When I woke up in a pool of water in my tent on Sunday morning, with the rain still pouring down outside (and inside, actually) I really thought the day was going to be a complete washout. However, as if it had read the schedule, the sun came out at exactly 9.30 as the lurcher racing began, and stayed with us for the rest of that day!
And Hampshire people aren’t put off by a bit of early rain anyway! With more optimism than me they were already in their cars and heading to the showground, with a constant stream of people arriving all day. And what a day! What a weekend! There was something exciting happening around every corner! Osmo the eagle was making his debut performance in the countryside arena, still on a line at this stage, but John Akerman demonstrated how to train a young eagle and the stage they were at and it was fascinating to listen to and watch.
In the Andy Singleton Arena I passed the scurry drivers doing their stuff, closely followed by the Machine Vs Beast contest, in which a scurry team took on the might of the Isuzu. It was a close run thing! The Horsemen of the Knight were amazing as ever with some truely death-defying stunt riding; and of course, the horseboarding is always fun to watch, with a few thrills and spills on the slippery grass, and no sympathy from the quick witted commentator (I always hear comments as I wander round about how people could ‘listen to that lovely Welsh accent all day’!)
The Country Kitchen area was popular, and I passed just in time to sample some of the delicious chicken curry Raz was demonstrating, then educated in how to butcher a carcas by award winning butcher Johnny Pusztai
We had a working vintage area with a line of colourful tractors providing a lead in to the working farm machinery, and some lovely old cars. Next to that the ferrets were racing, to the usual enthusiastic encouragement, and laughter as two of the ferrets would continually come back out of the wrong end. This was next to the bar, where local ales and ciders were selling at a fast rate in the afternoon sun.
I have to admit, I was quite pleased that I was camping on the other side of the show from the Portsmouth Reptile and Amphibian society. I wouldn’t be too bothered about waking up to a six foot python, but some of the spiders and cockroaches they were showing off to a crowded tent, I would not want to get even close enough to photograph!! They were incerdibly busy all day, with queues of people waiting eagerly to have their photo taken with some of the reptiles there. Fiery Jack went for a this rather handsome python, because it brought out the yellow in his outfit… but I don’t think he was too sorry to give it back!
In the World of Dogs Area the Scurry Bandits were busy all day, with gun dogs and not gun dogs competing over bales of hay to find the dummies in the shortest time. If you needed help to train your dog to do this, Annie Buckley and her team were manning the gun dog clinic with plenty of advice and interesting demonstrations on training your gun dog. Terriers were busy all day too, both racing and showing, and we were delighted to welcome back the ever-popular tent of sealyham terriers, who made a lot of friends during the course of the weekend.
At the Fun Dog Show we had full classes and £300 was raised for local Fareham Rainbow Centre for Disabled Children, and Breast Cancer Research. We had over 45 entrants in total for the junior handling classes, which has to be a record, and some worthy overall winners in Boris the Bassett Hound and Bobby the Springer Spaniel.
All in all a fantastic weekend. Monday was even busier than Sunday and the sun stayed with us until we packed down that evening, for which we are very grateful. A wonderful time had by all.