Sunday, 11 September 2011

A fantastic day in Sturminster Newton

Yesterday, I had a fantastic day at the annual Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival.

This annual two day event which has been going for over 10 years, attracts visitors from far and wide. It is a really big date in the diary of our little town in Dorset and apart from the obvious cheese sampling, there is lots to see and do.

My first stop was the Birds of Prey display. These are from Wessex Bird of Prey Rescue who do fantastic work rescuing injured Raptors-the scientific name for these beautiful birds.

They are all stunning but my particular favourite is the Barn Owl.

This gorgeous fella was a little camera shy and refused to look in my direction so I had to make do with a side on view. I do think it shows off his superb plumage. What a handsome chap!

This magnificent bird is a European Eagle Owl called Elton. He is huge in comparison to the Barn Owl and has the most amazing orange eyes.

For me, one of the great things about being at a festival is the live music. I love sitting around on a hay bale with a glass of real ale (a recently acquired taste) listening to quality tunes.

Local folk duo Ian and Martine  mingled with the crowds as they played and got everyone's foot tapping.

They were swiftly followed by local  favourites In the Pipeline who are a great bunch of guys and who never fail to get the crowd going.

All this foot tapping and merriment was making me hungry and so I went in search of some much needed local fare.

The choice of food available was quite mind boggling. A variety of mouthwatering cheeses, cakes, pies and speciality breads were all on display and it took me quite some time to decide what to have.

In the end, I plumped for a gorgeous tomato cheese and basil loaf from the excellent Oxfords Bakery 

and accompanied this with an excellent creamy cheese called Stoney Cross from Lyburn Cheese. Delicious!

Having eaten and feeling fully full, it was time for a little more ale and some more music- this time from the Bell Street Jazz Band.

By this time, I was beginning to feel a little sleepy -much like this little one and I decided it was time to head home for a rest in preparation for my evening out.

It has become a tradition that on the Saturday evening of the cheese festival, a big event is held at The Exchange in Sturminster Newton and this year was no exception.

Show of Hands are an acoustic roots and folk duo from the West Country. They have a huge following and have played at the Royal Albert Hall and Glastonbury Festival.
This was my first time of seeing them live and I was hugely looking forward to it.

However, before their performance, it was the turn of the support act.

  Philip Henry and Hannah Martin are a folk duo who until last year were busking in Sidmouth, Devon. They were spotted by Show of Hands and are now on their way to a very successful career.
They played 30 minute of fantastic music and received a huge round of applause from the audience.
If you like folk with a twist, have a look at them on You Tube. While you are there, check out Phillip's beatbox harmonica-it's amazing.

Then came the main event- Show of Hands. I am not sure what to write about them as I don't feel my words can do justice to what was an absolutely brilliant show. From start to finish their musicianship was truly exceptional. I will leave you with one of their songs( sadly not one they performed last night) but one of my favourites and very appropriate to those of us living in rural areas.



PS Just to say a big thank-you to my hubby Steve Chick for his brilliant photos.I am without a camera at the moment and so I roped him in to being my photographer for the day. Thank-you xx


SBSSteve on 12 September 2011 at 08:27 said...

Great blog of what was a wonderful weekend. fine food, great friends and fantastic live music.
What more could anyone want?


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