The best British Country Show still holds many random delights for the casual visitor to discover. In a world where we are all consumed by the internet and the world of virtual entertainment it is comforting to know that on a rare sunny Saturday, you can still get up close and personal with an Alpaca, listen to a heart lifting brass band, or watch some local dance school demonstrating the art of Irish dancing in Northumberland. One demonstration of note included the dying art of dry stone walling, although I don’t suppose many people intended to try it when they got home. I wonder if it’s got one of those ‘how to do it’ clips on Youtube?
After all – you’re my Wonder Wall
Another feature of all country shows are competitions for a large number of ‘country’ things. The baking competitions include large cakes, cup cakes, scones, jams and pies. There are competitions for every type of vegetable and even for eggs. One of my favourite categories was best ‘creature using both fruit and vegetables’ – classic!
Sheep, cat and Loch Ness monster
Not so sure…
The Olympics influence was also clear in the cake competition department with multi-coloured cup cakes and some very impressive entries in the more substantial cake categories.
There was genuine artistry on display in the shepherd’s crook carving competition. A shepherd’s crook is not only an image that appears in ancient to modern art, but is also a very useful tool for shepherds who are navigating fields of varying height or uneven terrain, apparently. The crook symbol, a stick with a c-curve at the top, looking much like an oversized candy cane, has been in existence for millennia. The crook and the flail were two symbols associated with the ancient Egyptian god, Osiris. Pharaohs carried such crooks to evoke the godlike nature of their rule, and also as symbolic that they shepherded or led their people. Here endeth the crook lesson.
There’s never much trouble at a country show but it doesn’t hurt to have some security on hand…