| The Real London Show 2016.
Another great show, another great entry with 972 cavies
entered plus, of course, a great supporting cast in the form of mice, hamsters
and gerbils. More on these later as I know that there is a wish within the show
hierarchy for this to be, not just a cavy show, but a great annual small
livestock exhibition. It certainly was.
This year, Brian Emmett was the Show President; an honour to
add to a great list of achievements throughout his long association with not
only cavies but also mice and fancy pigeons. I was sorry to learn that he had
suffered a heavy fall the following day and was rather sore down one side.
Luckily no bones were broken but it was not the best start to his two year term
The reputation of the Show is now firmly established with
exhibitors present from far and wide although a few more northern fanciers
would be welcome. Others came from abroad and even over the border from
Scotland as Pam Gardner and husband John were two of the first fanciers to catch
my eye and were busy attending to the dietary needs of their entries. I can’t
confirm the complete list of the ingredients in their cavy veggie mix but
carrots and beetroot were busily being chopped up to add to the green content
of a large container. When their pigs are away at a show, Pam ensures that the
stresses of a journey are minimised and they enjoy as much of their home
comforts as possible. All this effort was rewarded with their stud
(Tickety-Boo) doing very well in the National Agouti CC classes achieving Best
of Colour in Cinnamon, Chocolate and Cream. That in the specialist show that
attracted 77 entries.
Of course, I was interested in the Dutch Cavy Club’s Southern
Area Show that attracted a slightly better entry this year of 35 Dutch with all
colours bar Lilac being shown. The absence of Lilac Dutch is not surprising and
I can’t recall seeing any for several years. A Chocolate sow shown by Luke
Holmes took top honours and I was told that this was the same pig that won Best
Dutch at the South West Area Show last year if in different ownership as it
seems we have lost Annie Smith (Purnell’s Cavies) as an exhibitor. Thankfully,
she best did not end up in a pet shop but were taken over by Luke.
I’m not exactly sure of the final line up behind Luke’s sow
but in the mix in second or third place was a Red Sow (Best of Colour) shown by
Sarah Bennett. The name didn’t ring familiar at first and I wasn’t the only one
to wonder who this newcomer was that was doing so well? However, the penny soon
dropped as this was the newly married name of Sarah nee Stribley. Well down
Sarah and well done also to Kevin Hopkins who took Best Boar and 4th
in the Grand Challenge with a promising 5/8 months Red. Good to see a small
breeder with only a handful of pigs doing well.
Cream Dutch were the subject of some conversation with the
shade of colour being discussed. At this point in time, a great deal of
latitude is acceptable and dark Creams (Buffs) can be shown in these classes
without problem. The prospect of Buff being considered as a separate colour in
the future was discussed and such changes could be afoot in time. In view of
this past practice, a Buff/Cream class might be better than separate classes
but all this is simply conjecture at the moment. A talking point with the Adult
Cream class being won by Kaye Thomas with a better marked, darker pig.
As usual, there was indeed a plethora of specialist stock
shows being held at this venue and I can’t report much on most of them.
However, from snippets of information gleaned from various conversations, I
discovered that Diane Nunn did very well with a Silver Agouti in the NACC Show,
Ken & Joan Phillips triumphed with their Tort/White sow in a stock show
that attracted 17 T/Ws and Tony & Gill Cooke did plenty of winning in the
Nat Fox & Tan CC classes. The latter seem to be undergoing something of a
dip in entries at the moment and this is surprising as I have always considered
them an attractive proposition, usually exhibiting good type and worthy of
support. Outside considerations like work, finance and family matters can, of
course, affect things however keen one may be on a hobby but I hope the lost
stalwarts of yesterday will soon be able to return. A few more Tans, Foxes and
Otters could be just what is needed to achieve the desired 1,000 entry mark.
The display of club stands is worthy of comment as they do
look good with modern technology and photographic abilities certainly making
the difference here. Steve Davies and Amy Heale have produced two fantastic
displays for their respective clubs; NACC and DCC notwithstanding some
questionable mug shots! The Southern Cavy Club offers the visitors plenty of
interesting and attractive items for purchase all cavy-orientated and something
to keep as a reminder of the day. I haven’t looked at their website but,
apparently, it is worthy of a viewing.
Just inside the entrance door was the Dalmation & Roan CC
stand that proved a good meeting point for several long standing fanciers with
Fred Holmes at the helm holding court. It’s great to see you again Fred. Nearby was
the Nat. Fox & Tan CC stand with a good display of the colours available
followed by a combined National and English Self effort. I fear that I may have overlooked the NTWCC
and Rex CC offerings as I’m sure they normally have a presence as a point of
contact for members.
As previously mentioned, this is more than just the best and
biggest cavy show in the land as it is intended to also be something of a small
livestock extravaganza welcoming mice, hamsters and gerbils to the event.
Smallest of the three was the Gerbil Section with 33 exhibits on show. However,
the pleasing issue was that all six species of gerbil were on show and it was
good to see the Jackie Roswell (known to me as a cavy fancier too) was successful
taking Best Gerbil with a Argente Pied adult female.
The Hamster Section is comprised of just two types; Syrian
and Dwarf with each attracting an entry of around 50 exhibits. Show Manager,
Catherine Miles was most helpful, willingly wanting to promote her section with
others. Best Dwarf and overall Best in Show went to Wellington Hamstery
(Melissa Chamberlain) whilst Best Syrian went to Miles to Go Hamstery (Chris
Miles) – Congratulations Mum.
The biggest of these three sections proved to be the Mouse
Section and much of the credit here must go to the Mouse Secretary, Peter Hogg
(in his second year at the helm I believe). The Annual Cup Show normally has an
adverse affect on the entry at this show but this year things were different as
a total of 164 mice had been entered. Phil Hall took BIS with a Black Tan but
Opposite Age winner was still being decided whilst I was visiting although I
understood that it was likely to be an Ivory Satin. Next year the Annual Cup
Show will be in Manchester but what for 2018? Could it be here with an even
The climax of the Cavy Show was the final line up for Best
Cavy with Andrew Sparkes doing the honours this year. All six in the line up
receive prize money but, obviously, with the amount received diminishing as you
get further down the line. The winner was a most impressive adult Alpaca shown
by Malaxis Stud from Sweden and, even as a bystander without a great interest
in long hairs, I could see that this was a worthy winner and an outstanding
example of the breed. Full details of the result are given below: -
1st: Malaxis Stud(Sweden) Adult Alpaca.
2nd: Cranwell Cavies 5/8 months Self D.E. Cream.
3rd: Heale & Davies U/5 months Self Black.
4th: Heale & Davies Adult Lemon Agouti
5th: Malaxis Stud (Sweden) U/5 months Alpaca.
& Davies U/5 months Silver Agouti.
Oh and I shouldn’t forget that the Super Pet award went to
Jacqui Nicholson with her attractive and well shown pet. I’ve had something of
a personal side issue here recently as we need to ensure that our pigs more
inviting and acceptable as a child’s pet within a school project. On this matter,
what should I recommend?
Finally, (and very much not least), there needs to be an
honours list for all the workers and helpers that make this show the great
success that it continues to be. (Trivia Question: How many times have I
mentioned “great” in this offering?) In
addition to the main players such as Ian, Tony, Pete, Nikki, Peter not to
mention all that Val Lewis-Smith ably assisted by Catriona and other card
writers do, there is the Pet Sales “staff” of Kathryn Roles and Heather Stone
to be considered. That’s not all of course as Liz Miles & Co are in charge
of the judges’ lunches and refreshment
side of things and Mary and Brendan Jaffa also have a have a hand in matters. Hopefully, I haven’t forgotten anyone that is
integral in the workings of this great event. If so, my apologies.
As a closing comment, thanks to all the fetch & carry
stewards that were rewarded with a special raffle draw. A nice thought and
perhaps I, along with others, could do more in this regard. I only stewarded