Monday, 29 June 2009

Bletchingley Village Fete

We've just had a lovely couple of days in Bletchingley, although they weren't quite as easy as we had anticipated! Rebecca, Ronan, Tinker and I set off on Saturday morning and arrived in the blazing sunshine to a beautiful, flat field - perfect for shows! However, having struggled to attach the tent to the lorry with just the two of us (normally a three person job), we soon realised that the field wasn't quite so perfect - as Rebecca practically gave herself a coronary hammering the stakes in, the ground was easily the hardest we've come across all year! We'd just finished all the really hard graft and I was in the middle of putting up the stables when who should appear within two minutes of one another but both Tim and Bryn! Boys eh? Who needs them?!

Having finished setting up we were off to the circus! The Great British Circus were pitched about half a mile down the road so it'd have been rude not to go! They are the only touring circus in the country with horses, elephants, camels and tigers - so we were very excited to see them! Unfortunately, the show was disappointing, although there were parts of it that were lovely. The elephant act in particular was beautiful, you could see the trainer had a real connection with his three girls - to the point were he could lie on the floor and one of them stepped over him. I never thought an elephant was capable of being dainty, but that's exactly what she was! They also held each others trunks and tails a lot - really friendly and sweet! I managed to take some surreptitious photos of them (before getting told off for having my camera!), click here to have a look at them and all the rest from the weekend. The tigers were also impressive, although I have to say, for us, the highlight of their act (not intentional) was when one of them turned around and sprayed a couple of people in the ringside seats - absolutely soaking them! Sometimes the cheap seats do have an advantage!!

Once the show was over we had a look around all the stables and the other animals' quarters. All of them looked really healthy and happy, and all had lots of space. The horses' stables were bigger than ours at home, the elephants and camels were turned out in massive paddocks, and the tigers' cages were also a good size. The circus prides itself on their animal husbandry, and it's very easy to see why! We also met up with Yasmine Smart, who is working with the circus training their horses. Yasmine is one of the world's most renowned horse trainers, and is something of an idol to Rebecca and I, so when she invited us to watch her training session in the morning we jumped at the chance!

Having returned to our pitch Rebecca's sister Louise and her boyfriend Shaun came to stay for the evening, so there was quite a few of us in the Jive Pony camp for the night! We had a lovely evening sitting outside, listening to the thunder in the distance but only getting a spattering of rain ourselves!

Come the morning Becca and I gave our boys a good clean (both of them had rolled and also slept in muck so were FILTHY!), and set back off for the circus. We crept into the big top and settled down to watch Yasmine train. She really is incredible, the body language is so subtle she hardly seems to move and yet the horses respond immediately and simultaneously. She was working a group of six Friesian stallions, all of which were between three and five years old, training them for their act in the ring. Although there were only three of them working in the show we had seen the previous day, with a relatively small repertoire, the six of them were being trained together practising far more complicated routines - when they can perform them in the ring it will be fantastic! To see a video of Yasmine presenting a group of six liberty horses in the Big Apple Circus click here - it really is incredible, and both of us felt honoured and privileged to have watched her train. Yasmine will be performing in Gifford's Circus next year, so that will be one definitely not to be missed!

Having returned to our lorry I was horrified to find Tinker had decided to lie down AGAIN, and was, again, absolutely FILTHY! So, he had his second bath of the day and Becca and I set off for a little exploration. We were trying to find the woods to go for a ride, but we couldn't get through the tiny gates, so we ended up riding around a housing estate instead, finding a shop and buying cornettos! These were very welcome as it was an absolute scorcher of a day - apparently the Met Office had issued an extreme weather warning as temperatures were expected to reach 32 degrees C! However, eating a cornetto whilst riding a horse bareback and trying to take photos at the same time is no easy task, and by the time we got back to the lorry I had chocolate all over me - especially my face!

Soon it was show time, and it was so hot I thought both Tinker and I would melt! Despite the heat the show went really well, and then with only a short break in between it was time for the second show! This went really well too - both shows had fantastic audiences, who clapped and cheered in all the right places and gave us lots of encouragement - so thankyou if you were there! The whole fete had a lovely atmosphere to it, and there was lots going on. We saw some amazing trampolining displays, singing puppets, vintage cars, dog shows and a tug of war. The tug of war had a big build up - the teams took the strain, and then... SNAP! The rope broke clean in two in the middle, and everyone on both teams fell over all at once! Not quite sure who won in the end...

We've got another local show this weekend - a one day solo show at Eynsham carnival. Some of our friends are going to be there too, Dingle Fingle and K9 dog display, so it'd be good to catch up with them. Hopefully the weekend will finally be a bit easier - I'll let you know!

Love Rosie xx

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