"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Saturday, June 25, 2016

royal three county fair

The buzz in the Cotswolds was all about Her Majesty's Tri-County fair.

Anyone who knows us also knows that we are suckers for a fair.

From the minute we walked through the gates, we had found our people.

It was probably one of the greatest fairs I've ever been too. The British know how to do it right.

Maybe it's just that I adore the simplicity of going back to the basics.

Like these early cars.

There were several logging demonstrations. Wood cutting, stacking, and above all, pole climbing.

Christian pushed Grant into trying it out himself. Grant was pretty good at it.

Those boys took off to do a lot of their own things and sent me a picture.

While the girls and I were wrapped up in this falconing demonstration.

The first performer was this amazing owl.

It would swoop over the spectator heads. Janie was over on the other side from us soaking all that wonder in.

The Queen's Royal Airforce did a sky diving demo. Who knew she had her own ski divers.

Saw some shetland pony racing.

Shooting sports are big in our western US culture but the English give it just a bit more charm.

I've watched my dad and his brothers gander under the hood of a car so many times. These men looking over these sputtering engines just reminded me of little boys.

Kids in a candy shop over these ancient machines.

The booths were so simple. One was selling kits to assemble these go-carts made from pallets. I totally asked for their card to order one in the future. What a perfect gift idea.

We tried out the strawberries and clotted cream booth. Definately different.

More classics of which I could not get enough of the colors.

Farm fresh is my absolute favorite.

We taste tested every honey hive in England, I believe.

Then attended a candle making booth.

At lunch time, we avoided some of the indigenous fare.

In favor of a pulled chicken, cranberry and stuffing sandwich, followed by a pastry, of course.

Charlotte and Eliza could have had me watching the hunting hounds demonstration all day.

And when they were invited into the arena, I think it was probably the best moment of their little lives so far.

Hard not to yell, "Release the Hounds!" ... but trying to refrain from being obnoxious Americans.

A troupe of "players" put on an act with horses. Cinderella and the Ugly Step Sisters.

Here's a step sister now.

And this fine fellow who had no part in the play really, other than to gallop around with his coconuts clip clopping ;) Thank you, Monte Python.

More color in these beautiful tractors.

Oh ... be still my heart! We found the chicken barn.

And it was equipped with double french doors ;)

All of the competitions were pretty similar, except for this one. Trio laying contest.

I thought I had seen every color of egg shell variety. This was fascinating.

We saw the Holy Grail of chickens.

Man what I wouldn't give to be able to take a couple of these back and enter them in our fair. It would send the judges scrambling ;)

They can be yours for a cool $1500 a piece.

And though we never met the Prince of Wales himself, we did meet his prize chicken.

Typical English weather rolled in for a few minutes.

We cowered for a bit and then decided to forge on.

The sheep showmanship kids were being judged in the rain anyway.

I wondered what were the judging criteria for these sheep with the crazy extra horns growing out of their head.

And I loved that this boy about Christian's age was still scrambling to get his show clothing put together before going into the arena. Looks like boys on both sides of the world are the same even if their sheep aren't.

Check out the coats, hats and ties for dress attire.

Toured around the cattle.

And met this beauty.

She gave Eliza and Charlotte such a thorough rundown, it hurt my heart for us to be in the middle of moving from our little country world to our new mountain town.

Janie wanted to stand on the edge of the English riding ring all day long.

I had to admit, it was pretty picturesque.

Then tried her hardest to make me promise that where we are going, I'd let her take up jumping.

But all in all, the feeling that no matter where you stand on this beautiful globe of ours, those with an attachment to the land and it's resources feel a certain kinship to one another too.

It makes it easy to be at home even when you are very far away.

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