The Real London Show 2015.
Snags can occur on the eve of a
show however good the organisation and however willing and competent the
organisers may be. If the penning contractors fail to deliver the pens and
staging on time, such matters are beyond their control and all they can do is
to give 110% in time and effort to overcome the problem.
Such was the case on the eve of
The Real London Show this year as the
contractors did not arrive until 11.55pm (setting up expected from 2pm per
website programme). This turn of events was decidedly unhelpful and all that
can then be done is to work through the night until the matter is resolved. Ian Cinderby and Co plus Nancy Brookes (a USA
visitor staying on site in a campervan and who pitched in to help) did a
sterling job and it was not until around 3.00am that morning that all had been
done and everything was under control.
With an entry of 913 cavies, even
the simple task of putting numbers on pens takes a considerable time and I'm
told that Nancy mucked in along with everyone else and did her share of the
job. Not all exhibitors take this
attitude (as I've experienced with Writtle shows in the past) but Nancy
certainly felt the need to help and I'm sure that was greatly appreciated.
As a consequence, all seemed very
well organised by the time Graham Godfrey and I arrived on Saturday morning and
I daresay several present had no idea of the hectic night's work that had
As I was well acquainted with
Nancy through email contact and her earlier visit to Norton Lindsey in 2009, I
spent quite a bit of my time in her company and it was a pleasure to have her
as an overseas visitor. Other countries were also represented and I'm told that
fanciers from Sweden, Denmark and Holland were either showing or judging. In
fact, when it came to the final awards, the winner of the Best Emerging Variety
was a Californian shown by a lady exhibitor from Holland. I hope she enjoyed
everything about the Show and will come back next year.
I did have a brief chance to see
some of the R V/New Variety judging and I do find the Black/light Red
combination on the Californian quite appealing and attractive. A bit more type
was needed on the one I saw but it is early days and they seem to be all the
rage with quite a few fanciers. However, I hope this current popularity is not
at the expense of the established Himalayan and that others go over the top
with the appeal of this colour combination. One Rex fancier told me that people
are trying to get the effect into Rex and the fear is that the experiment will
be at the detriment of coat qualities. Rex like Abyssinians are all about coat
properties and colour is very much a side issue.
Self Blues were also on display
and they are attracting some interest. I'm still taking some time to really
understand the colour. What looked to me, initially, as something like a rather
light, washed out Slate was, in fact, described as a Self Silver. Apparently it
is the dilute version of the Self Blue but I can't offer any further comment on
Of course, I did spend a little
time at the DCC judging table where Kevin Lidbetter was officiating and doing
his usual good job. Best Dutch went to Gary Clark's Red Dutch and it was good
to see some consistency with this pig also getting Best Adult Dutch on the Real London side before taking second
out of 40 in the Marked Adult Challenge. Well done Gary.
During the time that I was at the
Dutch table, there was some concern over one particular exhibit. It looked
quite big enough for the young classes but as I was on the other side of the
table, I couldn't really make any observation at the time.
In show reports, one often sees
the comment: 'well up to age' and this is an aspect of judging that can be
problematic for whoever is behind the table. It is a pity and a fact of life that
one cannot always trust what is put before one in an age class. However, it
should be remembered that as a judge you O.D. not O.A. an exhibit and if the
animal looks out of place in the class, you have the option of sending it off
O.D. It's not an easy decision at the best of times.
Last year, some of the fanciers
present told me that they would have liked to see trade stands more in
evidence. I can see their point but it was pointed out to me that space
determines matters and the preference is to have clubs stands and still
sufficient room to give a spacious feel to the Show. I can understand this
viewpoint if a choice needs to be made and it was good to see a good array of
club stands this year. One complete side
of the hall was filled with I think six stands (D & R CC, SCC, NTWCC, Teddy
CC, joint NACC/DCC and National CC). Hopefully, I haven't missed anyone out and
it was good to see Gerry and Lee (Southern Cavy Club) displaying an extensive
and eye catching array of wares that fanciers could buy.
I had a good chat with them on this and that
with one issue being the fact that the SCC policy on stud prefixes is more
'open-ended' than I would like. We agreed to disagree here but it would be nice
if things could revert to the past protocol on things as I can remember when
there were two Aztec Studs and two Rainbow Studs in operation but recognised by
different clubs. The BCC Prefix Scheme obviates this possibility and the income
does go to the benefit of the fancy e.g. a contribution in 2014 to this very
Something that does crop up most
years is the comment that the Show is expensive to enter. During a discussion on this matter, Nancy
Brookes promptly disagreed as things are different in America. It may seem more
expensive than your average local show but when the expenditure for just the
hall and penning (plus the hire of additional tables) is in the region of £4,000.00,
there is a need to charge that bit extra. I know several fanciers reduce their
outlay by not entering the Real London
classes but this is a pity as I have found that you often have a better chance
of getting placed here than in the specialist shows. It has happened with my
pigs on two occasions and if you are spending money on petrol and a day out why
not avail your stock to the opinion of two judges rather than just one.
My recollection on the placing of
the nine exhibits put up for Best in Show is somewhat hazy when it comes to the
final countdown but there were three Long Hairs, three Selfs and three Agoutis
with a certain person from Suffolk doing disgustingly well by having not one
but three exhibits in the final line up. Hopefully, full details will be given
elsewhere and Ian Cinderby was a real champion doing a heroic job placing these
pigs whilst clearly suffering with a serious back problem. Best in Show went to
Kathy Dudding with her 5/8 months Texel.
Photos of all the leading
exhibits were taken by Lyndon Nowell in his usual good professional way and I
hope that a link can be provided so that everyone can see and enjoy the quality
of the exhibits present in this year's big event. I was going to have my own
Agouti photographed as the cost is quite modest and my grandchildren would have
loved to have had a snap of their favourite pig within my shed. However I never
got round to it and, later, clearing up was in progress.
Finally, one should not forget
the wonderful job that everyone does to make this event the Show of the Year.
Apart from all that Val Lewis-Smith does so efficiently, it should be
remembered that she has a great team of card writers and, in addition, there
are people manning the sales pens and Liz Miles & Co seeing to the judges every catering need.
Thanks everyone; see you again