the walking sticks. There were classes for Thumb Sticks & Shepherd's Crooks made from wood or with horn forks or crooks. They were stunning with some the horn being just polished to show up the natural colours or having been carved & painted as a curving trout or the head of a heron or a badger.
It is wonderful how much skill there is in the rural community that is only ever seen at small local shows.

We bid our French Student 'Bon voyage' on Thursday when we put him on the train to Plymouth and we are now back into our usual busyness without having to translate everything and being aware that many explanations are not really understood. Still despite the langauge difficulties I think the FS had good time here with us...on his last night we, with a group of friends went to one of our favourite beaches and had a picnic fry-up. We took our Canadian canoe as well which the FS thought was great; he & others paddled out where they were watched at very close quarters by a seal whioh was a binus for them all. We had a lovely time and watched the most spectacular sunset with the sun a glowing orange disc of fire dropping down below the horizon like golden penny into a slot machine.

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