Our two favourite local shows, the Manifold and the Ashbourne Shows usually happen on consecutive Saturdays in August, as they did again this year. Actually, the Bakewell Show – another favourite but we didm”t go this year – is always the first Wednesday and Thursday of August, so it;s a busy month.
The Manifold is the top favourite, for us and I think many. It is on fields high up above Ilam and Dovedale; it is small, so friendly, bustling with activity to suit everyone – and with plenty of light hearted entertainment such as the slow tractor races and the ‘sheep duck trials’ with a display by a sheepdog successfully herding a flock of ducks. I took some photos of this with John’s camera, which i shall try to retrieve tomorrow!
Lots of local businesses have stands, some selling and others like the Peak Park and National Trust, just informing but even the Peak Park tent had generous samples of local cheeses and biscuits there for people to sample. John spent so long ‘testing’ the delicious new Peakland Blue cheese made at Pikehall near here that I had to pretend I was nothing to do with him…
One year our good friends Liza and Harry came with us, and Liza ended up buying two rare breed hens and a cockerel from the Poultry tent. We easily turned the shed opposite our house into a makeshift chicken house for the night, but were horrified when the entire neighbourhood was woken at about 3 in the morning, and kept awake, by the cockerel, in strident and unstoppable voice.
The Ashbourne Show is bigger and quite a bit more commercial, but nonetheless most enjoyable, and most interesting. There is always something new: new displays, new local food suppliers bringing yet more choice whether it be cheeses – or this year – we found an elderly Indian women selling delicious Indian chutneys and spices that her son makes.
Cheeses and chutneys are all delightful but not a great surprise. This year we were very taken aback to find a Derbyshire Wine Stall, with wine bottled in Bakewell! Intrigued, we asked them where their vineyards were, to discover disappointingly that actually they only make and bottle the wine in Bakewell, using concentrates from round the world… We bought a bottle of Solomon’s Red but won’t be rushing to Bakewell to buy any more…
One last word, before I am too scathing about Derbyshire wine. Grapes are grown in Derbyshire, and turned, successfully, into wine at Renishaw Hall, home of the Sitwell family. We are going on a visit there next month, so more about Derbyshire wine later!