Well, we got back from the Cheshire Country Show this morning, and I can honestly say I think it was the best this year so far!
It was a three day show over the bank holiday – and that really takes a bit of stamina! But the sun shone throughout and after a quiet day on Saturday, the crowds really picked up on Sunday and Monday and we were manically busy on the dog show for most of the time… although we had enough helpers that I could slope off occasionally and do some other photography as well!
The main highlight of the show for me was definitely the display team of security dogs led by the amazing Ian Griffiths and his team. They were doing displays in the activities arena, but were based next door to us, so we had the privilege of watching their general dog training and gun dog training displays there as well, which went on regularly all day and with a constant stream of people asking advice about their own dogs.
The thing about these dogs, is that although they are trained as security dogs, have a hard and determined bite and a ferocious attitude on command, which you really wouldn’t want to argue with… it really is on command, and although I could have reached out and touched them I was so close, I was in no danger whatsoever. That’s real control and proper dog training and it was brilliant to see.
Part of the act in the arena was showing how one of the dogs would actually run up to a moving van, with a’criminal’ firing a
gun out of the window, jump through the window and disarm the man still driving. Impressive stuff. Even more so from the back of the van, attempting to photograph the dog as she hurtles through the window towards him at 100mph (No, my focus wasn’t fast enough but I so enjoyed trying!)
Judging by the size of the crowd around the arena, a lot of people really enjoyed watching Ian and his dogs. I have every respect for the team working with them because they really understand their dogs and provide an excellent service as well as one of the most informative and entertaining displays I’ve seen in a while. Hoping to see them back again at future shows.
I will also remember Cheshire as the show where I got my first beating stick. The pheasant shooting season is fast approaching and I was under pressure to get properly kitted out this year. Of course, everything you need you can find at a Living Heritage Show, so after buying a good pair of wellies and a few pairs of socks I was taken to meet Dave Gater at the SticksnBits stand.
“The stick chooses the beater”, he informed me, nodding wisely, and immediately I was transported into Diagon Alley, and as he pointed out the ash, the blackthorn and the hazel, handing them over for me to swish around a bit, I had to prevent myself from asking whether they were unicorn tail or dragon heartstring at the core…
Meanwhile, the dog show attracted the biggest crowds of the season so far, and classes – especially on the Sunday – were well over subscribed. Overall winners were Twiggy, a saluki cross on Saturday; Floyd the border collie on Sunday and Saddler the pointer on Monday. Hopefully they will all be able to join us at Bowood House for the Grand Overall Winner on the Sunday afternoon. And special mention has to go to the adorable sunflower and her bee who won the fancy dress on Monday. They were extremely cute and for the first time a fancy dress winner came overall second.
Just a quick plea before we leave the dog show: Andy would love to reach over 200 likes on the Facebook page by the end of the season – and there isn’t long to go! So if you enjoyed the show this weekend, please head over to our Facebook page and give it a ‘like’. You will make an old man very happy (said ‘old man’ could well be sacking me before the next show for that last sentence)
We were very pleased to be able to generously support the work of West Yorkshire Dog Rescue at the Cheshire Show. Thanks very much to everyone who came along and got involved.
Other highlights: I enjoyed watching the stunt team again, don’t know how he gets that motorbike flying so high but it’s great entertainment.
I also loved watching the horse-boarding (horses pulling skateboarders if you missed it!!) It’s the sort of thing you stop to just watch one or two… and find yourself still glued to it half an hour later! Really exciting.
And of course it was the last international chain saw carving competition of the season too, with competitors from all over the world carving sculptures as diverse as dragons in castles, stick men on enormous chairs, love benches, seahorses and anything else their creative minds can come up with to make out of a simple block of wood. These were auctioned off at the end of the weekend, and some very lucky people will be enjoying their talents for many years to come.
All in all an excellent show in Cheshire, and very happy crowds at the end of the day (at least until they hit the stationary M6 trying to get home!
Quick turn around of photos at home and only ten days to Sandringham: another big show.