13 July 2012

Soggy shows, sweet peas and spotted orchids

On Tuesday the organisers of the Great Yorkshire Show realised that it simply was not possible for the show to continue and cancelled the last two days of the three day event  the first time it's even been cancelled because of the weather, the last time it didn't open was because of the foot and mouth outbreak. The photos of the polished and shiny livestock hock deep in mud were soul destroying especially for those us who have been involved in showing animals and know the work, effort and hopes of the exhibitors; the pictures of horse boxes being sledged across the quagmire by tracked vehicles were incredible.
At least the Great Yorkshire managed one albeit very muddy day, unlike the CLA Came Fair which was cancelled last night a week before it was due to open. The set up teams had struggled but it soon became clear that without a miraculous change in the weather the site was going to unusable not mention unsafe for traders, competitors and visitors alike.
closer to home we're wondering about our local agricultural show, the Egton, which is due in August and HB (glutton for punishment she's both Show Secretary and Chair) is getting very twitchy about the Goathland Flower and Veg show - we've had tents ankle deep in water but with the ground super-saturated will it even be possible to raise the canvas and if we can will there actually be any produce to go in it.

The first sweet peas of 2012
Well there might be because this week I cut our first bunch of sweet peas (and look it was sunny, note the was!) for more about the sweet peas and the garden see Hebe's blog.

Thursday was actually dry, warm and sunny(ish). so much so that in the evening Hebe and I were delighted to be able to go for our walk without needing to don all the wet weather gear, although I did keep the long boots.  As I wasn't trudging along, head ducked down to keep the rain from cascading down my face I was able to look around and see how the fields have grown, in fact it was so sunny I squinting as I watched the swallows hawking across the long grass.  There was a large group of mixed tits but mostly blue tits tseeping away in the Scot's pines.  The hay fields, or at least the margins, are full of wildflowers.  On a rise above the beck I found spotted orchids, the first time I've ever seen them here, there were also ox-eyed daisy, seed heads of devil's bit scabious and milkmaids. So then I did a quick survey which revealed three plantain varieties, seven different grasses from yorkshire fog and cocksfoot to a small soft fescue, but no catstail or timothy and all in full flower with the cocksfoot almost at shoulder height, which made ID really quite easy (for a change!).  Then lower down nearer the water (long boots definitely required) two juncus spp, three sedges, a small rosette of ragged robin and something that may be water forget-me-not spreading up the soggy bank, I didn't feel like sliding down to double check but Hebe had a good luck although her ID skills aren't that great extending only as far as whether it's edible or not!  All this within a few metres and that's without venturing into the old hawthorn hedge or under the gnarled old oaks, just shows what's there in the old pasture.  For plantaholics the sogginess is a blessing in disguise because under normal circumstances this field would have been cut last month.

It's been rather chaotic (I think that's most polite description) here in the office today.  The digital edition of the latest Weekly is nearly live, the print editions are rolling and will be ready for dispatch soon.  It's quite large this week coming in at 20 pages including the Training Calendar for September, 18+ volunteer placements, 49 new paid posts of which 36 came direct to CJS and one most unusual overseas opportunity - spend 8 months surveying on the Falkland Islands.