Saturday 23 May 2015

Devon County Show (or, 'colour changes, a mobile 'phone call, and a missing ball'.

On thursday and friday, we got up at 4.45, and were on site by 7.00 as required - fortunately I discovered a jammed trailer brake on wednesday night, so sorted it out with some fine adjustment with a mallet. We are all lured to the show at 'ridiculous-o'clock', by the Full English Breakfast served in the show canteen, and it is worth it. The weather was fabulous, being quite hot between cloudy spells on both days. Several colour changes, from brown to fawn and fawn to light gave the stewards some headaches.

First, we had Apple Vale Florina in the Junior brown female class, and she was placed 3rd from five, quite satisfying.

Then we had Apple Vale Flamenco, and she managed a 3rd from four. I was in the junior fawn male class (Fiesta was unplaced), when a mobile 'phone rang, and I'm glad to say it wasn't mine (set to 'silent') - I wouldn't say whose it was, but if I can find Andy's phone number, I might ring it on friday at the Bath & West, to try and get the ice cream forfeit that is levied against such 'mis-demeanours'!
On friday, we had 'lights' and 'whites'. Apple Vale Fortune found himself in the first group in a split class, against formidable competition, and we were quite satisfied when he was put into fourth from his group of five,
Apple Vale Fortune enters the ring, watched by judge Mary-Jo Smith and apprentice Viv.
Steve Powell (Ashwood Alpacas) shows the 'bite' of Imperial Force for the judge to examine.
Mary-Jo examining the fleece.
The judge gives her oral reasoning behind the placings, while 1st and 2nd take a rest.
This morning, with a warm fine day forecast, we commenced our shearing, by Yours Truly, with Joy assisting, and we got three heavily fleeced, or pregnant females done - very satisfying, given the heat - I feared I might have lost my shearing 'mojo', but it was still there, no problems, no cuts, and quite tidy, if I say so myself - just the small matter of being knac***ed - when you have done it yourself you can really appreciate the professional shearers.

This week, I am helping erect two marquees for the Royal Bath and West Show on tuesday (heave ho), Joy will be demonstrating felting, compered by Val Fullerlove, on wednesday, and on friday and saturday I will be in the show ring again. Come and say, 'hello', if you read this - oh, the 'missing ball' quoted in the title of this blog refers to one poor breeder, whose male alpaca was elliminated due to the judge only being able to find one testicle - at three previous shows this year, the said testicle had made an if you have seen it.....

Tuesday 5 May 2015

North Somerset Show

On Bank Holiday Monday we headed off for the first local show, the North Somerset Show. Heavy showers had preceeded for a few days, so the herd had been washed and blow-dried, but then had visited the rolling pit. Nevertheless, the weather forecast was for gradual improvement, so I was optimistic that they would be dry and clean by the time we set off, and this was the case. The day dawned breezy and sunny, and we arrived in good time, with no need to set up the gazebo.

First in the ring was Apple Vale Florina, in a class of six and she gained second place, praised by judge Jay Holland for her soft-handling fleece:
Apple Vale Florina - Dam: Apple Vale Bramley (S: CME Tulaco Centurion), Sire: Van Diemen Qjori of Patou

Next came the fawns, and we had female Flamenco, followed by male Fiesta, both sired by our stud, EP Cambridge Columbus of Patou - a second place for Flamenco, also praised for her soft handle, but Fiesta didn't place in a class of nine:
Apple Vale Flamenco
Apple Vale Fiesta - heads into the ring full of optimism;
Finally, the junior white male class, and Apple Vale Fortune took fourth place in a class of 7, earning praise for his good frame, and dense, fine fleece:
Apple Vale Fortune - s: CCNF Talon of Classical Mile End
The rain had been threatening for an hour, and set-in as we lined up for the Supreme Champion - I expect everyone was damp by the time they set off, and got a good soaking when they unloaded at home, as we did - but a good show was had. Two more shows this month - bring 'em on!