Blog posts by year and month July 2011

Posts (105)

  1. I'm partial to gundogs, with two of my own crazy beasts (flat-coated retrievers), so it's been great to see Elfyn Thomas of Awyr Iach Gundogs here with his pack. Gundogs are divided into retrievers, setters, pointers and spaniels. Each group has its own specialism, but all of them can do the ...

    Read more

  2. It's 7.40am on the morning of the last day of my first ever Royal Welsh Show. Low cloud hangs menacingly over the natural amphitheatre in which the show ground sits, and a morbid light is permeating the site. It's chilly. So far, we've escaped the bad weather, bar a couple of showers. I hope today's forecast rain doesn't materialise. There's a lot to be said for not walking around with claggy mud caking one's boots. I was asked a couple of days back what happens at the Royal Welsh in the evenings. I've been retiring to the half-Fawlty Towers, half-League Of Gentlemen B&B early, so I've not had first-hand experience of the night-time entertainment, but walking through the carpark this morning I saw a pair of boots, a pair of jeans and some knickers in a pile, so that answers that question. It has struck me, though, that in addition to the young farmers and their wild excesses, and in addition to the serious-faced old hand exhibitors, the number of 'normal' people here is immense. People with an interest rather than a livelihood in rural life have flocked here in numbers. There's a real enthusiasm for the wide range of the displays here, from yesterday's Welsh cobs, to the flower displays and the vintage farm machinery. I've very much enjoyed seeing Elfyn Thomas and his small pack of gundogs (five spaniels and a labrador) doing retrieval work on land and water, and I've 'enjoyed' the atonal efforts of a singing trio yesterday on the Young Farmers Club stand. Heaven Is A Place On Earth by Belinda Carlisle was a particular highlight. Just a little way down the hill on the bandstand was The Regimental Band of the Royal Welsh Infantry blasting out a brass version of Angels by Robbie Williams. It takes all sorts, I suppose. Horses at Liberty One particular highlight for me has been the displays by Jean François Pignon, which he calls 'Horses At Liberty'. Imagine a man with the air of Michael Praed as Robin Hood in Robin Of Sherwood (a great 1980s series, ask your parents), riding bareback, controlling his white steeds with seemingly minimal effort to perform tricks. All accompanied by music that - like that old Robin Hood soundtrack - sounds like Clannad. All a load of hippy guff of course, but entertaining nonetheless. Just as entertaining has been Meirion Owen and the Quack Pack - ducks being herded by a sheepdog. I may try to locate him later on and find out how his Royal Welsh has been. I've got a 12 hour stretch in front of me today so I'm going to be finding things with which to fill my last day. Glancing through the programme, I see pole-climbing, the Interbreed Sheep Group Championship and the Wrought Ironwork Live Competition. I know nothing about any of those, so that's a good start. If there's something the Royal Welsh lacks, it's not variety.

    Read more

  3. Wednesday is always the busiest day at the show, and this year is no exception. There are people everywhere, all eager to share the experience of 'cob day' at the Royal Welsh. Before I start on today's competitions - just a few bits of news from yesterday. You never know who you're going to ...

    Read more

  4. A new documentary from BBC Cymru Wales this week explores Wales' connection with Hollywood. As Torchwood has recently enjoyed the Hollywood treatment, new documentary Wales and Hollywood takes a look back at the films that have portrayed Wales over the years, stereotypes, clichés and all. ...

    Read more

  5. A new project to curate and digitise historic photography from National Museum Wales collections has been made possible with the support of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. The Foundation, which is marking its 50th Birthday this year, has made the ambitious project possible by gifting £600,000. ...

    Read more

  6. I have repeatedly passed the huge sheep shearing shed on the Royal Welsh site this week and today resolved to venture in and see what the hundreds of people are actually seeing. It turns out to be somewhat akin to a boyband. Sheep shearing at the Royal Welsh Show 2011 Let me explain. T...

    Read more

  7. Yesterday we got away with a dry day at the Royal Welsh Show and although it was cloudy and cool it was ideal for walking around the show. The visibility was also good and the cloud base high enough for the Lancaster bomber which entertained the crowds by flying right over the show ground during...

    Read more

  8. This week's show is now available via the iPlayer. Please visit any time between now and the start of the next programme. This week's show is a dense weave of breathtaking sonic fabrics, focusing some of its attention on the imminent Gwyl Gardd Goll Festival (Friday 22 - Sunday 24 July - http...

    Read more

  9. If you get a chance, try and visit some of the conservation tents on site here at the show. All the big players are here including the WWF, RSPB, CCW, BTO and more - all of which are being manned by helpful and willing staff, keen to enlighten you on the state of nature and the environment in Wa...

    Read more

  10. So far this week I've been finding out about the myriad mammals that form the core of the Royal Welsh, but I decide this morning to wander out to the far side of the site to check out the plant marquee. Hoping that my hayfever checks itself in at the door, I head in and, quite frankly, wow. W...

    Read more