Yesterday was our annual visit to the Royal Berkshire Show. Liz has been coming to the show since she was knee high to a chicken (do chickens have knees) and I don't think we've missed a show since we've been together. During those years (notice I have not mentioned how many ...) I've seen the show ground develop - they now have tarmacked paths and a car park you don't need to be towed out of if it rains. Some things have stayed the same (Foxes Spices, Dart's Farm Butchers, the Flower tent, show jumping in the arena) while other suppliers have come and gone (yay the didgereedo man has gone!)
This year we took it at a gentle pace, spent less time (and money) in the fabulous craft tent - though we were tented by some art-deco ceramic owls and more time exploring some other parts of the show. As well as the show areas for cattle, sheep and goats there are the more specialised stands. We always go and see the otters in the otter pond, the wolves and huskies, the ferret racing and the mini zoo with the goats, chickens and geese. There was a display from the birds of prey centre but the drizzle made the falcon less than willing to return from its perch amongst the trees no matter how hard the falconer twirled his lure. Also discovered that large birds of prey can live to be sixty - in fact there was a large eagle there called Betty that was the same age as Liz (though not so well tempered).
This year there our haul from the Farm Food tent and the other suppliers around it was of its normal high quality. The Dart's Fame Butchers were as persuasive as usual and I came away laden down with enough beef, lamb and port to see me through to Spring so if anyone wants to pop around for a casserole or a roast in the next couple of weeks I should have plenty. A few jars of garlic infused chutney and mayonnaise from the Isle of Wight garlic farm, balsamic vinegar with coffee and chocolate (yes it sounds odd but is fantastically rich and will work well over ice-cream), pork pies, a wide variety of herbs and spices , smoked meat and fish, flavoured oils, chocolate brownies with beetroot and spinach and a blood-orange liqueur will provide joy and presents for many months to come.
We have already planned some visits to some of the suppliers during the next year to top up and to see what else they do.
Roll on 2017!