14 July 1995

FOR ALL

LITTLE SOMETHING

PETER GOTT was doing a tremendous job promoting British cheese in the Food Hall and his jokey sign was well received.

Peter, a member of the British Cheesemakers Assoc-iation and a champion of home-produced speciality cheeses, farms at Endmoor, near Kendal, Cumbria. At the Royal Show he was offering "part of our heritage" – tasters of traditionally-made cloth wrapped cheddar cheese.

FARM tracks, beaches and stairways are just three types of terrain that the Mountain Buggy takes in its stride.

This all-terrain buggy is a new arrival from New Zealand, as are Nickie McDonald and Lindsay Abbott (0181-747 9439) who sell the buggy in this country. When they moved to London they were anxious to bring one with them for son Mitchel, now 19 months old, who enjoyed speedy and comfortable trips in one across the Royal Showground to and from his parents stand in the Country Pursuits area.

The buggy has a light aluminium frame and folds to fit into a car boot. It has a five-point harness to hold the young passenger in place and besides brakes theres a wrist strap – just in case you let go when hurrying downhill. The canvas seat, canopy and gear tray are machine washable and dry in minutes. A storm cover is also included in the price (£325). A hammock to accommodate a new born baby and a twin version will be available soon.

A BEAUTIFUL chair, cut from a burr elm, with a wych elm seat, drew many admiring glances and a buyer on the first day of the show. The culmination of months of work by Terry Harvey from More-cambe, Lancs, it was completed just in time for the Royal Show where it was snapped up for £1200 by a farmers wife on the very first day.

NOT a minute is wasted on Joan Hampshires stand – between customers at the Royal Show, Joan and her daughter, Louise, twiddle away splicing rope, mainly for show halters and lead ropes.

Joan can supply any thickness and has her pure white cotton rope specially made in Lancs, with varying twists to give just the right amount of softness required according to the use the rope is to be put to.

It is not unusual for owners to bring their animals to her stand at shows so she can make a halter to measure. "If it is the right length over the nose, the animal will lead better," explained Joan, who does seven major agricultural shows plus stock sales. For people who cant come to her she also has a postal service (01630-672368).

Joans biggest thrill is to see her customers do well in the show ring and many come back to let her know how they get on. But her ropes, which she can supply to any length for any use, also end up in more unusual places such as stately homes – as barriers – and in a zoo as trapezes for monkeys.

"I started splicing the odd rope as a favour to friends, but it got out of hand and I turned it into a business 11 years ago. I have got where I am today by trial and error. Every time someone asks me to make something new I make one for them and one for a sample for myself," said Joan, whos next show will be the Royal Welsh.

NOT quite fully fledged – this eagle made from poplar wood has been eight days in the carving and has a few feathers to grow before it is finished.

The eagle was landing plenty of favourable comments for wood carver John Wakefield from the Forest of Dean, Glos, who was working in the Farm Woodland Area. John, who finds the Royal Show a good source of commissions, expects the finished bird to fetch £1200.

THE Royal Show certainly impressed a group of farm secretaries from Orange University, Australia. In England on two-week placements arranged through the Institute of Agricultural Secretaries and Administ-rators, the group was amazed at its size and agricultural content compared with the "fairs" they have at home.

The 14 Australians are all students or graduates of the universitys rural business administration course. "The farm secretarys course is two years and in the third year you can gain a bachelors degree in management or rural business administration," explained Zelma Bone, the lecturer who was the instigator of the visit. The idea came to her while taking students on rural visits at home.

"Our course is still at the fledgling stage. We have 30-40 graduates – all of whom got jobs – and I thought it would be an idea to take some of them to Britain where farm secretaries started. It is a wonderful experience for them to see the institute at work here," she said.

The visit has been an eye-opener for the secretaries, who were all amazed at how controlled British farmers are through subsidies and quotas, and the lack of free market.

"At home farming is still more a way of life than a business – some farmers dont even run a cash book and keep everything in their heads rather than on record or computer," said Helen Taylor from Gronggrong, New South Wales.

Her companions felt Aust-ralian farmers were market driven, with more options for direct sales. Even paying out wages was simpler than in Britain.

All were impressed by the warm welcome they received from host farmers and the way the institute supports its members.

"We would like to arrange a reciprocal visit next year," said Zelma Bone, "and our principal would love to have them visit the college."