Thursday, July 23, 2009

Large Animal Show at Saumarez Park

Well the weather has been a little less than inspired for the first week of school holidays but this afternoon the clouds and rain finally blew away to reveal a gorgeous blue sky.

The timing could not have been better really as today the large animals have come to Sausmarez Park.

I haven not seen much advertisement of this event except for a banner hung outside the park. For a change, however, I was 'in the know' having been told about the event by friends. I had it marked in my diary so as not to miss it.

When I say large animals I mean the animals which take up a vast amount of space in their showing i.e. horses, cows and goats. For both the North and West Shows there is a limited amount of space for all the rides, displays and stalls so rather than incorporating the larger animals into these events they powers that been have designated their own special show. The West Show is held in a field and the North Show and Battle of the Flowers is held in Sausmarez Park itself.

We arrived at about 1.30pm, as I had waited for the skies to clear, so the show had been underway for a while by the time we got there. B1 was more interested in playing his DS and had lodged an official complaint about going. B2 was undecided and B3 could not wait to get there and see all the animals. After 10 minutes wandering around all of them decided that they were very glad we came. B1 even conceded that 'It was quite good really!' - high praise indeed :)

There were horses on show as well as carriages. I'm not really sure of the criteria for judging the carriages; whether it was on the way the horse pulled it or the horse itself or the presentation of the carriage or indeed a combination of these, either way the Bumble Bee'rs thought it was fantastic.

There were some rather impressive Cups at stake so the competition was quite fierce I would imagine.

It was interesting to see the animals on display as there is only one breed of cattle legal to own in Guernsey; that being the Guernsey cow. The government has outlawed the possession of all other breeds on the Island so the show was more of a beauty contest than a cattle show. The government decides if you are allowed to breed your cattle and who the cow and bull involved will be. I suppose this prevents inbreeding as there is only a limited number of the breed on the Island.

Here are some of the contestants in the ring being judged. The highlight of looking at the cows was when one of them did a poo; most exciting, with lots of 'Ooohh that's gross' comments being made. B2 then launched, most knowledgeably, into a tale about the trip to Le Hechet Farm (where Guernsey Farmhouse Ice-cream in made) with her Rainbow group. Rainbows are the youngest group of girls in the Girl Guides Association; I think they are called 'Gumnuts' in Australia. Apparently one of the Rainbows was not swift enough during this visit and her gumboot/wellie was pooed upon by one of the cows at the farm; this experience of course made B2 the cattle expert for the afternoon.

The trophies for the cattle were fabulous; unfortunately there was not a description of what category each one was for. B1 was amazed at the concept of the perpetual trophy, with the little plaques engraved with the names of winners past encircling their base. The oldest plaque we were able to find was from 1940 but I think given time for closer inspection earlier dates would probably have been found.

This was my favourite trophy; the detail on this little silver cow was lovely. Unfortunately the glass case had fogged up in the afternoon sunshine so I was unable to take a front-on photo and had to settle for the top view, but you can at least get the general idea.

The trophy second from your right in the front row is in the shape of a Guernsey Can. The Guernsey Can is a traditional milk can which has been used on the Island for over 1000 years so this trophy is perhaps the most relevant shape of all the trophies. I wonder if it is for the best 'milker'.

This is after all what it is all about - milk. Just look at the size of those udders; apparently each cow produces 6000 litres of milk per year Guernsey cows are very sweet in their caramel and white splodges. They all looked 'chocolate boxy' today after being washed and brushed to bovine perfection.

The other animal on show today was the Golden Guernsey Goat (just try saying that ten times fast!).
The kids all exuberantly patted a goat but became a little more wary of them after they saw one butt a toddler over. The toddler was fine and I think it taught my crew to always have respect for animals, especially ones bigger than you.

They were keen to pat this fine fellow but as he was a 'full' male I said it might be best to admire him from afar; they were unconvinced until I pointed out that he was probably the size of the Big Billy Goat Gruff who managed to take on a Troll. Even B1 was then happy just to look.

We finished off the afternoon with a Guernsey Farmhouse Ice-cream from Le Hechet Farm. My kids are doubly in love with this farm as not only do they produce some of the most truly delicious ice-cream, they also use the egg whites leftover from making the ice-cream to make the most wonderful meringues which they sell at both the Castel and Sausmarez Farmer's Markets.

After such a wonderful afternoon they are all looking forward to the other Shows on during the Summer. I have put alot of links in this post as I am trying to give people more of a 'Guernsey experience' when they come to visit my blog. Over the Summer there are so many events to share with you I hope by the time the Autumn comes you will have experienced more of what Guernsey is like and what it has to offer.


  1. I love the "Guernsey Experience" in this post. We visited Guernsey a few years ago and fell totally in love witht the place. The show looks lovely. Thanks for sharing and looking forward to the rest of the summer around the Island.

  2. Hi Mrs Bee - g'day from Victor Harbor SA. This is the first blog I have ever looked at and amazingly I found it searching for Shorter & Son! Then I realised that not only are you collecting shorter, you are in Guersey which is one place on my must visit list, on my family history tour! I have read all your entries and am mesmerised by what you are doing, have done & what sounds like a life straight out of Country Style! Well done to you, Mr Bee and the little bees! Wendy

  3. Hi Wendy, you haven't listed your email so this is the only way I can say 'Hi'. I'm glad you like my blog; it is always so nice to hear that I'm not just waffling to the wind! As for living the Country Style life, well it's only in the pictures, behind the scenes is another whole world of mess ;)