Sunday, 26 July 2015

Oatlands Village Fayre

Having got back from Weald Park late on Monday night, it felt like I'd not had much time to turn the lorry around (unpack, wash all costume and pad covers etc, clean out, empty toilet and refill water tanks, repack etc etc) before we were heading off again to the next show - Oatlands Village Fayre down in Weybridge.  Imie only lives very close so was planning on meeting us there, but as Helen would be coming in the lorry Monty was once again relegated into the back.

We trundled down without too much traffic (M25 on a Friday afternoon is never something to look forward to!), but on arrival at site we were greeted by a very very tight gate, set on an angle, with railings to content with as well - it was far tighter than either Todmorden or Colchester, let alone Hampsthwaite!  It took an awful lot of wiggling, along with holding the traffic up before we finally managed to squeeze our way in, but squeeze our way in we did!  We were then sited in a lovely corner surrounded by trees, and set up in no time.  We've got our set up pretty slick now, everyone has their own jobs and just gets them done. It's so nice not having to check everything because I know it will have just been done! And it means that even working at a nice pace and not rushing, we can be sitting down eating supper with the horses in their stables and sorted out within an hour and a half of arriving - not bad at all!  It'll certainly come in handy later on in the season when we have to travel from show to show!!

The following day was a lovely sunny day, and considering there was virtually nothing on site when we arrived, the whole fayre sprung up in no time - it always amazes me how an empty field can be transformed into a bustling event in only a few hours.  We had a lovely big space to warm up in and both the boys worked in beautifully. Casper was calm and concentrating, which with experience I have learnt usually doesn't bode well for the show!!  I wasn't wrong!  In the time it took us to walk the twenty metres from the tent into the arena he went from a lovely relaxed horse into a ridiculous excited one.  It's so frustrating, I can work him as much as I like at home and he is always absolutely foot perfect.  He's calm and lovely at shows until the very second he walks into an arena, and most of the time he's brilliant then as well. But one time in ten he will be so wound up its untrue!  I have no idea why he's like it at some shows and not at others, there doesn't seem to be any correlation between arena size, audience size, speaker distribution, music volume, surrounding attractions (stalls, rides, etc) or anything. Sometimes he's just manic and that's all there is to it, and you never know until you get I to the arena.  He's a conundrum for sure and certainly keeps me on my toes!!

Despite Casper's best efforts though both shows went through really well - vaulting on him was just sped up somewhat!  And thank god for Tinker!!  He's so sensible and lovely he is always a pleasure - although I know the audiences always prefer cheeky naughty Casper!

Before long it was time to pack up and head home - once we'd squeezed our way back out of the teeny tiny gateway that was!  I only got a few photos from the day, which you can see here.  But to make up for my lack of photos Imie has done another vlog!

We've got a weekend off before heading down to Hove for the Martlets Hospice Carnival on the late May Bank Holiday Monday - that'll be my next blog post!

Love Rosie x

Weald Park Craft and Country Show

The early May bank holiday saw Tinker, Casper, Monty and myself loading into the lorry and trucking off to Essex, for the Weald Park Craft and Country Show.  Both Helen and Imie were going to be meeting us there, so it was Monty who rode shotgun as my co-pilot - and very happy about it he was too!

It was another show for Classic Festivals, the organisers behind Framlingham Country Show - and it always makes things easier when you know how a show will operate!  Imie was also a happy bunny, as that week she'd bought herself a Go-Pro and was looking forward to filming our weekend.  She started off by filming all of our set up on time lapse, which is hilarious looking back at it!  My favourite part is watching me sledgehammer in all the stakes - in time lapse mode it just looks like I'm a pneumatic beast! If only it happened that easily in real time!!

Both shows went through really well on the Sunday, although unfortunately as it had been raining most of the morning the crowds weren't as big as hoped.  We've been really lucky with the weather so far, as it's rained before, in between and after our shows but not during - yet!  The evening came out nice so Tinker and Casper spent a few hours in the arena munching on the grass.  They also met Boris, the giant tortoise the girls met at Framlingham.  They were absolutely fascinated by him and couldn't seem to figure out what to think!

Luckily the weather was much better on Monday, and the whole show was far far busier. The crowds were great and everybody got behind us clapping and cheering in all the right places.  There were a couple of particularly enthusiastic chaps in Tinker's show, who made almost more noise than the whole rest of the audience put together!  I'm not sure if they genuinely thought the show was beyond hilarious, or if they'd just spent a bit too much time in the beer tent - I suspect the latter!

Before long the weekend was over and Monty and I were trucking our lonely way home.  Much as I love the hound he's not much of a conversationalist!  We managed to get a few photos of the weekend, which you can see here.  Next up is a one day show down in Weybridge, Oatlands Country Fayre, so I'll tell you all about that next!

Love Rosie x

Monday, 20 July 2015

Colchester Town Show

Our next show following Framlingham was Colchester Town Show, run by Oakleigh Fairs. I've known Charlie, Emma and Daniel (the organisers) for years, and having not seen them since Poole Town and Country Show back in August I was looking forward to seeing them all again.  Helen was meeting us there so she'd be able to make a quick getaway on Sunday evening, so it was Imie, myself and the three boys packed into the lorry.  We made good time on the journey, but then spent ages trying to find the correct entrance to the park - we ended up at one point down a very narrow lane with a tight bend and had to do a many many pointed turn to try and turn around! We finally managed to wind our way down yet another teeny tiny lane and through a VERY narrow gate (reminiscent of the one at Todmorden Show but not quite so bad!) and we were finally there on site! Hooray!!

It was lovely seeing the crew again, and we were set up and sorted in no time.  The next day we were soon ready for the shows. The first one started well, but having not had much space to warm up in Casper was full of beans! As I was working on Tinker at the start of the show I could see him out of the corner of my eye dancing about and being silly, so when Helen said 'It's time to welcome Casper to the show, he's been waiting very patiently in the wings...' I nearly burst out laughing as he most certainly had not been!!

Roman riding was interesting to say the least, as Casper was plunging and broncing which is far from ideal. Poor Tinker was obviously just wondering what on earth was going on, and who was the massive idiot he had been clipped to.  Despite Casper's best efforts though everything went through as planned, just with a bit more oomph!  Luckily his oomph was mostly run out by the second show, so I could relax and enjoy it all bit more.  Having said that, I always enjoy the shows, even when Casper is being a massive fool - and the more of a fool he is the more the audiences seem to enjoy it!!

Helen and Imie spent the evening practising their head stands (good for shoulder stands!), and then we all tried to fly one another in various different acrobatic moves - with equally varying degrees of success!!

Sunday went through very smoothly and before we knew it it was time to pack up and head home. And that's where it got interesting! We had to wiggle our way back out of the very narrow gate before doing another many many pointed turn before winding our way back along the narrow little road, but we did it!  We were then happily whizzing back down the A12, thinking we'd be home in no time, when BOOM! A tyre blew.  Balls.  We pulled over in a layby and rung the breakdown people.  They were brilliant and within the hour a lovely chap called Jay had arrived with a shiny new tyre and proceeded to change it for our burst one.  The horses were so good, as the lorry was jacked up and a pneumatic tool was used to undo the wheel nuts right under their front feet - Imie kept them occupied by feeding them carrots so they were happy as anything!

We were soon back on the road, and on our way home - the whole episode only put us back just under two hours, so not so bad, although I was very glad to finally get home!  We've a few photos from the weekend which you can see here.

We then had a couple of weeks off, before heading of to Weald Park Country and Craft Show over the May bank holiday, so I'll tell you all about that next!

Love Rosie x