Because I need my head examining the day before I left to set up for Fibre East I went to the Royal Welsh Show. Mum had a free ticket to help out with the Welsh Beekeepers for part of the day, and I decided to go along with her.
The event itself is huge, a celebration of the very best rural Wales has to offer, livestock, crafts, skills, and of course lots of things to buy!
The weather was beautiful for the entire week, but the heat does tend to leave you feeling even more wipes out than usual after a whole day walking round dodging crowds!
While Mum was doing her stint with the beekeepers I indulged myself in a little sheep admiring.
This fine fellow is an Exmoor Horn
The sheep were all very chilled out, and lying down to avoid getting too hot, but the barns they're in are very well ventilated, and unlike in the fields they weren't in full sun so were pretty chilled about the whole thing. Some of the cows had fans set up above their heads, one bull was standing there blissfully with his head in the draft of air.
Speaking of cows....
Check out the arse on him!
Contrast to the dairy cow whose skeleton looks like a frame to hang her skin off.
Of course I did go off in hunt of all things wooly.
This rather nice shetland very deservedly won the prize of Best in Show.
I have to say I have felt nicer Shetland fleeces though, but it was good to see that something of overall nice quality won, there were a few shockers in the competition though...
Speaking of shockers, I also checked out the handicrafts section for the knitting and crochet classes. The knitted class was for a "knitted shrug" and the judge got rather cross that some of the entries weren't shrugs as they had sleeves...
I suspect this looks much better on, and was the deserving winner, the cabling was wonderfully intricate. The blue one next door unfortunately fell foul of the "sleeves" ruling, but was lovely.
This won second place, and I longed to give it a good bath and a proper block.
The least said about the crochet winner the better....
Maybe next year I'll try and get my act together and drive an entry down to the show ground...
I also find it rather sad that given Wales great woollen history there are no classes for spinning, or weaving, these 2 classes were the only representatives of wool in the whole section, and over half the entries were made of acrylic...
The shearing side of the process was well represented however. The shearing competitions had been happening all week, and the final day was a bit of fun, mostly consisting of competitions between shearers and the axemen. Working in a relay team the axemen were shopping through two 12 inch logs in less than a minute, unsurprisingly the shearers didn't win that competition!
Finally a trip down to the bottom of the showground to the poles that seem to loom over you where ever you are. They were being used for pole climbing competitions.
The Royal Welsh Showground and I are becoming regular acquaintances, Wonderwool is also held there and it's wonderful to see it full to the brim of people, rather than the ghost town we walk through on the way to the sheds where Wonderwool is held.