THIS WRITING LIFE: To Show We Go!

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Ooh, I so adore a country show. They remind me a lot of growing up, when spring meant the start of show season. From the end of August until the last shows of December I’d spend every weekend at a showground somewhere in south-east South Australia or western Victoria, competing on my horses and having a wonderful time.

Sideshow alley clowns, Luddenham Show 2016But I also loved all the other things that shows offered – everything from local trade displays to the hard fought baking and other competitions. The livestock pavilions, with all their smells and noise and sleek animals, were wonderful. Plus there were performances and displays and all sort of things to entertain young and old, and celebrate rural communities. I even liked the sideshows, although not that much. I was far too uncoordinated to win anything. Even the laughing clowns, which for some reason I loved (WHY? everyone knows they’re evil), used to defeat me.

Just up the road from me is the tiny village of Luddenham. Last weekend it hosted its 112th annual show and after saying for the last three years that I really must check it out, this year I did. And what a happy, happy time I had!

Lovely horses, woodchopping, bush poetry, whipcracking, sheepdog trials, poultry, an animal petting zoo, trade displays and more, but what really thrilled me was the number of young families there, enjoying this little taste of country life.

Here are some photos from the day.

Bush poetry at Luddenham show

The day started with a Poet’s Breakfast which was a lot of fun. Nothing like a recital of The Man From Snowy River to perk your morning up.

Sheep dog trials at Luddenham Show

Sheep dog trials are always fascinating. This combination did an impressive job with these difficult sheep.

Shearing demonstration at Luddenham show

The shearing demonstration, at the end of which the shearer did a very funny bit of sheep hypnotising.

Junior whipcrack

This young lad learned how to crack a whip from his grandfather. Love how Google photos can create gifs like this!

senior whipcrack at Luddenham Show

Meanwhile. this fellow learned his whipcracking off YouTube!

Veg display at Luddenam Show

In the pavilions we had lovely farm produce…

lowers at Luddenham Show

…and pretty flowers

Decorated gumboots at Luddenham Show

…decorated gumboots

art at Luddenham Show

…art

photos at Luddenham Show

…photography

craft at Luddenham Show

…craft

cooking at Luddenham Show

…and cooking. I bet these categories were hard fought.

Woodchopping at Luddenham Show

Outside we had woodchopping. I do love a man who can swing an axe!

Woodchopping at Luddenham Show

And more woodchopping. I so enjoy watching these events. The strength and skill involved is incredible.

Woodchopping at Luddenham Show

Here’s a junior axeman in the making.

Led horse at Luddenham Show

What I really came to see – pretty horses!

Pony events at Luddenham Show

Pony event judging

Cute pony at Luddenham Show

Too cute!

Australian Stock Horse classes at Luddenham Show

Warming up for a working Australian Stock Horse class

Pony at Luddenham Show

Little pony!

Poultry pavilion at Luddenham Show

As always, the poultry pavilion was a hoot. Chooks are funny.

Mice in the petting zoo at Luddenham Show

Meanwhile, in the petting zoo, we had mice…

Donkey in the petting zoo at Luddenham Show

…and a sweet little donkey

Guinea pigs in the petting zoo at Luddenham Show

…guinea pigs

The petting zoo at Luddenham Show

…and lots more overfed animals. Not to mention gaggles of overexcited children.

Reptile demonstration at Luddenham Show

There was also a hugely popular reptile talk and demonstration.

Vintage machinery at Luddenham Show

A vintage machinery display.

Nepean Hunters Club at Luddenham Show

The Nepean Hunters Club also had a trade stand. Not my thing but I couldn’t resist this pic. Their bow and arrow shooting range was enormously popular.

Dragon bouncy castle at Luddenham Show

Why weren’t there bouncy castles like this when I was growing up?

Hope you enjoyed the photos. I certainly enjoyed my day!

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4 thoughts on “THIS WRITING LIFE: To Show We Go!

  1. AvatarFi

    Fabbbbb piccies. Ahh Cathryn, haven’t dropped in for a while with life speeding past like an express train – your post makes me think of the saying ‘the teacher appears at the right time.’ I need to slow down and enjoy more, make little detours to fascinating shows like yours. But I do think Luddenham show is the best example of a country show that I’ve seen and it has all the things I loved about them. But then I haven’t been for more than a few years so will have to make the effort. My first school was Leppington and I think thats near Luddenham. xx Fi
    PS I am hoping of course that you pour that love into a fabulous book with shows as a background. Can’t wait to read it.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      No problems on the dropping in, Fi. I understand completely! We had such a full on weekend it’s taken until today for me to reply.
      Leppington is only just south of here so not far away at all. I didn’t know you went to school here. How cool! Mind you, the area has probably changed completely with all the housing development.
      As for a book, I’d love to write one about woodchopping. Such a wonderful sport (and MUSCLES!).

  2. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

    Hi Cathryn,

    Such great photos. I haven’t heard of the Luddenham show – maybe next year Steven and I can check this one out. It looks similar to the Sydney Royal Easter Show – love the country shows. I avoid the animal in tiny cages pavilion though, all the rest is terrific.

    Love the boy doing his whip act – and how cool is the moving pic, love that. Wow, that’s the best bouncy castle I’ve ever seen. The kids these days have the coolest things, don’t they Cathryn?

    Did you have a wonderful day with your writing friends in Newcastle? And the weather was a lot kinder today too.

    Oh hey, did you end up sending the link of the 1,000 Headless Horseman to your brother? Did he like it?

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      We had a wonderful weekend in Newcastle, Sue. Lovely to catch up with Annie and Michelle, and other buddies across the weekend. Love Newie.

      I went to the Sydney Royal last year and had a ball, but you can’t beat the intimacy and generosity of a small country show. Luddenham was fab. Not very big but it made up for it in personality. I would love to make it back to my hometown of Mount Gambier’s annual show again one year. That was always a cracking show.

      Yikes, I did forget about the vid, Sue. Will get onto it. He’s away at the moment though.

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