Luckily for me, Julip newbie and stablemate expert extraordinaire Heather lives even further north than I do, and very kindly offered to give me a lift down with her. Despite having never actually met before, we soon discovered that we had a lot in common and there was barely a quiet moment the entire car ride!
|This gave us a bit of a laugh on the motorway. XD|
We even managed to spot a model horse - Haggis anyone?
The journey down proved...interesting, as it became readily apparent that my sense of direction is virtually non existent and as I was holding the maps (and supposedly telling Heather which routes to take) we made more than a few wrong turns, though we did finally - a couple of hours later than expected - make it to our lodgings for the next couple of nights, The George Washington. It was a nice little traditional pub, with very friendly staff and really good food. I'd brought ALL my Julips to the show for the first time, and because the weather was so hot, we brought the boxes inside so they wouldn't melt in the car, and the looks we got off the regulars at the bar were hilarious! (I only intended to take as many as I was going to enter in the classes, but then there was extra room in the boxes...and then the ones left out looked really sad so they had to come along as well!)
The only downside was that our room turned out to be ridiculously noisy as my bed's springs creaked as soon as you sat down and the pipes in the en-suite groaned moments after turning on the tap, and, as it was so hot, we kept the window open all night and the flag outside flapped about. (as flags are wont to do I suppose) Oh and then there was the thunderstorm and the boy racer on the motorbike at about 1am and the fact I didn't sleep at all the first night for all these reasons. XD
Aside from that I'd genuinely really recommend the place! :) We went for a little walk around the village one evening and it was lovely and quiet and peaceful - not to mention full of lovely cats!
|The view from the front of the George Washington.|
We skipped breakfast the morning of the show and grabbed something en route to save time. It was so good to see everyone again - it certainly didn't feel like the last one was a year ago!
I'd barely started unpacking my ponies when Laura started getting the spares out and well, the decanting of Julips had to wait. XD Against the better judgement of my bank balance, I ended up with two and a handful of bunnies - something I'd been determined to get at the show even if I didn't manage to get a horse.
One of the best things about Laura and Richard taking over Julip is their attention to detail and enthusiasm for the animals, and there was a huge flurry of activity as they were unwrapped - some not actually managing to make it onto the display stand, or being picked up immediately after being put down!
I resisted one of the lovely spaniels but got these four instead. I must have spent a good five minutes choosing from the unbelievably varied selection and even then I put a couple back and then changed my mind again a few times.
A few of the new foxes are on my ever lengthening wishlist...
Another brilliant addition to the range are all these accessories - carts, rabbit hutches, jumps, fencing - even a 'working' forge! While not something I'd personally buy as I enjoy making my own too much, there's something so wonderfully Julipy about them all and I can see them being very popular.
As ever, everyone else's tables were immaculate and well organised...
...but after a couple of classes mine looked like this.
(I did a headcount and my herd now stands at a rather staggering 58 Originals! How on earth did that happen?!)
I think this was the 'New Ponies' class. (not for people's actual newbies, but for more modern pony moulds that were still in production as opposed to vintages on moulds that were no longer available.)
You can see one of my newbies in the front row...
...and after all the mould classes were over I found a rather nice surprise sitting next to him!
I still hadn't quite got used to the fact that he was *my* pony, so I left him on the table at least once after a class because I completely forgot he didn't belong to someone else! XD
You might be wondering what the little smiley faces were in aid of - last year when it came to judging classes we went with the tried and tested method of using pennies. (we each took a certain number of pennies and placed them next to your favourites) This worked well in theory, but nearly every class ended in a tie and we wasted a lot of time having to vote for each one again. Luckily this year Stacey and her mum had come up with a far more effective solution - coloured tokens! They were sorted in colour like rosettes and each was worth a certain number of points (red - 6, blue - 5, yellow - 4, green - 3, orange - 2 and pink -1.) so now it didn't matter how many people voted for a horse, all that mattered was the number of points. You'd place your favourite 'first' and vote from there in order. It sounds complicated but it was very easy to pick up and made judging significantly easier! There was a big poster in the middle of the table with a key just in case we forgot which colour meant what.
I think this was the Colour Championships.
The scene classes are always my favourite, and I wasn't disappointed this year as there were some absolutely brilliant entries. Annoyingly, I managed to miss out on photographing all of them as I was always having to nip back to my table to grab a horse for another class, and some of the best are missing!
|'4th of July' on the left and 'International Scene' on the right.|
|I don't know why but the rider with the numnah in her face cracks me up every time I look at her.|
It's like 'Oh come on, not again!'
|I was on the verge of selling this pony but I saw sense and am keeping him! This entry also allowed me to come up with a recipe for the most realistic model horse poo possible, so if anyone wants any for performance, do let me know. :P|
|Ponies gonna pony.|
|Lady + XC = disaster.|
|I think this was my favourite scene entry - that poor pony! XD|
|I've heard of 'birdies' in golf, but ponies?|
|I love this scene so much - there's a lot of detail in it that this photo doesn't show|
and we had a rousing discussion about the stupidity of pheasants because of it.
As the show took place on the 4th of July, there was a special 'Independence Day' themed class.
I did a barrel racing scene for that class but somehow managed not to take any photos of it. XD
I did a picnic scene which was very well received and yet also never got round to photographing!
After a leisurely lunch (during which I paid for half my bunnies with the proceeds from selling some pipecleaner cats I'd made a while ago and never got round to bringing to the last show) and a brief naming competition for a new Julip addition, the Fun classes began.
|I might have to steal this colour combo for a rug of my own someday!|
Because Digby was tacked up for another class, his matching rug sat next to him but it kinda looks like it's being worn by an invisible Pit Pony. XD
Jazz did well(!) in the 'Thrills and Spills' class...
...but this one was just, wow!
The 'Conga' class is always fun as it isn't just limited to multiple horses in the same mould...
|My Family Horse conga stands at 10...clearly I require more.|
|So many buns!|
|Stacey's Dartmoor army marches on...|
...it can be lots of the same colour...
...or lots of completely different things with something which ties them all together!
|Spots of course!|
The 'Pairs' class is another favourite, and especially good fun as you have to come up with it on the day by finding a doppleganger to one of your own models from someone else's collection.
That's my other newbie on the right, paired up with one of Caitlin's.
|This will always be memorable for her 'Oh no, the bums!' exclamation upon realising that the two cobs didn't quite match.|
Blurry photo, but it's the only one I have of Maisie and John Lowe getting the very unexpected Reserve Champion for the 'International Scene' classes. I made the diorama a few weeks ago and spent ages making the klibber (usually used with Shetlands rather than Highlands, shhhh!) and baskets to carry the peat. I'll do a proper blog post about it at some point.
|At home, showing off her gorgeous rosette.|
Because of the new judging methods, we finished in plenty of time which was just as well as I had 58 horses and ponies to re-rug and pack up, as well as a whole host of props and riders! Sadly two of our number had to leave early which was a real shame, but the rest of us wandered down to the pub down the road afterwards for our evening meal and a good bit of banter.
Topics ranged from wobbly Pit Ponies with wheels to freeze dried cow ears so on the whole, it was a very sane and normal gathering of Julip collectors. XD (once more, sorry Jan!)
Eventually we all parted ways and headed for the B&B - once again trekking past the bemused regulars at the bar with multiple and mysterious boxes - and after another night of noisy furnishings, headed for home the following morning. Now that we knew where we were going (it's handy when the road signs simply point us in the direction of 'The North') the journey took only a couple of hours instead of err...five.
I honestly cannot thank Heather enough for letting me tag along and I sincerely hope it's not for the last time as I had an absolute blast! Massive thanks also go to Stacey and Nicky for hosting the show and for the brilliant goodie bags and assortment of very nomable cakes. Oh and how could I forget the wonderful Laura and Richard for bringing such a great variety of spares and animals to choose from. (and for being so accommodating when it came to payment! :P)
Here's to the next one! :D
Normally I'd end the post there but seeing as I've already kind of spoiled my newbies, I might as well introduce them here!
First up is the absolutely gorgeous smutty palomino Pit Pony.
I can't quite believe I managed to nab him as he's so beautiful I suspect he'd have been snapped up by someone else if I hadn't got to him first! I was stumped for a name until I came home and remembered the name of a nearby town that we'd ended up going through at least twice because of my utterly terrible directions and map reading skills - Kirkby Lonsdale - which I kept misreading as 'Kirby', In light of our confused meandering, he shall henceforth be known as 'Kirkby Lostdale', or Kirk for short.
He came with incredibly thick and poofy hair - typical Shetland really - but it was just too long and wild for my taste so I booked him into the Julip salon almost as soon as he got home. Here's how he looked before his appointment... XD
|Somewhere, deep within the fluff...lies a pony.|
|The 80's called, they want their pony back.|
He has added feathering which really adds to his scruffy pony character. I made the headcollar to match his rosette as well.
The second horse I just couldn't resist, and surprisingly his name came to me in a matter of minutes. Presenting...Byron!
He looks like a really dependable sort of chap to me - the kind who'd be trusted to look after nervous or first time riders and absolutely bombproof to boot. His dapples are exquisite and really suit the mould and while technically he should have light coloured hooves because of his white legs, he looks like a show horse so my excuse is that he's had dark hoof oil put on. :P For that reason I was tempted to hog him...but he looks far better hairy.
All in all, a very successful and enjoyable weekend!