Today the Surrey County Ploughing Match and Country Fair was held at Loseley Park, which isn’t very far from us. We try and go whenever it’s on (not always successfully) because it’s always great fun. Apart from the thrill of the ploughing (there was a steward’s enquiry today) there are things like terrier racing, dog agility, constant clay shoots and, this year, a vintage threshing display. Seriously, life doesn’t get much more exciting than this.
One of the great things about Loseley is that we can take the dogs. There are always lots of dogs and the poodles are treated to sensory overload. Their heads dart in every direction, on their guard for the entire time they’re there. Tails up, tails down, tails totally unsure of which way to go. They get completely manic. We look envious at the dogs who are lying by their owners, fast asleep. Our two wait until they get home, then collapse.
This year, we were treated to an aerobatic display by the Red Hawks Duo. Two small, single propeller planes performing almost balletic movements in the sky. The crowd thoroughly enjoyed them.
When we arrived, Julian Ford was in the main ring giving a demonstration of falconry. His birds are magnificent. When not performing, they sit quietly on stumps under his canvas shelter, giving everyone the evil eye. Beautiful birds.
Given that my lovely Australian hat was either stolen by the BT Engineer or hidden in the depths of the South East trains lost and found cave, I was on the look out for a new hat. Little did I know that Mirinda was after a deerstalker. Actually, I’m not sure she knew she was looking for one. She felt the combination of ear and head protection was a sure fire hit. Her ears are not that keen on icy cold winds and her Lord and Taylor ear muffs, for some reason, have grown inadequate.
The deerstalker she bought is a bit like a racy convertible. The sides fold up for a day without wind but as soon as it starts up, a simple slip of the knot and, wham, down the flaps come, protecting the ears. And speaking of convertibles…we had a bit of a stroll around the vintage cars on display. They were mostly quite pretty.
We both rather liked the pink Figaro. Mirinda took a photo for her sister who loves all things pink. I actually quite liked the little delivery van. It looked exactly like the little Matchbox ones only slightly bigger.
We had delicious wild venison burgers for lunch and a pint of Hogs Back TEA for me. That’s the other reason for going to Loseley. It’s not very far from the Hogs Back brewery. During lunch we watched a bit of agility.
Of course we also watched the ferret racing, (presented by the Surrey Ferret Rescue) which was quite funny because the ferrets had no idea what they were supposed to do and spent ages strolling through the pipes. We also watched the threshing machine for a bit. I marvelled at this.
Nowadays farmers use a couple of farm machines which first bail the hay and then wrap the bail in plastic before dumping it in the field, ready to be picked up by a third machine. It’s all very automatic and doesn’t take very long. it’s also quite fun to watch. However, these threshing machines bundle the hay into rectangles by forcing it into a long rectangular tube and compressing it.
I rather enjoy watching these big farm machines churning over and doing what they were designed for. Of course, I can also hear every agricultural labourer I’m descended from complaining that these machines took away their livelihoods and left them to move into the urban factories of the great cities. I still enjoy watching them, though.
The time eventually arrived where we’d had enough and we started heading back to the car, passing the clay shooting which the dogs absolutely hate. We retrieved dusty Sidney and headed into the long stream of departing traffic.
A perfect day (I even had some Turkish delight) topped off by my successful purchase of a new hat!