Real London Show 2012.
After last year's sensational
entry of 840 cavies, I did wonder whether such a good entry could be repeated
or if the 2012 response from fanciers would reflect the continuing economic
downturn. Early reports were of an entry
of around 600, excellent for most shows but after the first success it would be
seen as something of a disappointment.
For this year's show, the
organisers had booked a better hall, at greater expense of course, that
remedied the shortcomings of last year's event namely, lack of catering
facilities, limited parking facilities, an out of the way situation and
insufficient space to cater for all the fancies under one roof.
The Bracknell Leisure Centre
provided an answer to all these shortcomings; a good cafeteria (and at
reasonable prices), plenty of parking, a location that was more central and more
accessible by public transport plus the hall was bigger and better. Also, as I
found out on the day, it had a high ceiling and large doorways that could be opened
to combat the heat if we had a hot, steamy day. After experiencing a very warm
day at show recently (Yes, even in this summer), such problems were much in my
mind beforehand but I needn't have worried as the conditions never became an
issue. In addition, the lighting at the
hall was as good as you would get in any leisure centre.
So everything was better than
last year but would the response from fanciers be as good this year? Well, not
quite but it was still very good as 792 cavies must be the best of any show
this year and by a good number. The gerbils that suffered most last year
because of the remoteness of the venue, had a much better show this year and
mustered and entry of around 50 exhibits with a Nutmeg taking Best Gerbil. Secretary, Jackie Roswell was very pleased
with the response. Likewise, the Hamster Section received a good entry but I
must confess that I never got round to finding out any details. However, Nikki
Matthews was more attentive and tells me that they were well pleased with the
The mice were down this year
and to a considerable extent with an entry of 105 mice. However, as Brian
Emmett explained, several of his hardcore of exhibitors were away on holiday or
business or absent because of good reason so he was reasonably happy with
things. The National Rat Society staged a very good display although I am well aware
that not everyone appreciates the quality of a good rat. If you do like them
though, there was much to see and learn.
One disappointment for me was
the absence of the Chinchilla display as it looked very good last year. Since
the show, Pete Holdaway has explained that it was concern over temperature that
resulted in their absence. Apparently, around 20C (68F) is the accepted
tolerance threshold for chinchillas and, as the day previous had recorded a
temperature of 23.5C, it was decided best to stay away this time. Last year's
set up was a credit to the two ladies involved and it is, very much, an added
attraction so, hopefully, they will return next year.
Something that will favour a
return of the chinchillas next year is the fact that the 2013 show will be
staged on Saturday, 14th
September 2013; a week later as it seems the date has to revolve around
other bookings. We will then be creeping toward autumn and any worries over
possible excess heat should be less of a concern
Although the cavy entry was 48
short of last year's fantastic total of 840, it must still be considered a
truly admirable response from the Cavy Fancy and it really was a show not to
miss. When it comes to the distribution of numbers amongst the breeds, it did
seem that perhaps there could have been more Tortoise & Whites on show.
Without a stock show, I do know that some 'Patchies' were kept at home with the
good pigs of Ken & Joan Phillips being expected to do all the winning.
As a Dutchman, I was a little disappointed
with the DCC Southern Area entry of 41 Dutch as 60 made the line up for the DCC
Margaret Elward Memorial Show last year. It could be nothing more than a case
of showable Dutch not coming to order and such is the gamble of a marked
variety. Also, not everyone likes block entry and that was mentioned but single
entry pigs may well be a thing of the past. The cause certainly wasn't the
judge (Kevin Lidbetter) as he made a good fist things and I had no grumble with
my 4th place in the Red Dutch Adult Boar class as the first three
exhibits were better than mine with Sarah Stribley's winner, Treleaver Rambo
becoming a champion on the day.
Amy Heale was precluded from
the RLS classes since she was judging Best in Show but she enjoyed plenty of
success under Kevin taking Best Dutch with her Chocolate Dutch.
The National Agouti Cavy Club
show fared much better with an entry of 59 pigs for Pete Holdaway to sort out;
add to that the further seven that were only in the Real London classes and a grand total of 66 Agoutis were there to
represent the breed.
I don't know much about the
other club shows except that the National Fox & Tan Cavy Club had a good
entry of 50 plus with judge, Tony Cooke making a very smart Black Fox (Eclipse
Stud) the best exhibit.
In fact, Eclipse Stud enjoyed a really good
show as they were also successful on the RLS side of things taking part in the
Best in Show line up under Amy. This year, there was a good mixture of breeds
with the nine pigs being placed in the following order: -
1st & Best in
Show Pete Holdaway (Silver Agouti 5/8mths). 2nd Lonestar Stud (Teddy
Adult). 3rd Red Robin Stud (Self Black u/5 mths). 4th
Eclipse Stud (Black Fox u/5 mths). 5th Caroline Creese (Alpaca
u/5mths). 6th Rex Matthews & Jayne Davey (Self D.E. Cream 5/8
mths). 7th Amanda Knight (White Crested 5/8 mths). 8th
Daisy Broad (Silver Agouti Adult). 9th Alison Horscroft (Self D.E.
Daisy Broad is a new name to me
and I can only assume that she is part of the Broad family from Ivybridge,
Devon. In this regard, it is good that you don't have to be a big name in the
fancy to succeed at The Real
London. Someone that I met for the first
time on the show day was Peter Alford of Reading who had entered very much with
hope rather than expectation yet was successful with both of his breeds; Self
D.E. Goldens and Black Himalayans. Well done Peter.
Everyone seemed happy with the
new venue and the organisation that, from my perspective of things, worked just
fine. The only slightly negative comment was the cost of supporting such a
show. Unfortunately, if fanciers want a first rate championship show that will
act as a flagship and shop window for the fancy, it has to be paid for and such
facilities do not come cheap. We do now
need one in the South and this one has the benefit of being a one day event.
In addition to the sizable
costs of the hall and penning (not to mention advertising, show stationery,
rosettes, etc.), the rubbish that accumulated from the pulling down of the show
needed to be taken away by the contractors but at a minimum cost of
£40.00. Thanks to the kind co-operation
of the majority, the volume was much less than last year but the waste involved
still well exceeded this minimum payout with the cost involved ending up at a
Finally, one should not forget
our thanks to the 'Fabulous Four' of Ian, Tony, Nikki and Pete plus a very
efficient secretary in Val Lewis Smith. Plenty of others contributed throughout
the show and I was surprised to see that several of the helpers that stayed
behind to clear up were non-exhibitors. A good job resulted and it was pleasing
to be complimented by the Leisure Centre staff that we had left the hall in
much better order than the cat people.