Sunday, 9 August 2009

BFL fans in Argyll

Yesterday, Chris and I went along to the Mid Argyll Show. Local Agricultural Shows are a bit of a British Institution; a traditional gathering of local people showing off their wares and skills. This of course dates back to a time when to escape the farm was rare. The men and women would have led insular lives, probably only seeing folk other than their immediate neighbours (who may not have been very immediate at all!) during church, trips to the market and other such necessary events.

Local shows were important for social and networking reasons, but also to promote the farm's quality of livestock. Good results would improve demand and market prices for breeding stock. For the women, it gave the opportunity to show how well they did their job: feeding their family and keeping the home (of course they would also have worked their socks off on the farm), hence the "craft" and "home produce" tent.

Nowadays little has changed, although there are fewer farmers and the country is no longer full of those likely to enter such contests. Many small shows are in danger of dying out. I think it's really important to conserve this aspect of country life. The beer tent was reassuringly full of smiling folk catching up with oneanother and so I think that the Mid-Argyll show is safe for a while yet!

Sadly we were without sheep since I had so much on my plate that I didn't know whether I'd be able to attend at the entry closing date. I had hoped to see some other Shetlands there, but all I found were meat breeds, Scottish Black Faces and lots of these:

But I thought that BFL fans might like to see them!
We also found lovely Highland Cows
perused the impressive vegetables in the produce tent
And the beatifully crafted crooks on display.

We found our friends Mary-Lou and John Aitchison and their three super kids, Freya, Rowan and Kirsty riding their ponies in the showing, jumping and games competitions.
It was great to see the young riders enjoying themselves, and ponies Glen and Pebble made sure that the Aitchisons didn't go home empty handed.
Pebble seemed rather pleased to have completed her duties however and relaxed in her posh new bandages while waiting for home.

5 comments:

Nancy K. said...

It looks like a grand time!
Your leg must be feeling better?

Pondside said...

There's nothing quite like an old-fashioned fair. We have them over here in the early fall - lots of animals, vegetables and hand-made items of every sort up for competition. There's a small herd of highland cattle not to far from my house and I like to walk down and look over the fence at them.

Brenda said...

Hello Jenny,
Yes, the BFL fans love to see photos of Blues at the UK shows. Many of your USA Shetland-BFL followers are getting ready for the Michigan Fiber Festival this coming Sat.& Sun.
Now if I could only find a source for the purl dip to make my blues look like your pixs.
thanks again for sharing.

Claire said...

Hi Jenny!
Great to see the pictures from the show! I bought a BFL fleece at the local sheep and fibre festival here (it's just a small one so not too many breeds) and just received it back from the processor who washed it. It is so lovely and springy and almost looks like angora goat fleece now. I can't wait to spin it!

This month is the Iowa State Fair which has a large sheep component. I'm hoping to go watch the shows for the longwool breeds as well as the Southdowns and the Rambouillets. I'll be visiting the Shetland show in Wisconsin next month! I will try to get some pictures and blog about it so you can share in our shows too.

I love Pebble's pink bandages!

Bethany said...

Thank you for your comments on my blog. I have been enjoying yours.

My sheep are Katahdin Hair Sheep. They are really wonderful! We love them and have been working with them for the past ten years. They come from Main and have spread to Canada and parts of Mexico, but not much farther.

They are the perfect sheep in my very bias opinion. :-) (Unless you are looking for wool of course. :-)

Thanks again for stopping by,
Bethany