“The Heat is on” exclaimed the Yorkshire Post on the Friday of Bramham, June 3rd 2011 as temperatures hit 75 degrees. The 2011 season had commenced with a blisteringly hot Badminton which had not only fallen over the Easter weekend but coincided with the Royal Wedding and Britains ten day getaway for the non royalists. Last year traders bemoaned the heat, the holidays and Easter but little did we all know how lucky we were for this year’s selling season on the road has been an absolute wash out!!
Thomas Dainty commenced in usual fashion at Belton Horse Trials which was blessed with dry weather but sparse crowds. How many spectators now wish that they had ventured out to a dry Belton rather than wait for the bigger events to come? Belton House is famous for bleary traders coming out of winter hibernation full of expectancy for the upcoming season. While Dubarry were not in evidence local favourites such as Tottie, Urchin, the Boston Sausage Company, Jollydale Cyder joined us for a quiet two days while the riders again full of expectancy for the upcoming Olympic selection process. Belton was dry and the sales of the Crawley suede boot exceeded expectations http://www.thomasdainty.co.uk/collections/sale-items/products/crawley ! Again as per our usual routine we progressed on a couple of weeks later to The BASC show at Catton Park which too was blessed with dry weather. Belton and BASC are a chance for us to take stock of shoes in store and generally get sorted ahead of Badminton. This year’s event of course was tinged with excitement with the selection process to be under full steam. Sadly it was not to be and reminiscent of Harewood House a few years back the Event was under water in the early part of the week and it was impossible to proceed. Clearly a disappointment for all concerned at that juncture we put it down to bad luck and of course in bulldog British fashion determined to find another show to make up for it although we eschewed The Burghley Game and country Fayre and the Suffolk show. Like the water level on the River Tweed sales had risen of the durable Tweed C boot http://www.thomasdainty.co.uk/collections/specialist-country/products/tweed
Chatsworth is noteworthy for the amount of rain it can attract at least over the past few years that we have enjoyed selling there. This year was to be no different. It is without doubt one of our favourite two day shows and 2011 was notable not for HSBC s international sponsorship nor really for the fact it was later to feature on BBC television (giving us some very interesting sights behind the scenes -remember the tablecloth?) We, not for the first time were late with our entry and opted to try Windsor which does not normally figure on our circuit. There followed two days of no car parks that were literally under water but this was a Year with a difference and I hazard a guess that the “Landlady” was not about to abandon the Diamond Jubilee version of the Royal Windsor Horseshow without a struggle. Certainly all responsible for keeping the Showground in working order i.e. preventing it from becoming the Somme are to be congratulated.
As Lindsay from Cashmere opined “what can be better than 5 days trading in Maams back garden” and when the sun came out and the pathways began to dry what indeed?
Friday afternoon Saturday and Sunday were dry as a bone. The crowds came to enjoy the Pageant in the evenings with splendid musical performances and during the day the foreign contingents of horsemen and women treated everyone to superb displays including the Mounties from Canada and no less than two hundred horses from Oman.
The Horseguards escort on Sunday evening was nothing short of magnificent. The “William” was our regal seller http://thomasdainty.co.uk/products/william along with Buckingham a stately shoe I must say.
It was back to London for the Chelsea Flower Show for the likes of Dubarry but not us, followed by the sodden Jubilee weekend and the even more sodden Rutland Show This year’s Rutland Show held once more at the lovely Burley-on-the-Hill House was not to coincide with Bramham and so we were able to support our local show. Some think it is four consecutive years that Rutland has been rained on and certainly on this our second attempt was very very wet as rain did not cease all day. The population of England’s smallest county are a hardy lot and whilst the turnout for the Vintage car parade may have been down, the champion cattle and Hunters in the ring were as impressive as ever. Ever present Urchin were there along with the WI in the food tent and of course the Grainstore from Oakham provided refreshment despite having their hands full with the Sausage and Cyder Festival. For us the Rutland is a chance to catch up with locals who we might not otherwise see on our travels and is a pleasant interlude. The Rutland Farmers choice this show was the Avon a timeless brogue in the port colour the same as their Ruddy cheeks http://www.thomasdainty.co.uk/products/avon
The following weekend saw a crowded calendar what with the Royal Cornwall, the South of England and Bramham all vying for trade and attention. With time running out for the Olympic selection process this was all set to be a big weekend at Bramham. It was the Cavendish http://www.thomasdainty.co.uk/collections/imperial-collection/products/cavendish and Mr Foxx Pitt who dominates this event but once again the first two days were cursed by the wet weather. We have known wetter Bramhams and although the sun rescued Saturday and Sunday it was a far cry from last year’s Yorkshire post headlines our thanks go to local artist Ruth Buchannan and her partner Dave who make us feel so welcome and comfortable.
Our local polo event took place Sunday 8th July at Langham where we were the supporting act at the Macmillan Cancer Charity luncheon for the Oakham Polo set. A fabulous day hosted by Elizabeth Mills who magnificently organised this event with Trisha Ruddle. ALTHOUGH the Polo was cancelled again to the weather the sun shone in the Marquis where we feasted on the superb cuisine that is Hambleton Hall. It was a Bump and Ride off with the wonderful Chukka boot Jackie R http://www.thomasdainty.co.uk/products/jackie-r and the corresponding Ronny http://www.thomasdainty.co.uk/collections/made-to-order/products/ronny-c
Sadly the Gatcombe Horse Trials has become another victim of the weather and sadly we are not showing this weekend but battle on we will with the Dunkirk spirit and watch this space for the CLA Game Fair home of Thomas Dainty Brogue Trader in Rutland at Belvoir Castle. With thanks to all our fellow traders who keep in touch and of course to all of customers of Thomas Dainty and lovers of the Cheaney Shoe brand. The Shoe must go on!