OVER the past week the weather has been very changeable.The clouds, wind and periods of damp have caused temperatures to vary considerably. For most of the week Richard and I have been stewarding on The Main Lawn of the Royal Bath and West Show, where we certainly had a diverse range of weather over the four days.

Wednesday was the worst day, when we there was a chilly feel all day, as drizzle and a cold breeze dominated. However on Saturday we finished on a high with a beautiful warm and sunny day.

This year the show certainly had a happy feel, especially on and around the Main Lawn. On the Main Lawn we hosted a variety of acts, including military, steel and jazz bands. There were also singers, majorettes and not forgetting many groups of Morris Dancers providing entertainment over the duration of the show. The school this year was decorated in the theme of Alice in Wonderland, where families could enjoy a stroll into a book. A relaxing cuppa could be enjoyed in the church marquee and Tractor Ted made a daily appearance on the lawn.

Being a steward over the four days I get little time to visit the other attractions on the showground but this year I managed to make my way to the cheese pavilion and sampled many of the tasty British Cheeses being displayed within. The British Cheese Awards are a highlight of the show, with hundreds of entries from around the country. I also visited Orchards and Cider, where numerous ciders are judged and tasted !

A new breed of cattle have recently arrived on Manor Farm. A small herd of 18 North Devon beef cattle are now grazing in one of our fields. We were a little anxious once we had decided to purchase them as they had to have a pre- movement TB test. Fortunately the test proved to be negative, so the purchase was able to be completed. The North Devon is an ancient breed and being a rich red or tawny colour is often referred to as the Devon Ruby or Ruby Red.

Meanwhile Kevin has begun shearing his sheep, beginning with the rams and yearling ram lambs and ewe lambs. It was not long before the two employed shearers and a packer had removed the fleeces from this group of animals. The sheep were gathered the night before to ensure that they were dry. Once the fleece of each sheep had been removed it was rolled before being packed into a wool sack. The wool sacks are provided by the British Wool Marketing Board who collect, grade, market and sell British wool. The ewes, still out in the fields with their lambs, will be sheared after the lambs are weaned.

Since shearing the rams and ram lambs have been sorted for registration. This will ensure that only the best genetics are carried through to the next generation.