There isn’t anything that says English countryside much better than a visit to a County Show, so, to celebrate my ‘Britishness’ I decided to head to the New Forest & Hampshire County Show for the day.
First up we found ourselves in a tent full of vegetables – who even knew there was such a thing as the South of England Potato Championship? Yet there I was looking at the winning potatoes from 2018. I am not sure what the criteria was, but they looked like they would go well with a Sunday roast. Parsnips and turnips, cauliflower and carrots, onions and the biggest cabbages I have ever seen lined the tables and I have been inspired to branch out from tomatoes; when I move house I am going to give potatoes and lettuce a go!
Again, I am unsure of the criteria…but this was the best duck in the show, and I definitely heard the announcer state, quite categorically, that this was also probably the best duck he had ever seen. I guess I need to read up on some of the criteria if I am to become a regular at these types of shows…it certainly will not do to continue showing my ignorance of such matters!
I enjoyed walking around the stalls, although having stopped into a few of the pet shops looking for unnecessary gifts for my dog I soon realised that I could buy most of it on Amazon for about half the price, but I did stumble upon a stand selling hand-made dog biscuits and couldn’t resist spending £3.75 on 4 bone-shaped cheddar biscuits that I will now ration to ensure we get our monies worth!
It was a really lovely day in the southern sunshine – plenty of food and beverage outlets – I had a very yummy burger with 2 patties, pulled pork, home-made slaw and BBQ sauce for lunch. An afternoon iced coffee went down well, and I only wish I hadn’t been driving and could have enjoyed a number of the local alcoholic beverages that were available. There were a lot of samples on offer and I did have a rather disgusting toffee vodka sample which was sweeter than anything I have ever tasted, and a rather more enjoyable rhubarb and ginger gin that I actually regret not buying a bottle off to add to the collection.
My friends arrived and dragged me away from the show jumping event, but I got to see a few clear rounds and a couple of stubborn horses who were not enjoying the heat and didn’t have any interest in cooperating, so I suppose I got a bit of everything before going off to explore farmyard animals with a 4 year old. We held chicks – mine was asleep within seconds but at least it controlled its bladder for the duration of our interaction, and visited cattle, goats, sheep and pigs before ending up watching a rather lacklustre ferret race in which only one of the four competing animals even bothered to go the right way.
The ferrets weren’t even photogenic as they raced through pipes – perhaps they should invest in see-through ones to make the experience more interactive?! Anyway, overall it was a great day; I saw many a rosette awarded for so many things I didn’t understand (my favourite sheep came last in his category so I am clearly not grasping that criteria at all!) What a lovely way to celebrate the English countryside!