All the Fun of the Fair


This magnificent Friesian stallion was, for me, the star of the show at the town’s agricultural fair, where local and not so local breeders showed the prime of their stock with the aim of attracting clients.

There were also Falabellas:


Water buffalo:


And something whose origins are said to be Indian…but I need to do some research:

There were publicity stands…there was a canteen:


And gentlemen practising their dressage for the parade of horses later in the day with the hope of a winner’s ribbon:


An English County Show it was not…but it was a great day out…we even met a man who had the only herd of Blonde d’Aquitaine cattle in Costa Rica…he had encountered the breed while working in Canada and, despite all the administrative problems, had his herd installed locally.
The Blonde d’Aquitaine is a good beef breed…and can only be better in Costa Rica than on its native soil given that here it will be grass fed all the year round…no pellets.

No wonder the beef here is a revelation after France…fed correctly, hung in cold storage…
At its best it can approach Scots beef…and that is saying something.

There were plenty of the crosses between African and European beasts too…

All part of the programme of improving the breeds…like seeing the agricultural revolution of the eighteenth century before your eyes in the twenty first…

And, as with all agricultural shows, there was food and music in over abundance.

A good time was had by all.

As if this was not enough there was more fun on Tuesday evening.

The bridge which links us to the main road into town collapsed before Christmas. This means that those few of us who live on the ‘tail’ of the district have to take the back road – unpaved, twisty and three kilometres vertical – to get into town.

All very well at this time of year, but the rainy season will arrive in a month or so and then things will not be so funny. The road will turn into a river during the rainstorms, vast ruts and channels will be gouged out and it is quite possible that the narrow stretch above our finca will collapse into the stream below.
In a stout four wheel drive we will get through – if the narrow stretch doesn’t collapse – but no way will our neighbour’s wife be able to pass in her ordinary car in order to get to work in the local college. Nor will the men working on an orange plantation down the valley be able to get to work…or, come to that, the man who looks after the goats on the farm below ours.

When the bridge collapsed the alcalde (mayor) came down to take a look.
From that day to this the council have resolutely refused to do more.

Set up a project to repair it?
What, are you mad?
National law (underlying message – new government, not the ruling party here) demands that before any infrastructure project is undertaken a proper study must be made to ensure stability of said project.
Years of motorways disappearing downhill and bridges falling into rivers have shown the necessity of having a study made, but, just as in the European Union, ‘studies’ have turned into a very lucrative business indeed.

So the council have said that they cannot afford to pay for a ‘study’ for which they have been quoted (probably by someone not unknown to members of the council) a vast sum.
No ‘study’, no project.

While this has been going on the development committee of the district has been busy. They have been talking to the development agency and to the roads department. They have had promises of aid and locals are prepared to pay towards materials and provide labour.

But only the council can order a ‘study’. And it’s not going to.
Thus the meeting at the town hall.

Not only did the disgruntled of our district attend, so did the disgruntled of two other districts, resulting in a turn out that required more chairs to be provided.

The video below shows an excerpt from the meeting…the interesting bit, but for those who don’t have Spanish here is a quick guide to the highlights:

As the video opens with the council sitting behind what looks like recycled kitchen units, the bald bugger doing all the bawling and arm waving is the council’s lawyer, whose incompetence leading to repeated defeats in court probably accounts for some of the council’s financial problems which he prayed in aid in his attempt to justify the refusal to stir their stumps and do their job.

The man in the pink shirt on his left as you see it – the one who looks as if he tried to tidy up his hair with an electric razor while hungover – is the alcalde.

The man in the mauve shirt on his left is the local deputy (same party as the council).

It gets more exciting at about 4.54 when a man in a blue shirt rises to his feet to refute the claims of bald bugger, haircut man and the deputy.

The police intervene at 5.37 onwards.

The man in the blue shirt, bouncing back, asks the audience to vote to allow him to continue at about 7.29. Hands raised (including mine).

After that it is more bawling, arm waving and shouting.

Democracy in action.


62 thoughts on “All the Fun of the Fair”

  1. As someone who sits on a couple of civic/community/land use boards, the video had me laughing out loud – too familiar by half. I was at one of hose where the Chairman jumped on his chair and screamed “If we had a juggler, dog and a clown this would be a circus!” and then ran out of the room. That alcalde was certainly a Man of Inaction; truth to tell he looked a bit liquored up which would have been a wise move.

    Thanks for the animal pics, too. From my ranch days I always like to see farm animals and having worked with Shire horses I am especially fond of the big draft boys. The Friesian is magnificent.

    1. I noted that the alcalde left the room when things hotted up….perhaps in search of liquid comfort.

      A big surprise to see a draught horse there at all – though people tell me that Percherons used to be fairly common in the area…and he was a magnificent specimen. Made my day.

  2. . . It’s a laugh-a-minute – ‘democracy’ at work! Here in Turkey our new Padishah has installed a control room on his new White Palace from which he can observe every (and that is ‘every’) cctv camera operated by any public body. This enables him to keep an eye on everyone, especially as he micro-manages their reproduction rates (sex for for the pleasure of both parties is frowned upon).
    On the subject of horses, I worked for HM Prison Service at various times and had the pleasure of seeing that organisation save the magnificent and very gentle Suffolk Punch from extinction after they ‘inherited’ through death duties what cameto be known as the Hollesey Bay Colony. There was a very small herd of the breed there and from that came the resurrection.
    Enjoyed the post Helen.

    1. It makes me wonder just where your Master of Kings has installed his cameras…has he thought of the back of the bike sheds?

      I used to be a member of the Suffolk Horse Society and knew the Hollesley Bay Suffolks well. Beautiful creatures….

  3. The show looks marvellous fun. Which is more than I can say about the meeting. Issues like the bridge would leave me just wanting to get out of the countr …. but I suppose you could always get going with creepers and bamboo?

    1. I’ve always liked agricultural shows….and meetings interest me in all their variety, from the staid proceedings of the parish council where the chairman has tied it all up beforehand to the maelstrom of one in Costa Rica where the chairman thinks he has tied it all up beforehand…

  4. Although I did not understand one word of all this chaotic performance I watched it till the end. Funnier than some films with Louis de Funès. I also liked your report on the agricultural fair, I love that kind of manifestations, the smell of the animals, the ‘ambiance’, the public.

      1. Yes I saw you as extra in the background and Leo too. Blonde d’Aquitaine always thought that it was such a lovely name.
        I must admit that European politicians do not inspire me much confidence, but the ones I saw on the video made me think they are even worse in Costa Rica. Especially the alcalde who was showing no single interest in what was going on chewing on what looks like a toothpick. Anyway I hope you will pass the rainy season safely.
        Good day to both of you

        1. With the denunciations of his financial management perhaps the alcalde thought silence was the best policy.. – let the bald bugger take the strain!
          I found the French ones about as bad…just that the French accept it more quietly…

  5. I would have preferred a video of the horses rather than the meeting. Pehaps next year you will oblige, I’m sure the meeting will still not have got to a resolution before then.

  6. Democracy, indeed. If only it were allowed to function without the little kingdoms. In every country, in every city, in every human endeavor, it is always the same. The few knowing better than the masses. But somehow, it seems to never change.

    1. The bald bawler had, earlier in proceedings, explained that if he or other council members authorised the expenditure of public money on unnecessary items the Contraloria (government financial watchdog) would be down on them like a ton of bricks…and was bemused by the howls of laughter from the audience.

  7. Amazing animals – quite agree about the stallion, he’s a stunner. As for the meeting – well, I speak some Spanish and recognised lots of words, but at the end, it did seem that they voting on having a ‘barbacoa’ – a barbeque…perhaps I need more practice!
    It also clearly demonstrated that the one with the loudest voice takes charge!
    Great stuff and good to catch a glimpse of the wordsmith herself!

    1. No, your Spanish is fine….the man in the blue shirt was talking about (among other things) the problems in the district of Barbacoas.

      And he who holds the microphone….did you like the police intervention? First time I’ve seen that…

  8. It’s so good to see you pop up over the cyber horizon. I was thinking of you a couple of days ago and wondering if you and your hubby were okay. You know how much I love the photos and stepping into seeing anything upbeat about animals. I just love that little fallabella and want to jump into the screen and give it a hug. And, one to you. 🙂

  9. Politics as usual. Fighting the good fight. Do you suppose some last minute solution will emerge? Not that I can think of one. In the meantime, I enjoyed to fair.

    1. There might be a last minute solution as the elections are approaching….
      As to enjoyment of the meeting anyone with experience of public life would recognise certain elements of it….

  10. A normal local council meeting I fear.
    Lies from the council, outbursts from the floor, anger and steam but nothing changes.
    I missed the bit where you began to fling chairs at the leading men and were carted out by the police however.

    1. The police know when to make themselves scarce – on the lines of a story related me by my father.
      Passing through an area of Glasgow on the dividing line between orange and green, he heard an almighty ruckus at a dance hall up on a hill and, as he watched, the doors opened and the bug drum came hurtling down towards him.
      He addressed two passing policeman…should they not go up there and see what was what?
      The elder of the pair addressed him in turn…
      Man, that’s no place for a policeman….

  11. The mayor looks like he’s only there as a spare part. Doesn’t say a thing. Is he a puppet?

    The animals look lovely, especially that cute little pony.

        1. That farabella is adorable! Your meeting is rather like a latin “Casual Vacancy”…. I’ve been trying to spot you in the video – give me a clue?

          1. If the ‘still’ is the same when you see it as it is on the post, then I am on the right as you see it, at the back, by the door for a quick exit, wearing a green top and appearing to balance a cupboard on my head, next to my husband in a white top.
            I appear again at the hand raising bit….

  12. Public meetings about political issues seem to be much the same everywhere. The public suggesting about a dozen different courses of action, most of them totally impractical, or else just ranting about anything that comes to mind, and the politicians explaining why they can’t possibly do anything that’s suggested because it’s too expensive/ will never work/ has never been tried before/ will bring little benefit etc. The wrangling goes on for ten years or so, until a new politician arrives who cuts through all the crap and sorts everything out.

    I can only hope it doesn’t take as long as that for your collapsed bridge to be rebuilt.

    1. The textbook on resisting change is Cornford’s Microcosmographica Academica….the principle of unripe time, etc…

      I expect the chap at the pig farm will just build it himself with a few contributions from those most affected…..not very likely anyone will come to inspect, after all….

  13. As usual I cannot watch the video – oh for a decent internet connection!

    I just love the Friesian breed they are such calm and docile horses normally and beautiful with it.

    As for beef, nothing for me touched good old Rhodesian beef. The grazing was amazing, they we’re slaughtered properly, and hung for as long as necessary. In those days I could afford a hind quarter, I would go to the butcher and pick one, and he would tell me to come back in two weeks time to collect it. He would then cut it into joints as I wanted. Tender and melt in the mouth, how I miss a good steak.

    Hope all is well. Diane

    1. There are many good points about France…..but beef is not one of them!

      I’m sorry about the video….do you think things will ever improve in your neck of the woods as far as internet speed is concerned? I see more and more people using satellite but I’ve no idea what it costs.

      I enjoyed the agricultural show….small and friendly…and now wonder why i hadn’t gone before!

      Have a good weekend and come up with some more of your super photo journals of your surroundings in France.

      1. The agricultural shows in Rhodesia also used to be wonderful.
        I have so many photos to go through and less time to do research which is necessary for My Life in Charente. Thus the reason for the daily diary which is just that and no research. I try to do what I can but….. Also a lot of research and photo hunting is required for My Life Before Charente so that is also getting left behind. Now going into summer there is more to do outside………. I just wonder how I ever had time to go to work!

        Sattelite is not cheap unless you have limited time which does not interest me!

        1. Yes, I know what you mean about wondering how you ever had time to go to work!
          I’m enjoying the slack as we are well into the dry season….but once the rains come it will be out in the garden again….

  14. Your posts are always such a delight, Helen. In this case I was confused about which event was the agricultural show – the one with the animals, or the one in the video clip. 🙂

  15. The agricultural show looked like great fun. Big or small – shows with people who care about animals and the animals they care about are always rewarding. It’s a pity the same can’t be said about elected officials and the people they are elected to serve, isn’t it? Hope you get your bridge somehow, despite the political time-wasters.

    1. I’ve always enjoyed the shows…as to the bridge, someone lost patience and ordered in a bulldozer yesterday, placing a four inch pipe to allow the water to pass and infilling with rocks from the river to make a causeway….fine until the first rains carry it away and it has ruined the stream and its surrounds…..let alone making eventual reconstruction that much more difficult….

  16. Odds bodkins, but I am no longer receiving email notifications of your new posts. *Scowl*. Found this one while catching up on my Reader, which I’ve only discovered in the last few months and been too busy to follow until now. I think the long-horned cattle are Ankole, an African breed. Gorgeous stallion!

    1. My various ‘readers’ have been playing up…and I can’t get through to some Blogger blogs at all…so double *Scowl*…..Thanks for the info re the long horned one….I’ll look it up.

  17. I’m out of pocket for 10 days and look what I miss!

    Your meeting reminds me of some school board meetings I have had the displeasure of attending. Just as ugly. The difference being, your elected officials won’t spend money they should and mine spend money that they don’t need to. Either way, most folks go away unhappy. At least you get a better performance. We just get smug, self-satisfied egomaniacs who see the school board as the first step in a career of padding their pockets at the public trough.

    1. Would you like to borrow some of our disgruntled locals to liven up the meetings? That is if the U.S.A. will grant them visas….

      We suspect that most councillors feel the same way about being on the council….a step to deeper troughs…

  18. The agricultural show reminds me of the first day of our local village festival where they go big on animals, primarily horses.

    The video is amazing. Interesting most of them didnt actually need the mike. (Or should that be a mic these days?) My Spanish is obviously crap, I made out noviembre and por favor!

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