Sunday, 21 February 2016

My last words on sheep- on the Southern Shears competition 2016

I am spending my last weekend in Gore working.

No mountains, lakes or forests to explore.

Confined to quarters, with only my laptop to amuse me between work based activities.

I tried making some scones.

The locals asked the other day what a cream tea is, and I had hoped to show them the real mackoy.

But I didn't have the right flour, or proper scales or a tablespoon to measure the sugar. The brushing of egg yolk on the top looked more like an omelet; such is the golden richness of Henny and Penny's eggs ( not my choice of names I would like you to know).

free range egg yolk

They rose in the oven and were then thrown in the bin.

So I had to go out and find something else to do.

Nothing much happens in Gore on a Saturday afternoon. Most of the shops are closed.

So I went to the sheep shearing competition. As you do.

Sheep arrive in trucks.

When they are unloaded they look like this

before shearing

These sheep have already been 'crutched' so the shearers remove the fleece in one piece.

Crutching involves a bit of tidying up around the rear end; if you look carefully you can see that they have very little wool on their posteriors.

Many a farmer has seen me in my professional capacity and advised me of injuries sustained while 'crutching' . I won't tell you what I thought they meant.....

I'll be an expert by the time I leave.

shearing in action

This is a very serious competition. Shearing is a very macho culture, and pay depends on speed and skill.

Each competitor has to shear 9 sheep as fast and as skilfully as possible, in front of a crowd of enthusiastic locals.

Southern Shears 2016

This video shows you how it is done. The commentator does a star job.

Its a bit like watching a horse race, but without the track, and I didn't see any signs of betting. Just cups of coffee and cigarettes.

The fleeces are compressed in a baling machine.

wool baling machine

And the finished article looks like this.

shorn sheep

badly shorn sheep  (not in Gore)

So that is that. I will say no more about sheep.



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