23.8.15

The Beautifully British Holkham Country Fair

When I heard the words 'country', 'fair' and 'sheep show' I near enough squealed with enthusiasm for what I now know to be the Holkham Country Fair. In stark contrast to the beauuutiful sunshine we've had in the past few days (Summer, you old tease, you!) a few weekends ago there was a distinctly autumnal feel in the air. Ever the one to dress for the occasion, I pulled on some jeans, a very country-esque lace top and some fleece lined boots. I know, perhaps an over-precaution but you never know what a muddy field may bring.

Turns out I wasn't the worst there. I have honestly never seen so many North Face rain coats in all my life! After filling a car with happy country dwellers we drove up the exquisitely long driveway to Holkham Hall, the beautifully preserved stately home that sits a stone's throw away from one of my favourite bits of North Norfolk coastline. Think woods that reach right down to the beach - bliss.
























Country fairs can be a bit hit and miss in my opinion but I had high hopes after a quick internet search. When duck herding and cheese tasting can be found in the same field you know it's going to be a good day.

The sheep show, which my boyfriend said was 'the most rural entertainment he'd ever heard of', was genuinely mind blowing. In equal amounts, I have a love and apprehension of sheep. It's their eyes, they look so... shifty. I have been head-butted more than once when I used to stay on a Herefordshire farm as a child. Stuart Barnes, who is basically a charismatic sheep whisperer, made them actually dance. That isn't even an exaggeration. When you've seen a sheep do the Charleston you can go to sleep happy.

Also, did you know that farmers are legally obliged to shear their sheep and sell the wool, even though they make a loss on the product? Us humans have bred them so we can have lovely woolen cardigans but all that extra wool does nothing but harm when you leave it on the sheep. We made them that way so we're responsible for their welfare! #TeamSheep

Holkham Hall was awash with the sounds, smells and sights of the country. Does Grandad want a willow walking cane for Christmas? Hunter wellies got a hole? Belly in need of some Norfolk pork crackling? Yep, all to be found! I felt particularly sorry for the dogs entered into the agility course, which happened to be right next to the sausage stall. Never have there been so many twitching noses in the air!

There's something exquisitely British about a country fair. It's where off duty police horses are positioned next to prize winning pigs. A parachute display team land next a fly fishing demonstration. You're talked through the correct way to stuff a sausage whilst amateur dogs compete for a 'best in show' next door. It's homely and humble and I love it.

Have you been to any great country fairs this year?

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