Mid Somerset show and the story of the Kiwi Alpacas

Friday 19 August 1664
various dialogues on work and family matters not to mention the war with Holland, about which he continually obsesses.

Today, off to the Mid-Somerset Show held at Shepton Mallett. This is an interesting historical town with its own prison now defunct, a pleasant park and a useful shopping centre which contains most of the popular trading names.

This is a once a year the event where everyone in the town and from the surrounding country gets together and in this largely pictorial essay I will give a feel of what it is like. As if we did not know it already, news is mainly spread by word of mouth. At the show there is the sort of atmosphere where you can just talk to anyone, without worrying that they will take it the wrong way because everyone feels safe and at home in this very interesting environment.

I spoke with a schoolteacher about how she trained children to write. I asked whether a writing style of a young child could be improved and she said only to a certain extent. She gets people to start writing a word with a serif in other words a loop to encourage them to make continuity and with not so much emphasis on the individual characters.

I also met a very knowledgeable man who was an amateur cook who described how he made savoury pies by mixing sausage meat with apricots and mustard. He says it is delicious and I have made a mental note to try it.

We also chatted with an exhibitor of alpacas. He transported them from New Zealand along with his family and they are now settled in the United Kingdom. He used to live in Christchurch where recently they had the earthquake. Unfortunately to date the geology has not settled sufficiently to start major construction work and in addition to that NZ have had many more earthquake episodes. That is what made them decide to up sticks and come halfway round the world. They are happy in this decision and have acclimatized well.

I suppose the culture shock would not be so great between the two countries apart from the fact that there are many more people in the UK than New Zealand which is sparsely populated at 41 per square mile. Bearing in mind that the majority of the land is habitable and economy good. The United Kingdom has 660 people per square mile, Mongolia has 4.4 people per square mile but it’s really about the overall economy, and how much the land itself can support people. Hong Kong supports 16,444 people per square mile. Singapore is even more at 18,513 psm. The United States of America supports  85 people per square mile but then it says nothing of the distribution of people which is overwhelmingly in C California and the eastern seaboard.

Anyway enough of this gay banter. I expect some of my readers are wondering whether it is worthwhile settling in Somerset. I shall be covering this in many diaries but the short answer is that if you are open to people, they will be open to you. Lots goes on but it takes a much longer time to discover it. Outside the main towns, there are quite a few more people living on subsistence level incomes but in spite of all that people are cheery, positive and friendly.

We arrived at the show at about 10 AM and by the time we left at about two o’clock the place was heaving with people. Due to heavy rains in the previous couple of days, there were deep ruts in the muddy ground making it difficult to push prams. The vast majority of people who attend are either farmers or farming families or those who have a connection with the land at some level. This I would say is an informal social club for the farming community; you can tell who farmers are because they are in general tall, lean, fit, (they have to be) and have a certain look in their eyes.

Anyway on with the pictures: the owners of antique cars love exhibiting them and will take every opportunity as we have seen recently in the Camerton show.

1933 Austin seven – don’t you dare touch!
I love the way they have used various shades of green
pristine engine compartment
first of two examples of a Rolls-Royce
one of the most distinctive marques in the world, the flying lady
a lady judge for the pigs
no ambiguity here, this pig is in the land of Nod
it is interesting to note the differences in wool which even the amateur can appreciate
you can see the differences in this picture sleep without having to feel the wool
Rams getting on fairly well with each other
an attempt to educate the public about wool
lovely white wool
a marked difference here

Lots more photos to come – see next diary

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