Saturday, 31 May 2014

A day at the Bath and West show


                 

I have heard a lot about the Bath and West show over the last few years. My parents go every year and come back with stories of exciting days filled with food tasting and livestock watching. This year was it's 151st show and I thought it was about time I experienced this event for myself. 

The Bath and West showground lies in the small, rural town of Shepton Mallet in the county of Somerset, South West of England. The Bath and West show is an agricultural show that celebrates all aspects of farming and rural life. There is much to do and see at the show. There are animals shows, competitions, stalls selling crafts, food and local produce, funfair rides, outdoor sports such as canoeing; the list goes on. It is easy to imagine how you could spend a whole day or even a few days there. You can even camp on site. 

We arrive just before midday and started off walking around the stalls. There were all sorts of things to be bought; outdoorsy and farm related mainly. There was everything from clothing, rugs and caravans to chicken coops and livestock. There was a tent of all things bee-related. We had a go at honey-tasting and saw some bees making honeycomb. There were competeions for the best honey, beeswax, honeycomb and candles. 

There was a hall devoted to cheese and it was fascinating to walk room and look at all the different types of cheese on display. We were able to taste some different types of cheese too. In the food hall there was more food tasting to be done. A multitude of chutneys, jams and curds in every flavour imaginable, sausages, curry sauces and beverages.

We watched a fantastically hilarious sheep show where we found out about all the different types of sheep popularly kept in the UK. We discovered wool had historically been the UK's number one export. The sheep were well-trained, they even did a short dance show!

Next we went on a miniature steam train which the kids absolutely loved. R has a bit of an obsession with all types of transport. He also had great fun riding a toy tractor.

            

                          D had a go at milking a pretend cow!

           

Towards the end of the day we watched a sheep shearing competition. There were six sheep shearers and they each had 20 sheep to shear. They all managed to shear all the sheep in less than 20 minutes! That works out at less than a minute a sheep! It was fascinating to watch their speed and skill at handling the sheep.

Just before we left for home we went to look at the livestock and ended up purchasing two chickens. One is a Blue Maran who we have named Bluebell and the other is a Rhode Rock named Poppy. This brings the number of chickens in our flock to six. I think there is still room for a few more!


                  

                                   Poppy, a Rhode Rock hen.

              

                                 Bluebell, a Blue Maran hen.

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