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It would not normally have occurred to me to visit the Mid-Somerset Show, but as a volunteer at the Somerset Rural Life Museum, I had been invited to help on their stand for a couple of hours.  So I arrived some 50 minutes early to take ‘a quick mooch around’ beforehand.  Ha! Quick? – it was vast!

As I arrived, there seemed to be an awful lot of dogs around.  P1330402001P1330404001P1330408001I soon understood why.P1330409001I moved on after a few minutes. The Somerset willow/wicker industry is still thriving, (and indeed we display a wicker coffin in the museum).  P1330412001There was dry stone walling, P1330413001and timbercraft. P1330415001I particularly liked the bench which could be moved around like a wheelbarrow. (A wheelbench? Or a benchbarrow?)

I had seen that there was to be a cider pressing at 10.30, so I made my way to the marquee where it was to take place.  P1330421001I saw no pressing, perhaps because judging was still taking place, but was delighted to discover the Rural Life Museum’s stall nearby, as I could now stop worrying that I would never find it.

There were things to entertain children, P1330423001and  dozens, if not hundreds, of stalls selling things to consume, to wear, and to play with, and offering services, commercial, voluntary and public, (no photos of any of these).  There were horses, P1330432001and ponies, P1330433001sheep, P1330434001P1330435001young (and older) shepherds dispensing advice, P1330436001sheep judgings, P1330437001sheep products, P1330447001small goats (and large), P1330448001alpacas, P1330449001pigs, P1330450001P1330451001P1330452001and a judge getting down to things. P1330453001 Cattle big and small,P1330455001


This animal was so huge, I thought it to be a bull, but another photo has shown me that it is a cow

P1330462001I had wandered about the huge showground so much that I was a little concerned that I’d never find the cider and Somerset heritage marquee again. I was just about on time. P1330463001 One of the children’s activities we offered was stick weaving, which I had never heard of. P1330464001Custom was slow to begin with, but it picked up, and it was useful that there were two of us to chat with both children and grown-ups.  A few had visited the Museum before it  closed in 2014 for refurbishment, and some had already visited after it had reopened last year.  Some children had already visited in the last few months with their schools, and were keen, and primary school teachers took an interest, as did grandparents.

I had intended to leave the showground when my two-hour stint was up, but I was conscious that there was a lot more to see, and also I hoped to find a leather belt to buy from a craft stall (which I did in due course).  As I emerged from the heritage tent it was very sunny and warm – not forecast – and teeming with people. P1330466001 I saw more horses, P1330470001bees and bee products, P1330472001P1330473001bantams,



It’s true there was something of a breeze, but I suspect this beastie had its feathers permanently ruffled.

P1330481001golden goose eggs (?) P1330482001and other kinds, P1330484001and Egg Sheeran.  P1330483001Just when I thought there couldn’t be any more kinds of animals (and was pleased not to have seen cats in cages) I came across a few rabbits. P1330486001Human exhibits changed every hour. This is the Barnacle Buoys, who often sing in support of the RNLI. (Apologies for the words clipped at the beginning and end.  The latter is ‘ago’, and is sung one tone up followed by one tone down – for those concerned.)

The essence of a country show is its produce and homecraft competitions. P1330489001


Upcycled denim competition


Fewer people made it to the far end of the marquee

More child’s play. P1330497001Well away from the main dog classes was a ring where some kind of obedience test was happening.  I didn’t stay long enough to understand what it was all about, but this apparently obedient dog is here being persuaded by the ring master – in vain and for the third time – to retrieve a ball and take it back to its owner.   P1330521001


Its owner is in the blue shorts

Beginning to get hungry, and not keen on any of the fast food on offer, I made my way back to the car park at 2 pm.

P1330525001The dog classes were continuing.


Some dogs were more co-operative …


… than others.



All had been amazingly well-behaved.

I was so pleased that the SRLM had appealed to its volunteers for help, and intend to go again another year.