Posts Tagged ‘Eskdale Agricultural Show’

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew, who is back from Spain.  He was quite surprised to find the moon in his local cathedral.  It had had a very beneficial effect on numbers attending evensong. He tells me that ‘The Museum of the Moon’ is touring the provinces, and will be with him for a month.

Church moon

Rather ominously, it was raining when I woke up this morning, but by the time that I had had breakfast, things had brightened up a lot and the rest of the day was dry and often sunny.

I dawdled over breakfast and then made a venison stew for the slow cooker and finally, after a cup of coffee and a preliminary battle of wits with the prize crossword, I took advantage of the fine weather by going out for a pedal.

A small crop of mushrooms by the side of the road caught my eye soon after I had started….

roadside fungus

I didn’t stop a lot on my ride as I wanted to get back in time to go up to the Agricultural Show but I took a few pictures on my way.

I thought that this one summed up the day well:  sunny and cloudy with a brisk wind.

minsca widmills

I saw some standing bulls…

three bulls

…and some sitting cows…

sitting cows

…along my way.

And it was clear enough for me to able to see a hint of colour on the Lake District hills, 30 miles away.

lake district hills

I plugged away into the wind on my way out and then had a helping hand for the return journey.  With this assistance, I managed 38 miles at a modest pace (13.2 mph) and got home in time to have a quick look round in the garden before going up to the show field.

The astrantia was very popular..

astrantia with three insects

…and a rose, a fuchsia and a cosmos were enjoying the dry sunny weather.

rose, fuchsia, cosmos

When i got to the show field, there were horses…

pony at Ag show


sheep at ag show

…and cattle…

bull at ag show

…to be seen.

There were prize vegetables, cakes, flower arrangements, and many other treats in the industrial tent.  Mrs Tootlepedal had won first prize for a small embroidery but it was disappointing to find that it was the only entry in her class.  Still, as the Castleholm, where the show is held, is a big piece of ground, I can truthfully say that she won first prize in a large field.

As at the Canonbie Flower Show last month, a falconer had turned up with some handsome birds…

three hawks at ag show

…and his assistant was flying an owl.

owl at Ag show

…which got fed up at one point and retired to the top of a public address pole and refused to do any more flying.

errant owl at Ag show

Considering the rotten weather through the week, the show was pretty cheerful.  This picture doesn’t show you the full extent of the mud where people had been walking…

ag show view

…and I was pleased to have my wellies on.

I didn’t stop long as I was a bit peckish after my bike ride and I walked home across the Jubilee Bridge, passing a football match on my way.  I was a touch slow with my shutter finger and the ball had left the shot by the time that I took the picture.

football match

Mrs Tootlepedal is going to find that the garden is looking a little worse for wear when she comes home tomorrow…

droopy rudbeckia

…but there are still some butterflies about.  There are hardly any flowers left on the buddleias and there was keen competition to get on to the last ones today.

butterflies on scarce buddleia

I finished the crossword and then had a quiet sit down until it was time to eat some of the slow cooked venison stew for my evening meal.

As I was walking back from the show, I met my friend Gavin and he told me that part of the fine bridge at Longtown…

Longtown bridge

This was the bridge in July

…had collapsed and the road across it had had to be closed.  I looked on the internet this evening and found that the damage can’t have been too catastrophic as one lane over the bridge has now been re-opened and traffic lights installed.  I shall see if it still open tomorrow when I go down to Carlisle for the choir and to pick Mrs Tootlepedal up. Luckily there is an easy and convenient diversion if required.

The flying bird of the day is that owl while it was still behaving well.

flying owl


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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia, who is hanging around in Brazil focussing on jaguars.  She made a very good job of focussing her camera on this one.

JaguarWe were focussed on the Eskdale Agricultural Show, commonly known as the Cattle Show, for most of the day today.  I started off by cycling up to the field with Sandy’s and my entries for the photographic classes.

Things both great and small had already started on the show field with ponies being led out to be shown to critical judges and shiny new tractors parked to be shown off to prospective purchasers.

pony and tractorsThen I cycled home again and not long afterwards, cycled back with Mrs Tootlepedal do some judging of children’s classes.  There are always a lot of children’s entries and I was a bit worried about the workload ahead.  It turned out though that several judges were being employed and Mrs Tootlepedal and I had just a small section of the whole thing to do.  Across the table, our friends Bob and Nancy were judging some edible entries.

Bon and Nancy judging the cakesMrs Tootlepedal and I managed to agree on the prizewinners in our classes and we had time to look around the tent.  Experts were rating the adult baking classes and Bob and Nancy seemed to be weighing up a bit of broccoli.

judging at the showOur job done, we went for a bit of a wander around.

There were pretty  flowers in the tent and big beasts outside.

flowers and cowThere were sheep of all sorts…

sheep at the showAnd this brightly coloured one was a champion…..

champion sheep…which would be worth a bit of money if properly handled, the judge told us in a confidential aside.

There were lots of horses too.

horse and ponyThere were old hands at one end of the ground and pony club members at the other.

horse and pony clubThere were veteran cars and tractors on show.

morris minor and tractorAnd a bunch of crooks in the tent.

crooksBeing judges, we were treated to a free lunch which was very welcome and then we went home for a sit down.  The secretary had asked me whether I had returned the trophy from last year and after some discussion, we agreed that I had and that she probably had somewhere about.  All the same, I got a bit uneasy and a search through the house when I got back, uncovered the trophy lurking in a corner so I whizzed back up to the show ground with it and arrived just in time to miss the prize giving.  I was rather embarrassed.

There was still quite a bit of time before the tent closed and I could retrieve my photos so I bicycled back home once more and looked around the garden.

The poppies are very battered…

poppies…but a bit of brighter weather had brought a cloud of insects out on the sedum and Michaelmas daisies.  There was so much buzzing that I could hardly hear myself think.

sedumThe sedum was covered in bumble bees, mostly white tailed ones I think.  Mrs Tootlepedal and I counted well over forty on the flowers beside the bird feeders.

There were a few other sorts of bees about.

beesThe Michaelmas daisies were very busy too but they had more hoverflies and flies than bees.

Michaelmas Daisy with bugsThough they did have a pretty butterfly too (but only one).

butterflySome birds looked on.

great tit and robin

A glossy great tit and an untidy robin

And some birds were too busy to notice us.

chaffinchesThen I made my final visit to the field to pick up my pictures.  They hadn’t attracted much attention from the judge with a second place and a highly commended being all I had to show for my efforts.  Sandy had done better with a first in one class and lesser tickets in others..

By the time that I came out of the tent, the top of the field was deserted….

Castleholm…and only a few ropes remained as a memento of a great day’s entertainment.

Everyone was very grateful for the recent spell of good weather becuase the show had been within a whisker of being cancelled if the summer rain had continued for much longer.

I met Mike Tinker on the field with his daughter, her husband and their children clutching several prizes between them and was delighted to find out that his son-in-law Lorne is going to come round tomorrow and spike my lawn for me.  This is kindness far beyond the call of duty and I mowed the  lawn when I got home so that it will show up the spike holes well.

Amidst all the excitement of the day, I managed to find a flying bird in a sunny moment.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture shows William and Sara, two happy prize winners at the Eskdale show today and comes thanks to modern technology from the phone of their mother Liz via her husband’s phone and then on to me by email.  Who knows how many miles the dots have travelled to bring me a picture taken 200 yards away at their grandfather Mike’s house.

William and SaraThe show was the main business of the day for Mrs Tootlepedal and me.  I was up early to take my pictures up to the tent.  It was a cold but bright morning and the showground on the Castleholm looked at its best.

Cattle showEarly competitors could be seen at work.  On one side of the field an anxious farmer was blow drying his cattle and on the other, a horse was being put through its paces.

Cattle showI didn’t stop to see the stock classes being judged but went home for breakfast.  It wasn’t long before Mrs Tootlepedal went up to the field where she was going to help with the disabled driving classes and I was left to do the crossword and wander round the garden for a while.  The cold start to the day hadn’t discouraged the flowers.

Rose The Wren, a cosmos and an Icelandic poppy

Rose The Wren, a cosmos and an Icelandic poppy

nicotiana, geranium and feverfew

Nicotiana, geranium and feverfew

Or a small number of hardy insects.

hoverflyAfter an early lunch, I went back up to the field to see Mrs Tootlepedal.  There were two pony carts on the go and each cart has to have an able bodied and experienced co-driver and at least two assistants on hand.

Pony cart

One of the carts

The ponies are carefully chosen for their calm behaviour.  The carts were driven into the ring for a cone driving competition and the drivers did a good job in negotiating the narrow gates.

Pony cartPausing only to admire a handsome horse and foal….

horse and foal…who were having a well earned feed after winning their class, I left Mrs Tootlepedal and the ponies to their work and went down to the Industrial Tent to see how my photographs had gone on.

I had put three pictures into each of the five classes and Mrs Tootlepedal’s poppies and sunflowers came up trumps, winning all three prizes in the flower study class.  My black and white photos and a selection of butterflies, birds and insects didn’t catch the eye of the judge with the exception of a nuthatch which I had seen from Mel’s hide a few days ago.  It got a third.

My favourite picture of all that I entered, a study of storm clouds behind the Monument, only managed a third in the weather class, just showing that you never can tell what a judge will like.  Two pictures of horse racing on the Castleholm during the summer months got first and second in the sports class and this meant that I am now the (modestly) proud possessor of the cup for most points in the section.

I was modestly proud because neither my friend Sandy, who was assisting the judge, nor the winner for the past few years had entered any pictures this year.

There is a grand parade of prize winners before the prize giving and this would have been a great opportunity of photographs if it hadn’t been extremely gloomy and intermittently raining by this time.  I took a couple anyway.


The winner of the pet class.

cattle winners

Two cattle winners exchange views

Mrs Tootlepedal had been on her feet for several hours by this time and two hours standing is more than enough for my knee so we didn’t stay to enjoy all the fun that we might have.  We did catch the terrier racing but it was too quick for Pocketcam in poor light….

terrier racing…but in fairness, the terriers go at a terrific rate.  My neighbour Liz’s terrier was a worthy second.

I took the opportunity to snap William and Sara’s winning works as we went into the tent to collect our pictures.

Art work

William’s picture of Linlithgow Palace won the special prize for best exhibit in children’s art.

By the time we got home, in a typical jest by the weather gods, the sun came out and it was a beautiful evening.  I had a last wander round the garden before sinking into an easy chair.


Nerines in the evening sunshine.


Mrs Tootlepedal has been taking out some of the poppies that are over but there are plenty left.

The cold morning had meant that there were few insects about but the evening sunshine brought them out again in force

bee and butterflyFor some reason there had been no birds at all at the feeders in the morning and there were very few in the evening either. I wondered whether a sparrowhawk was roaming the neighbourhood or if the colder temperatures had kept them away but neither of these explanations seems a very likely reason for a whole day’s absence so it is a mystery.

One or two birds came to browse under the feeders in the evening.


A robin pretending to be a bee on the sedum.


A surprised dunnock.

And a bold blue tit perched for a moment before flying off.

blue titThe big lesson from today is that I must do some serious work to improve my black and white photographs.  It is no good taking colour pictures and then trying to find one suitable for conversion.  I will have to start looking for things that will look good in black and white before I take the picture.  This will need quite a bit of training for my photographic eye.

I got just one chance of a flying bird today and this is it.  (I look forward with interest to see of the birds return tomorrow.)

flying chaffinch

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