Monday, 24 June 2013

Between Shows ...

Memorable 'royal' moments
The Royal Three Counties Show was such a  magnificent event, truly justifying its 'royal' status that it warrants a reprise on this Blog. So for just this week and next I will be posting memories from our collection of images taken during the Show. And then previewing the Malvern Autumn Show will begin. Show details are already on the website. And as ever with Malvern, nothing stands still; exciting new trends offering visitors a couple of days (September 28th & 29th) in which to experience a true celebration of food, the countryside, gardening and nostalgia. Click here to instantly access the website.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Royal Three Counties Show - Final Day

Bright sunshine here on the Showground, and as I haven't yet 
mentioned horses, I took this around 8.00am
My last post from the Show here at Malvern; a beautiful day and the 'backdrop' as lovely as ever. Ir's been busy on all parts of the showground; I just wish I had been able to share more with followers of this blog. But if I sat in the press tent all day writing, I would have nothing to report!

from Busking vicars to glow-worms!
My Sunday collage is a mixture of what I have seen and done - Jack's Blog covered the farming side of things, though I have sneaked in a couple of animal images, and will post a final collage of farming pics once back home. Animals, plants, shopping, and not forgetting the Orchid Show (the plants middle right were grown by schoolchildren).

A true champion
But my abiding memory of the Show was seeing two very small boys with their daddy; the boys carrying sleeping bags, the father a picnic bag with thermos. It was Friday evening and they were going to spend the night in the livestock pens with their animals. Dedication, love and care surely sum up the farming community. What will 2014 bring?

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Food, glorious food at the Royal Three Counties Show

Truly, the sun has been shining today (this taken Friday)
It’s been a day of sunshine and showers, but nothing to deter the visitors who have thronged here from far and wide. The hills must be in watching mode, looking lovelier than ever in the greens of early Summer. My day has been as busy as was yesterday’s, striding between venues and exhibits. WiFi has not caught up with necessity to broadcast speedily so I am actually ahead of the facility, but have spent such a varied an enjoyable time. 

So much more than is shown here - come and see yourself
Farming is all about FOOD and what with mouth-watering treats, and the need to purchase supper, I guessed a Show food collage might give pleasure. A mosaic of seven images can hardly show the diversity of products on display and for sale: there are culinary treats fit for a queen. From tasty meats, artisan breads, jams and pickles to succulent vegetables and scrumptious wines and cordials – and plenty of eateries – no-one need go home hungry! Added to all that is on offer has been a series of demonstrations in the Cookery Theatre, hosted by Katie & Glyn Johnson of Wot’s Cooking, who apart from supplying the ingenious, fully operational travelling kitchen, also run their own ‘small’ smallholding on the Shrophshire/Welsh border. A full programme is also available on Sunday.

In the Collecting Ring
The farm animals are magnificent, with more breeds being shown at the Royal than in any previous year. But talking about farming is not part of my remit, as farming is not in my blood and I know very little about it. So please, for the agricultural aspect of things, do read “Jack’s Blog” written by a local young farmer with his own flock of sheep.

Snapshots of the Royal - day one

Packed with visitors - and how marvellous to see so many 
school children - some may be inspired to work in farming
The former Three Counties Show - just granted the Royal seal of approval, and thus now known as the Royal Three Counties Show - has kicked off to a fantastic start. Royal status will almost certainly affirm its place as one of the top agricultural shows in Britain; the venue has in fact been a favourite with the Royal family since the early days on its permanent site at Malvern, with HM The Queen Mother visiting the first showground show in 1981. The Show’s new title acknowledges its contribution over two centuries to the promotion of breed development, commercial farming and food production, together with its efforts to create opportunities for “educational interface between farmers and consumers”.

The RBST has joined forces at the Show with NFU Countryside
Additionally, it is a grand day out for families from all over the region, and beyond, and allows those seeking to support rural endeavours the chance to do so. I have selected six organisations offering family-friendly advice and activities related to farming and the country side, and all of whom welcome the public’s interest. Starting with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) – the leading national charity working to preserve the UK’s rare native breeds of farm animals and poultry from extinction. Become a member and you will be helping to support a vital genetic resource. Stand OS608

Farmers helping the countryside
The RBST have teamed up for this Show with NFU Countryside (also on Stand OS608) – a membership organisation for people who are passionate about rural life. The NFU supports farmers professionally of course, but the NFU also realised the tremendous appetite of consumers for farming news, and created a separate division, and magazine, specifically for those interested in food and farming, wildlife and gardening; plus country homes, dogs and horses. Reconnecting with a rural lifestyle and keeping rural traditions alive is top of the agenda for many Show visitors, so do take advantage of reduced membership fees when joining both organisations, an opportunity only available when subscribing over this weekend.

The CRT are establishing a network of demonstration farms
To my shame, I had not heard of the CRT – The Countryside Restoration Trust (and I had though I was completely au fait with most initiatives connected with farming and agriculture). The Trust is committed to promoting the importance of a living and working countryside through education, demonstration and community involvement. As such, it is establishing a network of demonstration farms across Britain, which, using sensitive farming methods, will show how to protect wildlife whilst producing good quality food and preserving our countryside for future generations. Launched 20 years ago in response to fears about over-intensified and industrialised farming, it now manages over 1,000 acres of land with properties throughout various counties. Become a friend of the Trust, to receive special invitations and details of guided farm walks, talks and other events.

Each of the above national organisations provide regular magazines as part of your membership fee.

Enjoying birdwatching at the RSPB's Lock Garten reserve
All visitors to the Show must surely be familiar with the RSPB – Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. As well as their many reserves open to the public,  they provide detailed information on planting gardens for birds and other wildlife. As urbanisation creeps into more and more gardens, those sympathetic to maintaining a viable eco-system, can help enormously; counteract the

And finally, the Malvern Hills Conservators are caretakers of over 3,000 acres of hills and commons and manage them for public benefit.  Directly relevant to the Showground as it sits below part of this magnificence and created a stunning and theatrical backdrop for any show. A distinctive range of peaks and gullies, the Malvern Hills (an AONB, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) comprise a number of diverse landscapes, rich in wildlife, flora and fauna – and with easy access. The aim of the Hills Conservators is to keep the land as close to nature as possible whilst keeping it as open space for public recreation and enjoyment.

Now to explore the rest of the Show - only two more days - today and Sunday 16th June - to do so.

Discover more at the exhibitor websites:

The Malvern Conservators:

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Interim post: pre- 'Royal Three Counties Show'

All it needs now are the visitors and action in the main arena
I'm back on the Showground in readiness for the opening tomorrow of the 'Royal Three Counties Show'. Trawling through an advance copy of the Show Guide, it is going to be bigger and better than ever before. (If only my technology hasn't been misbehaving, I could add more photos and up to the minute news.) All should be sorted once I am in the Press Area tomorrow. Meanwhile, do click on the Show website, and do come along and enjoy the very best in "Food, Farming, Countryside" - Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire at its most beautiful.

Clear signage all around
the Showground will
facilitate your visit
My husband (photographer Ray Quinton), has been all round the Showground, taking images which he is now downloading and which I will have ready to post tomorrow. Though there is so much I want to see that it may not be until evening that I get around to it! He has also been talking to many of the farming community - it really IS a farming show, and how magnificent that it should be so.

My other announcement is that I have created a photo scrapbook of images we have taken at the various shows we have attended here over the years. It's called 'Malvern Three Counties Showground Scrapbook' and as yet it has only two images in it! We have thousands which I will add bit - a memory of the enjoyment that we - and so many others - have gained from visiting here. Log into it here.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Royal Three Counties Show - Second Preview

Cattle lineup in the judging ring
Looking back at my first preview – and an introduction no doubt for many readers to the fact that someone called ‘Ann’ was also blogging about the first ever ‘Royal’ at Malvern, as well as young farmer Jack – I did not have space for that much and concentrated on food. Food is essential to us all and a great aspect, but there’s far more to this Show than that. For a start, what a grand day out you can have as a family for very little cost. Come for as little as £8.00 per ticket (based on advanced family ticket price) – tremendous value for families: food, shopping and entertainment – and of course farming. If you haven’t already done so, do purchase tickets now to take advantage of this special offer.

Adam Henson with
a young admirer
Just look at some of what is on happening: Exciting Entertainment, Farming Village, Countryside & Forestry, Horse Village, Discovery Zone, Village Green, Food & Drink, Rural Business and the International Orchid Show. You can even say “hello” to one of the nation’s favourite farmers, rural TV presenter, Adam Henson (Saturday 15th only).

Skill and daring to delight the crowds
I still don’t have space to cover the Show in its entirety but will outline what I can. Take the Main Arena, situated at the heart of the Royal.  It’s a hub of entertainment and action with a jam-packed timetable of displays, competitions and exciting shows. Many of the activities are repeated every day, though not necessarily at the same time, so check your Show Guide on arrival so you don’t miss something you really want to watch. Don't miss the Royal Signals White Helmets motorcycle display team; the Devil's Horseman with an exhilarating Jousting and Cossack show; the Red Devils Parachute Team; the brilliant Paws for Thought Dog Display Team; Horse & Hounds; Show Jumping and Heavy Horses and the prestigious and ever-impressive Grand Livestock Parade! WOW, if you did nothing else, you could be entertained from show opening to closing.

Where else could you get so close to magnificent farm animals?
The Farming Village is perfect for becoming acquainted at close quarters with livestock of all types and breeds. There are livestock competitions each day and you can watch the live judging and competitions as exhibitors show off their fine animals – you will become absorbed in this fascinating experience, and be amazed at the very young age of some of the handlers. Walk the livestock lines and meet your favourite farm creatures from cows and pigs to sheep and goats. Equally entertaining, and equally serious, is the Sheep Shearing: you can watch the amazing talent of shearers from all over the country, and even the world, as they demonstrate with each other in competition their amazing speed and skill. The show counts as a qualifying event for the English team so the pressure will be on!

Showing how it's done in the Blacksmithing & Farriery area
Visitors who would like to learn more about the countryside will be able to enjoy a day equally packed with activity. Just head for the popular Country Pursuits Village for a full timetable of country displays including gundogs, ferrets, threshing, Jive Pony, Doug Joiner Horse Logger, Sheepdog Training and much more. There’s Blacksmithing & Farriery (situated by the Lake) where you can watch skilled craftsman take part in live competitions throughout the day. The Poultry Marquee and Championship Poultry Show is home to an impressive display of a wide range of birds including bantams, large fowl and waterfowl, again at close quarters. And if your children are looking for a pet other than a dog or cat, think Rabbits - Britain’s third most popular choice of pet. The Rabbit Section is the ideal place to talk to the experts about keeping them.

Spinning demo
Forgotten Skills? Discover how to use a pole lathe and have a go at butter-making, candle-making and wool craft. Head for the Forgotten Skills Marquee, with its demonstrations of traditional crafts that were once part of everyday life. All the items on display at the Show are unusual and individual, produced by the craftspeople themselves and rarely found on the average high street – a trip down memory lane, perhaps, or the beginning of a new hobby.

A real treat - shopping for hand-spun yarns, clothes and accessories
If this is your first online visit to Ann’s Malvern Jotter, take a look at the previous post to familiarise yourself with what will be happening in the Cookery Theatre, hosted by Katie & Glyn Johnson of Wot's Cooking;  savour in your imagination the numerous food stalls. And if you love shopping, make time to browse for antiques. With an eclectic mix of unique treasures on display, you will surely find a truly special gift or ‘must-have’ piece to add to your collection. The Antiques Fair boasts a variety of antiques and collectibles from around 30 dealers including small furniture, vintage and retro clothing, 19th & 20th century ceramics, jewellery, bronzes, pictures and books.

Food, farming and the countryside - a celebration
A right royal occasion? I know it will be and will be there myself next week on all three days – 14th, 15th and 16th June – blogging live (WiFi permitting). You too can be a part of a great day out in the British countryside, celebrating a truly unique way of life. Enjoy yourself, for apart from the busy, busy Show, there is of course its stunning location. Who could not be captivated by that backdrop of hills?