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Busy Weekend
Saturday saw us head into London for an English Heritage walk in legal London. Unfortunately, EH had neglected to mention that at the weekend most of the Inns of Court are closed to tourists. This didn't bother me too much, but it seriously annoyed Ina, who occasionally writes fan fiction in that particular setting and was there for research purposes. There will be photos, but I haven't done anything with them except transfer them to the hard drive.

On Sunday, though, we went to the Blackwater Country Show (with the dogs) and this was great. For those of you not familiar with Essex geography, the Blackwater flows into the Thames Estuary at Maldon, famous for Saxon battles, salt, sailing and wildlife. The show was held on large flat (it's all flat around there, except Maldon itself, which has a hill!) piece of parkland with its own lakes. There was little competition (a few fun classes for dogs) but lots of stalls, demos and rings.

In the main ring, we saw a demo of driving by the Co-op Funeral Service Shire Team (South).

Co-op Funeral Shire Team

Some duck herding... (at which Bren took notes)

Over the Slide

And a demo game of the sport of horseball, which is a bit like polo as a spectator sport in that you need to get your eye in, and also need to have ridden to appreciate both the skill and the danger involved.



We missed the local hunt while grabbing some lunch.

There were some really interesting stalls.

Bren just sat and stared in amazement at the Alpacas. (I love alpacas and we now both have alpaca wool walking socks for winter.)

Brown Alpaca head

The owls stared at us

Little Owl 1

and we got the usual view of the hawks as they tried to land on various marquees instead of coming to glove in the ring.

And one miniature pony (of a group that do children's 'events') had the most amazing shoes

Horse Shoes????

There was fun agility, at which these Dandy Dinmonts did not exactly cover themselves with glory

Dandy Dinmonts in Tandem

But Draco provided a photo opportunity...

Through the Tyre

There was fishing, canoeing, Newfoundland demos, Labrador retrievers doing their thing and model boats on the lake.

Model Thames Barge Tacking

Plus this guy and his dog...

Boarding, with Dog

A Saxon village

Fitting the Helmet

in which this little girl not only got fitted with a helmet and sword, but showed great reluctance to let go of a battle axe.

There were carriage rides and a 'train' and donkey rides...

Donkey Rides!

Oh, and for my fellow Avengers fans, I got to sound knowledgeable because I could identify this bike

USA 1942 Harley

as the standard Harley Davidson used throughout the US Army in WW2 -- and the one Captain America should be riding in Captain America: The First Avenger, though I dislike that film enough so I am not going to bother to check if they got it right - which I doubt.

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In my experience, little girls are generally reluctant to let go of a battle axe, once they've got one...

Thank you for the lovely photos!

And now I know exactly what I want for my funeral. Or maybe for Mr D's because that way, I'll get to pat the horses.

We have a number of horse drawn hearse hire companies in Essex (including those who have white horses, and a white glass hearse for Muslim funerals). I never mind behind held up behind horses in the same way as cars.

Draco looks really professional going through that jump!

I love alpacas too. A new friend has 44 of them, with babies expected in a few weeks time, so I think I will have to go and take photos. :)

I have friended Toft Alpacas (@toftalpacashop) on Twitter, as they continually (at this time of year!) post pictures of the shearing, and of the new crias (babies).

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