In an Oscars sty-lee, I would like to thank my lovely hens for laying such lovely eggs, the lovely Gamford for trudging back and forth tending to the lovely hens, my lovely family for putting up with my ‘hobby’ which is waaaaay out of hand now, the lovely chaps and chap-esses at Carrs Billington for supplying the lovely layers’ pellets (which handily come in larger-than-normal 25kg bags), and Bruce the cockerel for keeping my lovely hens happy.
And happy hens lay prize-winning eggs.
We have just returned victorious from the Peebles poultry show clutching a handful of cards – four first prizes, four second prizes, two thirds and one fourth – our best haul ever in the three years we have been exhibiting at the show. Yahooooo!
Even though we are not regular exhibitors – this is the only show we take part in – we really enjoy putting our eggs in. You select, clean and carefully store the chosen few eggs, carefully transport them to the show where you place them gingerly on to paper plates and then let fate take over.
Will they be too small? Too large? Too bumpy? Too pointy? What about those wee marks on them? Is that OK? What will the judges think?
This year we entered a class where you have to have six eggs of the same colour (ie. laid by the same hen). Oh, the pressure! For us, not the hen (obviously), who would have no idea so much was riding on her producing perfectly identical eggs day after day.
I hate handling the eggs once they are ‘the chosen ones’. My pulse quickens and I have that odd, queasy feeling that I might just drop one. Or put it down too quickly and crack it. Ever so slightly, but enough to produce a hairline crack which could cause an epic fail on the show plate.
It’s the same sort of feeling people who don’t like heights get when they have to climb up a ladder to fish leaves out of their gutters. Not good.
Oh the relief when they are on the show tables, and become Someone Else’s Problem. If the judge bashes into the table and a few eggs roll off on to the floor, c’est la vie. But today was The Perfect Day – crowds of like-minded people showing and admiring birds, delish bacon rolls (honest, Kev and June, they were! You were just a bit too late), a raffle, an auction... and those lovely, lovely prizes. Bliss.
Thank you, Peebles and District Poultry and Bantam Club. We’ll be back!
z Once results are collated, a full report will appear in The Southern, but in the meantime, visit our website to view the video: www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk