So the time of siting down at my computer to write this entry is 7:00 p.m. on a rather cloudy and almost autumn-like day. The last thing I did prior is to make a photograph of a cutting board which I bought for a bargain five pounds at the Clutton Flower Show, about which more below. Clutton is a village by the A37 on the way to Bristol if you really want to know. For non-English readers it is in Somerset or should I say near Glastonbury.
Before I buy something I need to decide where it is going to go. As you see, it is to the left of our kitchen cooker where much food preparation is done. I was attracted to it because I love trees and it reminds me of the Bluebell season. We need to be surrounded by nature as much as possible. There it will sit, that will be its home. The only slight feature is that it makes a noise when you put things down on it, so I have to be gentle. I hope it is tough glass. I fear that normal window glass will shatter when things are dropped on it or even when hot dishes are placed on it. Time will tell. If the worst comes to the worst it was only a fiver.
I have just sat through about two hours of an Art Channel presentation entitled the 25 best Westerns, ably commented on by three well-known film critics in the UK. Watching westerns makes me very nostalgic. My favorite of all time was The Magnificent Seven with Yul Brynner. I also loved John Wayne and Clint Eastwood but the Magnificent Seven came along just at the right time in my development when I was a young man.
Prior to that, we visited Rockaway Park. I have written about this so many times in these diaries so just type in the search term the search engine of this site. We arrived about five o’clock. There was no one around except Mark who is the owner and an assistant who was helping him to put up a huge marquee.
We went to visit the man who makes knives. I don’t know what the term is for such a person. Knife maker is a bit naff (unstylish, clichéd, or outmoded). as a descriptor. I suppose they could be called Bladesmiths or Knifesmiths or even knife makers. We have visited him many times. Each time he is just about to finish a set of something for somebody. Today he showed us a cleaver, a pairing knife, and another knife whose name I forget. For the set he was charging 250 pounds for a friend but if someone had walked off the street it would have been 300 pounds.
Everything he makes is a work of art. We asked him how long he had been making the set and he said about three weeks though he was doing other things between. He uses wood from South America which is extremely hard.
I strolled around. There is always music going on in the assembly room and always weird pictures and posters. I visited the restaurant area where a Polish lady was preparing for food for Sunday lunch which is a great occasion and tradition. I think it is a special challenge because they do not serve meat. Forgetting this I bought one of their sausage rolls which was vegetarian but it tasted good enough and did the job. There is a supply of food and cakes plus tea and coffee making with an honesty box.
I asked her how many people she was expecting tomorrow. She says that on a Summer Sunday you can never tell but so far 40 people have booked. However, there is also a children’s play event happening at the same time so probably some people will ask for lunch on the off chance. I told her that this is a place where I can be fully myself knowing that people will make not any judgment. She was pleased and gratified to hear my compliment. Art is my saviour. Art vs. robots.
I’m met a man in the restaurant who was off the following day to the Isle of Skye in northern Scotland and he reckoned the journey would take him 12 hours driving. He was going up via Glasgow. I never found out the reason for his journey because I did not ask but it was probably to do with culture or art as Rockaway Park is an art community.
Anyone can come and visit at any time. PS If anyone reading this would like me to take them round I will be delighted to. Any excuse to visit. Don’t be shy to ask.
Coffee, news, mowing
Anyway, back to the morning. I rose around 6.30 for my early morning coffee and watched a discussion about the arrest of a 16 year old autistic girl for calling a policeman a name which implied she was a lesbian. Of course it was necessary to have seven police around to a private house but there is always more to the story. The mother herself had called the police as she was in town drunk and incapable and asked to be taken home, apparently with her daughter.
We also heard about a Tiktok inspired rampage in Oxford Street, London, when youngsters simply broke into shops and took what they could. There is a famous or should I say in famous container-like vessel or a large barge off the Dorset coast which has been converted into an hotel. However it is so bad that some of the illegal refugees themselves refused to get on board. To add to the problem, four days later there was an outbreak of Legionnaires disease in the water so everyone had to be taken off again. I wonder if there is a curse on the boat.
Clutton Flower Show
In the morning I dodged the showers and mowed the front lawn and tided it up a bit and then about midday we went off to nearby Clutton where there was the annual Flower Show, one of the larger shows of its type in the area.
The weather forecast was not too good but we decided to go anyway. I have quite a substantial umbrella which is fairly useless in cases of wind but it does a fair job of keeping the rain away.
Shortly after we arrived, I overheard a member of the staff of volunteers saying to another one that the photographer from the Mendip Times was not able to attend so could they take photographs. As I know the person concerned, and how hard working Mark is, I thought I would do him a favour by making photographs of all and sundry. I know they like to feature groups of people and activities so I just snapped away and sent him about 35 examples. He can use them as he wants.
Anyway, the day’s weather reminded me a little bit of April. Bright sunshine and quiet warm and then torrential rain pouring down. I don’t mean the type of rain you get in certain parts of the United States and in Sri Lanka where it does bucket down but the rain was certainly enough to deter everyone and send them into the various tents. I had a chat with one of the caterers and she said that last years event was so warm as to be uncomfortable compared with today’s which was a complete contrast. I certainly got to use my umbrella but you just get used to hopping in and out of the tents.
As I reported with Cardiff recently it is a pleasure to see so many families obviously enjoying the day out with children who are generally well behaved though lively. I found some of the dogs more of a nuisance. There was a dog competition and some of the breeds obviously don’t like each other very much but their owners seemed immune to the raucous barking of their beloved mutt.
Our first stop was at the food tent where there was a plenteous supply of all sorts of cake. Francoise had a coffee cake and I had a carrot cake. I could taste the delicious ingredients. Not only were there carrots, but there were nuts and raisins. It was definitely homemade because none of the chemicals were present that make me sick. My stomach is quite specific about what it wants and what it does not want. It normally takes an hour to decide and then if rejected up it comes. If I keep off certain types of food at certain times of day I can avoid the minefield.
The marquee was very sophisticated and much more than the standard version. There was a column built is which aided the light apart form giving a spacious feel.
There was a very good duo ‘play any style’. The artist on the right not only sung but played a trumpet. What a jolly nostalgic background
There were about 50 old and antique cars and farm vehicles. I can never see them too many times to tire of reminding myself of the ‘good old days’.
At 2:00 p.m. The Flower Show was officially opened by our local MP Jacob Rees Mogg. The tent with all the flowers, art, vegetables, cakes opened its doors and we all streamed in. I found the quality of the presentation very high and the enclosed images only give some idea but obviously a lot of people have tried very hard and have triumphed in spite of the vagaries of the weather.
‘Vagaries’ is a noun I don’t often hear much of these days. It means an unexpected and inexplicable change in a situation or in someone’s behavior.
In general I do deplore the decline in the use of the beautiful English language. People’s vocabulary seems to be declining especially in terms of words used by the young who pepper every phrase with the false conjunction ‘like’. I suppose I sound like a grumpy old senior and in a way I am but I hate seeing standards go down and to boot no one really caring, or being too afraid for politically correct or woke reasons to criticize in case someone ‘takes offense’. (In my book, ‘woke’ means ‘asleep’)
Adults have no such excuse.
This was a very fine example of a shire horse. The commentator new the whole history and was very proud to be a member of the Shire Horse Society which seems to me a niche market of a very distinguished order. He said he had been honored to be a judge in competitions all over the world. It is a pleasure and an honor itself to be in the company of such people
This was a fairly unusual feature for such a country fair. There were a number of younger men who were obviously exceedingly fit and who were showing their prowess in various ways such as lifting heavy rocks on their shoulder, moving what looked like large cabbages in a bundle from one place to the back of a truck 4m away, and weight lifting. I suspect that some of them lacked regular training but the whole event was good humoured.
There was a young lady there who demonstrated her physical fitness in no uncertain terms and lifted straw bales with the best of them.
Morris Dancing seems to have an enduring fascination for us Brits, as an inalienable part of our culture. Long may it continue. The rain did defeat them at certain junctures but they carried on never-the-less.
My only regret was that there were only sweet offerings in the food tent; I would have liked the odd savory quiche or something like that because one o’clock was a bit early to satisfy my sweet and taste buds. Apart from that, there was only one other person serving Chinese type food and then there was the inevitable fission chip, burger van which people seemed very keen to avail themselves of.
The bar in the main tent did very well during downpours. I could have done with a coffee van as I like my latte and do not care too much for the traditional to your coffee made with instant coffee for 50p and would be prepared to pay more for a more fancy.
In general, I found the whole very well organized indeed and I will be sending a link to this site to the organizer if I can find out who they are. Such people should be recognized if only because the general public does not understand how many months planning going into such a simple and straightforward show. I would guess it more or less became a full-time job or dedication all for no financial award so long may these people be extant and may God bless them for what they do and they happiness they bring.