Friday, 5 October 2012

Liskeard Show

Well, I thought it was a long way to Abinger Medieval Fair - but that was before we went to Liskeard!  It was to be our last show of the season, and the first one in the new lorry.  The journey was 373 miles, and I'd reckoned on it taking about nine to ten hours, depending on the traffic.  At least it was mainly motorway miles, and the new lorry was a pleasure to drive.  The old one was very hard work, like a constant battle, so I was very happy!  Not so happy when we fuelled up for the first time though; it has twin tanks and I managed to get £243.88 worth of diesel in - ouch!

The journey went really well until we got to the M5.  We were nearly half way, and were planning to get off at the next services, which were about five miles further on, when we stopped.  And stayed stopped.  Whatever was causing the problem was obviously very serious, as there was no traffic coming on the other side of the carriageway either.  Everyone was switching off their engines and getting out of their cars.  People were taking their dogs out for wees on the hard shoulder, so we thought we may as well join in!  We made enough space to get the ramp down, and got the horses off.  I have never done this before on the side of the motorway, but I'm glad we did.  Both boys were needing a wee and a drink, and they happily munched the grass and had a lot of fuss from everybody around us - I don't think they could quite believe their eyes!  After about fifteen minutes of so we saw traffic coming up the other carriageway, so knew we'd be on the move soon.  We didn't realise quite how quickly though, and were still putting the ramp up as traffic started to move around us!  We stopped again in the nearby services anyway (it wasn't just the horses that needed a wee and a drink!), before heading on our way again.  Luckily there were no further incidences and we arrived on the showground nine and a half hours after leaving Yorkshire - perfect!

Having set up and settled in for the night it was time to enjoy the new lorry properly.  Helen cooked delicious omelettes, and we spent the evening in well lit, warm and spacious comfort.  We all slept really well too - Jess even had a proper bed as opposed to a mattress on the floor! 

I spent the morning working Casper in the arena as usual, but I hadn't done very much before we were beckoned over to the side of the arena, and before I knew it we were being interviewed live on BBC Radio Cornwall!  Along with Pauline (the show secretary) we had a good chat with the presenter about what was happening at the show, and then Casper had a nibble on the mic to get his point across also.  After the interview we did a bit more rehearsal, then it was back to the lorry for breakfast!

We had quite a few visitors throughout the day, which was lovely.  First up was Mark, who had been to see us back at Ibstock.  He was down in Cornwall for the weekend with a friend, Dougie, and they'd come to see us specially!  I was showing Mark around the lorry and offered him a cup of tea - only to discover that the gas had run out!  So, not so super fantastic lorry after all.  Our next visitors were family.  Ben's brother lives in Newquay with his wife and two children, and they'd all come up for the day.  I first spotted them during Casper's show, as we were whizzing around - and can even see them in the background of quite a few photos!  They'd bought a big bag of carrots for Tinker and Casper which didn't last very long but made for very happy boys!  Lastly we met a friend's mum, who was on the committee for the show and I think may have had a hand in us being booked in the first place!  All these visits made for a fantastic day, and along with the weather being perfect and both shows going really well we had a great day - it was a lovely way to round the season off!  You can see how much we enjoyed the show from this little video from Cornish Living TV:

We had arranged to stay on site for an extra night, and then drive back up north on Sunday.  However, we were sited quite near the beer tent, and had been warned that there was going to be a very rowdy Young Farmers' party on that evening.  We were advised by the organisers to pack up and move to the top of the show field, where we could set up in an area sectioned off and protected by security - I didn't think Young Farmers were that bad!!  But we took their advice and packed up all the tent and stables, drove 200 meters, and then set it all back up again!  Following this we were all starving, but not having any gas we had to settle for cold quiche and salad for supper, not what we had planned but still very yummy!

In the morning we packed up (again!) and set off on the long drive home.  We made much better time coming back, as there was hardly any traffic and we just trucked on.  And on.  And on.  I had a moment of panic on the way back though.  We'd stopped at a services for the boys to get off for a while, and were taking it in turns to go in for a wee.  I'd gone in last and as I was walking back towards everybody I suddenly realised I didn't have the lorry keys with me.  I'd taken them into the services with me, but had left them in there!  Massive panic!!  We were still 200 miles from home, the lorry was completely locked, and I hadn't had a chance to get spares cut yet so they were the only set.  I ran back into the services and back into the loos.  I knew I'd left them in there, but they were nowhere to be seen.  I spent the next ten minutes going around all the shops asking if they'd been handed in, but to no avail.  Eventually I spotted a lady walking away who I thought may have been cleaning the loos when I'd been in there, so I ran after her shouting 'Excuse me!  Excuse me!'  Everyone was looking at me, except her.  I finally caught up with her and got her attention - it turned out she was foreign and didn't really understand what I was asking.  But, after some bad acting on my part ('Key, key' - Turning hand action), she seemed to grasp what I was trying to say and off we went!  She had the keys on her cleaning trolley, locked away in a cupboard - I would never have found them!  Thankfully they were safe and I was so grateful to her - major disaster averted!!  I have made Helen and Jess promise they will not let me take the keys anywhere unless I have a pocket or bag to put them in from now on.

We made it home without any further mishaps, and the boys were very happy to be back in their field - they rolled and rolled!  Although we were all pleased to be home it's quite sad to think we won't be out again until next year - I can't quite believe the season is over already, it really has flown by.  Despite a difficult few shows due to the weather, and a heartbreaking July when every show cancelled, we have had a fantastic first season - better than I ever could have hoped for.  Special thanks must go to the lovely Helen, who threw herself in at the deep end having never commentated before, and has been just brilliant with that and everything else (mucking out in the onesie especially!).  And to Jess, for being a great help with everything.  However, there are two boys without whom none of this would be possible.  I owe everything to Tinker and Casper, and am eternally grateful to them both.  Throughout the summer they have both made me laugh endlessly, and although they have both had their moments, they have been amazing in every single show.  I am incredibly lucky to have such wonderful horses, and feel privileged that they are both so generous towards me and all the ridiculous things I ask of them.  Thank you boys, I love you both very, very much.

Looking forwards to 2013 we have quite a few shows booked in already (hooray!) - have a look at the map and calender on the website to see where we'll be.  In the meantime, you can see some photos from sunny Liskeard by clicking here.

I'll keep you posted over the winter months on what we get up to at GA HQ, and feel free to follow us on facebook and/or twitter for more regular updates.  2012 Summer Season - over and out!

Love Rosie x