The Show must go on

Everyone likes to be woolly

The first major agricultural Show of the season, the Northumberland County Show, is held in the town of Corbridge up in the beautiful Tyne Valley. Northumberland is the least populated county in terms of people in England but it is the most populated in terms of castles. Northumberland has a grand total of 39 castles which reflects its national importance in history. It used to be a part of the Roman Empire and was the home of many ancient noblemen. It isn’t now of course, but it still has a most beautiful and wild National Park. The Northumberland County Show in some form or other has been held, off and on since about1837 making this year’s show the 175th. Agricultural shows are all about showing your finest  livestock and the showground was packed with animals of every shape and size. Some were being sheared or milked, some were jumping over fences, some were pulling things or chasing things and some were just looking woolly and cute. Alpacas were big at this year’s show. Alpacas are a relatively new addition to the agricultural arena. They have the cutest faces and their fine fleece is extremely dense and warm. They like to live in herds together and are a useful addition to a flock of sheep as they are good for keeping look out and will bravely see off marauding foxes, dogs or even wolves. The thing I find most intriguing about Alpacas is that they hum. They have lots of different hums depending on how they are feeling and will hum when they are unsure, bored, distressed, contented or fearful. In this, an Alpacas hum is not unlike a cat’s purr. Everyone knows a cat will purr if it’s content but it will also purr when is is extremely frightened or, I maintain, when it is thinking. I consider humming as a means of communications to be vastly underrated.
Alpacas are easily outnumbered by all sorts of sheep at an agricultural show. There are some sheep who aren’t sure what’s going on….

What’s going on?….

Same to you!
The sheared and the unsheared
Shear skill
There are sheep who have been sheared and those who haven’t…There are sheep that are orange coloured and have strange names like Zwartbles.

Then there was the Morpeth hunt who turned up with their smart red coats and a whole pack of hounds doing that energetic milling about thing that they do when they’re trying to pick up a scent. The show commentator was doing a rousing promotional job on the hunt. See how friendly the foxhounds are! he exclaimed. What skilled working dogs with an amazing sense of smell they are! What a  good job they do of eating up all the fallen cattle farmers can’t get rid of! How good they are at  ridding our countryside of unwanted pests and vermin!

How much fun it is to follow the hunt and see parts of the countryside you might otherwise never see! It was very ‘roll roll up and see the bearded lady and the world’s fattest man!’ style of delivery. It’s true that when he asked the spectating children to come onto the show field and interact with the hounds there was a large influx of youngsters who piled in enthusiastically at high speed for hound hugging. The Art of the country show

Gaily hunt the hounds!

Of course there is other stuff there too. The obligatory birds of prey display was there as usual. The Harris Hawk, the Kestrel and the Little Owl were all well positioned to view the motorcycle stunt display team. The majestic golden Eagle however, was more interested in the refreshments.

Where’s mine?