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Bath and West Show 2017

We go to the Bath & West show most years. Each year, I test the waters to see if the children want to go. Should we go? Each year, there is a resounding “Yes”, with no groans in the midst. That is 100% agreement then. A golden moment in parenting terms.

My favourites are the livestock and the rural crafts. Fortunately, the rest of the family are the same. So long as I don’t drag it out too far. The children will often stop to talk to a friendly beast, if it sticks its head out of the pen, giving me that little bit longer.

This year, I was struck by how many fleeting moments made me smile. As we left the sheep area, a group of visitors entered. I couldn’t help giggling as one of them exclaimed in a broad Somerset accent, as he caught a glimpse of the Scottish Blackface in the first pen, that “that’s a cloud not a sheep”. I see his point. The fleece is rather splendid and plentiful.

We all love watching the pig showing. It is so funny. Watching the exhibitors guide the willful pigs around the ring with only a wish and a prayer, and a pig board. Oh and a stick. There is always one that makes a bolt for it, or disappears behind the judges’ table, in an attempt to escape the ring and run havoc around the outside (I’m yet to see them make it).

As we watched, the nearest pigs were misbehaving in their temporary pen in the corner of the show ring. My children were waiting with great anticipation for these particular pigs to have their moment in the main part of the ring. Surely they were going to cause mayhem.

As it happens they didn’t. They were the best of the lot. Walking perfectly around the ring. This was their moment and no-one was going to take it from them.

Can’t help thinking pigs might be a tad unpredictable.

(photo from 2017, not 1946)

I was telling my mother about seeing the pigs. Her parents used to show pigs back in the 40s/50s. At the Bath and West, among others. They converted an old Red Cross ambulance into an animal transporter and would take their pigs to the shows in it. My mother remembers sleeping on the straw next to the pig pens or in the cleaned out vehicle.  I can’t imagine my grandparents doing that!

So pig showing is in the blood. Maybe that’s why we all like watching it.

The cider tent is always on our list to visit. Husband has been weighing up buying an apple press for a few years, so we always check them out. It would make sense, as we do have a lot of apples each year. Youngest would love the ball cage on a stick for picking up apples. I can see him keeping our little orchard’s floor clear of windfalls.

At the other end of the tent, is the cider competition. I love seeing the demijohns of cider lined up on the shelves, with bunting. Something quintessential country show about the sight. We noticed this time, that some had less cider in them. A noticeable amount less. Speculations about how the judges finished the judging if they put away so much cider on each tasting. Turns out these ciders were decided by the people’s choice. Phew. Many people. Now that is neat. I wonder how I sign up for that.

Last stop of the day. Watching the sheep shearing. I find it mesmerizing. I’m sure in the time they did 20, I may have managed one half. Probably badly. I’m sure the sheep would be relieved that I’ve never taken it up. The shearers seem to glide through the fleece, handling the sheep with expertise. The wool handlers looked exhausted by the end, packing the fleeces away. This was the national final. As the last sheep were pulled forward, the crowd started to urge on their man. I heard a couple of little voices cheering their father on. gulp.

This year we loved the beagles and the fox hounds. Up to then, I assumed that they were used in the same way. One beagle spent most of its time meeting and greeting the crowd outside the arena, which was amusing.

There was also the bee tent, with its bee hive decorating competition. The winner is pictured at the top of this post. I am rather partial to a pun. It made us all giggle.

There seemed to be more alpacas than I remember in the past. We actually saw the judging this time. Away from the ring, among the pens, there were bags of alpaca fleece for sale. I held back. I do love spinning with alpaca but I have enough at home. I need to work my way through that first.

It is so lovely to spin.

The show is still fun. Year after year. I love talking (or eavesdropping!) on the old timers, and the characters that make the countryside such a wonderful and rich place to live. They are always ready to talk. The show is the sort of place that if you’ve ever wondered about something to do with the countryside, you’ll likely find the answer there.

Looking at my photos, I concentrated on the livestock areas. There are also old country vehicles, a steam powered fairground, farming interactive exhibits, show jumping and much, much more. Stalls of all shapes and sizes.

I wonder if the children will want to go again, next year.

Country Kids

24 Responses to Bath and West Show 2017

  • Hi Cheryl, what a fun and interesting-sounding show. A country style show like this, in the West country, had to have a cider competition! It’ must be compulsary! Sheep sheering is such an art, I can’t even do my husband’s hair with clippers, well I can, but it’s not a good look! The pigs and sheep look fab and as for that beehive? It’s a work of art! If my husband weren’t allergic to bees I would love it in our garden.

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC.

    Debbie Roberts recently posted..Keep Things DoableMy Profile

    • Craft Mother says:

      I would love to keep bees. Hopefully one day I will. I can see why a hive would be a no-no for your garden, but it is a pretty hive. With so many apple trees in this area, and cider companies, it isn’t surprising that the cider competition has so many entries. The photo only shows one wall of the bottles. There was much more.

  • Helen B says:

    It’s great when everyone wants to go on the same trip, a moment to cherish. I love a good country show, sheep sheering is amazing to watch, a friend of mine used to keep sheep and I can remember her asking me one year just to come and old a sheep while she checked it over, oh my they are so strong, that or I am very weak! Bee keeping is something my husband would love to give a try at, love the B flat beehive 🙂
    Helen B recently posted..Tigers and GardenMy Profile

    • Craft Mother says:

      We’ve pondered about keeping sheep, but I do wonder how I’d handle them. Wonder if I could train them to roll over. 🙂 The beehive is beautiful, isn’t it?

  • We also go to the Bath and West show every year and love it! I missed out this year but the kids went with my parents. I love looking at the livestock and watching the sheep shearing too. They are so fast! #CountryKids

  • We have just come home from the Royal Cornwall Show and my legs are still aching. Like you I love all the animals and Farmer Nick was on the look out for a new Jacobs Ram, sadly we didn’t find one to buy, or not one we could afford but there were some beauties on display. I love your cloud ram, he is a real show winner. So great that your kids come round with you to enjoy the show together. I find I’m on my own these days and mine just want to hang out with their friends once we arrive there instead. We will have to visit one out of country, then they might stick with us!

    Thank you for sharing a lovely sounding day with me on #CountryKids

    • Craft Mother says:

      I think my lot bumped into only one friend this year. I’ve always liked the way they give your schools the day off. Must encourage them to go. I can imagine is was fun shopping for a ram. We looked at adding a few more chickens o our flock, but decided to hold out. It was still fun looking. Yes, you’ll have to visit the Bath and West next year. 😀

  • Kim Carberry says:

    What an interesting day out….So much to see and do. I used to love going to shows like this years ago….
    Kim Carberry recently posted..A photo everyday for a year – Week 23 #Project365My Profile

  • jo says:

    I love the Bath and West Show although it’s a few years since I’ve taken my children. There is so much to do there, I love the heavy horses and my children like the little fairground rides. I don’t think people realise how huge it is! #CountryKids

  • I can see that its been a tradition with your family to go to his event. And I always look forward to reading how your day was. I always wanted to attend this but its too far and might be to expensive for me and my son so its nice to see photos from your blog. Its like we were there. #countrykids
    Merlinda Little recently posted..My Sunday PhotoMy Profile

  • Oh this looks wonderful! I must look I to going in the future. If it is not too far for you to go, do look into the Malvern Autumn Show at Three Counties Showground in September. I think you and the kids would LOVE it if this post is anything to go by!

  • Helena says:

    Country shows are wonderful. I love how the alpacas are lined up and it sounded like the pigs really liked strutting their stuff. #CountryKids

    • Craft Mother says:

      The livestock show rings are interesting. The commentary is usually good. The alpacas seemed surprisingly well behaved, or I might have cught them at a good moment!

  • SO Mum says:

    This sounds like a fun day out. I love the painted bee hive!
    SO Mum recently posted..Strawberry picking and cream tea in the New ForestMy Profile

  • Oh this sounds like a lovely day out. The pig showing sounds like so much fun and I love the photo of the demijohns of cider. I quite like the idea of joining in with the cider tasting too! That bee hive made me chuckle too. How lovely that your family still enjoy the day out there so much. Seeing all your photos makes me wish I lived nearer so I could go too! 🙂 #countrykids

  • Sherry says:

    what an amazing day out! I love going to things like this, and the cider tasting – totally up my street 😉 #CountryKids

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