We took a small but perfectly formed show team selected from the massed ranks of the Mighty Patou army.
Patou Todd, our rose grey boy and Patou Talisker who had taken the brown male championship at the Ellingham show last month.
We also took a third member of the herd for his show debut. The third member of the team was none other than a very special little boy, Patou Tsar. Those of you who regularly read this drivel will know that Tsar is the little male that we struggled to keep alive last summer and over the winter. After a long hard and emotional battle we have managed to get the bugger sorted out and although he is still a bit on the small side he is in fine fettle.
Anyway off we set well equipped for the day ahead. I had been up early cooking sausages so that Gus and I could breakfast in style rather than pay £4 for a crap bacon butty. The sausages were put in a thermos flask, we had buns, ketchup, hot coffee for me and hot chocolate for Gus. Nice.
We arrived and unloaded and then had to move the car and trailer to a field designated for trade parking. We trudged back talking about the fantastic sausage butties we were going to devour washed down with our own home made hot beverage of choice. We arrived back at the alpaca marquee salivating and in one of our customary hunger frenzies.
Angus sat down and eagerly awaited the promised feast. It was then that I realised that we had left all the food in the boot of the car! With the judges briefing fast approaching we didn't have time to go back and get it. After the judges briefing we then had Todd in the second class, still no time to get it! Todd went and came second in the intermediate grey class which meant he had to go into the grey championship line up! How inconsiderate! How inconvenient! By now we were becoming ravenous and were looking around for things to eat, hay was looking tasty. Finally at just after 10am we were able to return to the car and breakfast was soon underway. The Patou army marches along in a much better mood when it is well fed!
Our next venture into the ring was with the two brown boys, Talisker and Tsar. The conversation about who was taking who into the ring went something like this:
Me: Who do you want to take in?
Gus: Who's best?
Me: Well I think Tsar has the best fleece?
Gus: I'll take Tsar.
Me: Although I think Talisker is conformationally better.
Gus: I'll take Talisker.
Me: I still think Tsar will beat Talisker.
Gus: I'll take Tsar.
Me: Although Talisker won the brown championship at Ellingham last month.
Gus: I'll take Talisker.
And so it was decided that Gus would take Talisker and I would take Tsar.
It was a large class but eventually Tsar was awarded second place and Talisker fourth. I would have preferred 1st and 2nd obviously but Nick Harrington-Smith is a top judge who commands respect and I have no problems with his decision. First place went to a smart light brown boy owned and bred by Roger Mount, next time Roger!
Lunchtime was fast approaching (just because breakfast was late is no reason to move lunch back by the way) and just before lunch was junior handler time.
Gus had taken the junior handler title at the Royal Bath and West Show so was eager to maintain his supremacy. There were seven junior handlers in the ring and Roger Mount was volunteered to do the honours. Minutes later and Gus had the first place rosette, a lovely halter and lead set and a smile a mile wide. Me too!
Job done, lunch was troughed. Some Reddingvale people said we ate too much! Cheek of it!
With all the dark animals judged it was time for us to have a wander round the show and catch up with fellow exhibitors before our final event the Sire's Progeny class. Now we have never been in one of these but as we had three Qjori boys in our team I thought that we would give it a go.
We roped in Ali Chant from Windrush Farm Alpacas as our third handler and off we went into the ring, the team from the dark side up against three teams from the light side. I loved it, being in the ring with three of our boys at the same time was a real buzz and when we were presented with the second place rosette I was absolutely delighted! Obviously I would like to have come first but we were beaten by The Reddingvale Team with their Top Brass progeny, so no complaints.
Unfortunately the only photos I have of the day are of Gus in the ring with Toddy. I know; I am useless. Anyway here are the three Qjori boys.
|And of course Tsar!|
Overall a thoroughly enjoyable day, well done to Karen and Nikki for organising it all.
However, something has got to be done about the access of the public. The 'Health and Safety' rule (or is it advice, or law, who knows) that members of the public were not allowed in to the marquee to see the alpacas and talk to the breeders (this removing a massive marketing opportunity) has surely got to be strongly challenged!(Maybe it already has?) It happens everywhere else doesn't it?
And my last word on the subject is that I think the organisers of the Romsey Show (the whole show, not the alpaca bit) are a bit jobsworth. I was berated by a moron in an orange tabbard for walking along the metalled road back to the car park at the end of the day. When I asked why I was being told to walk in the mud I was shouted at 'You will get run over, it's health and safety!'
When I explained that there were no cars within sight and that when one came along I would get out of the way I was accused of being firstly rude and the arrogant. Left a nasty taste that did, jobsworths.