The beginning and the end of the show season for the team at Stott Hall Farm as haymaking gets underway

Our first and last show of the season is now behind us, somewhat frustrating as we have such an outstanding team of Woodlands this year.

John William is reunited with an old friend at the Great Yorkshire Show.

The white smocks have been washed and put away for next year, which hopefully will see a degree of normality resume and all of our wonderful agricultural shows back on the calendar.

The rosettes that John-William won have been nailed to the beams in the house along with many years worth of others.

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Four years ago, at the Great Yorkshire Show, he’d won the young handler class with a Coloured Ryeland tup lamb that he’d borrowed from our good friend Joanne Fisher of Greenlea Ryelands. It was the absolute highlight of the show for him and us!

The lamb, known as Yardley, became a firm favourite and whenever John-William saw Joanne he would always ask after him. So you can imagine his delight when Yardley was back at the Great Yorkshire Show this year, older and significantly larger! After much pleading, Joanne agreed to let him take Yardley in the young handler class.

He was up early on the morning of his class, his showing gear laid out and before the sausages even hit the pan he was up in the sheep shed checking on Yardley. By the time his class came round, the sun was baking everyone and everything in its path with crowds of people taking shelter in the sheep shed.

Yardley’s halter was put on, the hurdle to his pen opened and off they went. As people turned to watch them make their way to the ring, I stood and watched with overwhelming pride as the two of them strode confidently into the ring.

Scores of children poured in all looking smart and with steely determination etched into their faces. Sadly, the class was a tad disappointing, no questions were asked, no halters removed and put back on, no walk away, standing up. The rosettes were dished out whilst parents were still trying to push their way through the crowds to watch their child.

John-William was lucky enough to be placed but the confusion and disappointment was obvious. It seems terribly dismissive to not judge these children properly. Many spend hours practicing, washing and learning about ring craft and showmanship.

They are after all, our future, the next generation to carry our great profession forward.

Whilst we scorched in the July sun in Harrogate, Paul’s uncle was busy mowing our hay fields. As soon as we returned, Paul vanished to start baling and we saw nothing of him for several days.

The bale pile grew and grew and even the loft floors in the barn started to fill with fragrant bales of hay, filling the house with the smell of summer. Hopefully, everyone will have secured a bumper crop this year!

Many thanks to the incredibly kind reader who sent us a lovely gift last week, it was very much appreciated. John-William made light work of the chocolate!