Reporting from Pontypool
22.07.2011 - 23.07.2011 21 °C
Wednesday night - Paris, France
Thursday night - New Inn, Wales
Friday night - Stony Stratford, England
Saturday - CLA Game Fair....
What is the CLA Game Fair?? It's the Country Landowners Association annual fair. We were going with my lovely friend Sarah, who we stayed with on Friday, and who I know from Sydney, and see either here in the UK or in Australia usually once a year, but missed out in 2010. She is a little bit 'country' as she grew up with her own pony. It's funny when we catch up, because it doesn't ever feel like there was a 9 - 24 month gap in our lives, and we truly just pick up where we left off. We had a lovely afternoon when we arrived, went to a gorgeous park to feed the ducks, and then the kids had a lovely play in a little playground with some local kids while we sat and caught up!
We had a lovely evening, slightly interrupted by some minor flooding and quick plumbing DIY (thoroughly enjoyed by Mike, although much consternation for Sarah), and some Thai takeaway while the kids watched TV in bed!
So Saturday dawned bright and beautiful, and we headed to the Game Fair, explaining to Jie Jie that 'Game' meant animals like deer, ducks and wild boar, and that the people who attended this were hunters. And that there were not going to be many games to play. The dress code was rural chic, and I envied Kate Middleton's wardrobe (again). I learned a lot about fancy boots. Other attendees were leading their dogs, lovely pointers and retrievers, and Jie Jie was very concerned that we didn't have a dog with us, because she worried then that we would have to collect the animals we killed ourselves. Oh dear, I didn't realise she was quite so au fait with the concept of hunting and retrieval. She was particularly keen on the ferrets and birds of prey too.
We wandered around looking at all the displays, and it had everything, from outdoor furniture, to saddleries, to polar fleece shops, to country produce, to artwork (usually depicting hunting scenes) and sculptures. Check out this statue Jie Jie had a fascination for, complete with dead bird!
It was held in the grounds of Blenheim Palace, a private home which has a hereditary title associated. Apparently the next-in-line has declared that when he 'finally' inherits it, he is going to put in a polo field, because there isn't one. The fair is held every year, but location varies, it was last at Blenheim Palace about 3 years ago. The house, I'm sure you'll agree, makes a splendid backdrop for the main arena, where we saw dog trials, and shooting demonstrations.
Highlight of the day, was probably the trick pony riding demonstration, where a girl, with fabulous legs and a very short skirt, rode around a ring doing acrobatic stunts. Jie Jie and Didi were breathless.
It was a lovely day, an eye opening experience to watch the differing attendees - there were the Pimms and Lemonade set who picnicked in the car park, there were the keen hunters and shooters, with their own guns and dogs, there were the tourists like us and the city folk, wannabe rurals!
Terrific day out - thanks for encouraging us to come Sarah - now to get you to Shanghai!!!!