Friday, 19 August 2011

Chagford Show

It seems that country shows, of which this was one, are an evolving breed. They started most likely as an opportunity to buy and sell livestock, perhaps show off your capabilities as a farmer or breeder, and certainly meet and greet the local country side community - including a doff of the cap to the local dignitary. But as with most things, they change over time, mostly as a result of their success - puling in crowds and thus attracting those whose interest in country affairs is peripheral at best.

Yet it's animals that are still the prime focus, even if what are shown off aren't necessarily of the working variety much less anything that might turn a profit at the abattoir.

Here's the modern version of terrier racing in which the only terrier on view decides to turn back.

As it happens, this was one of four races, this one involving 'large dogs'. The winner was the mean looking black lab on the far right of the last shot. Helpful Holidays can send the very helpful cheque any time. Now would be good.

Another evolving aspect is the gentle conversion towards commercial exhibition space. Ever a source of income for the marquee providers, exhibitors with only a neglible connection to country life will purvey their wares to a cash-strapped general public. Here's a couple of notables.

Chagford, for those with an interest, nestles on the southerly rise of the Teign Valley. It's an incorrigible hotchpotch of small shops and quaint streets, and boasts a fantastic cricket club with a two story club house, the result of a very sizable inheritance from some cricket mad rich bloke. The show takes place on the other side of the A382 on land owned by Whiddon Park House, itself overlooked by the weird majesty of Castle Drogo.

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