.... at the CLA Game Fair at Broadlands, near Romsey.
The CLA is the Country Land & Business Association - an influential body whose primary objective is to "help to protect our members’ interests" Originally founded in 1907 as the Country Landowners Association, today their membership encompasses landowners, businesses and a diversity of professions. Of note is the fact that the CLA members own and manage more than half the rural land in England and Wales. This annual event is held at various stately homes such as Broadlands (Hampshire), Blenheim (Oxfordshire), Harewood (Yorkshire) & Belvoir Castle (Lincolnshire)
Sadly, they couldn't organise traffic management on Friday morning any better than a 4 year old playing with a Lego set! For an 18 mile journey to take nearly 1 hour 50 minutes was incredible, luckily I cut across country, otherwise it would have been a whole lot worse. Feeling relieved to have got there I parked up, only to be faced by a 20 minute walk to the entrance gate! I heard of someone travelling from Oxford to the event who blindly followed the signs that took 5 1/2 hours to get there!!!
The event itself was vast with over 140,000 visitors, hundreds of stalls, loads of exhibits & interesting things to do & see. Friday was particularly hot with masses of people & temperatures into the 90's. I watched the John Bidwell exhibition for 20 minutes or so, he is clearly a very gifted shot, but it got a bit boring after he showed us his trick shots shooting from the hip.
With my interest in Shooting & Fishing [and food!] there was a lot to look at & talk about. I got a new pair of ear plugs custom made by Green Leopard, something I've been planning to do for a while now.
I gave the show a miss on Saturday, but managed to do the same journey Sunday morning in 29 minutes - much better. Once through the gates, I had the best bacon sandwich ever (honest!) from the Northfield Farm stand, I will be ordering some more from their mail order service soon! A good look around Gunmakers Row followed, but didn't provide anything interesting in the Gun Dept. other than looking at an amazing side-by-side 4 bore gun! In the afternoon I had a chat to the Greenfields of Salisbury staff who were looking a bit weary by this stage, but they had a good show from the sound of it.
I then went to the clothing aisle! Hackett, Charles Tyrwhitt, T.M. Lewin, Dubarry, Orvis et al were all more than capable [and willing!] of taking my credit cards & swiping them through their little machines. Dubarry won hands down in the assistant stakes - very pretty [mostly blond] young women in knee length leather boots with very nice short tweed skirts with flesh between, very nice, if a little public school for my liking.
Overall a very interesting event that had loads of interesting things for me to see, but if you are not into shooting, fishing, falconary, stalking or food don't bother.