United Kingdom · 5 Days · 10 Moments · August 2017

Frederick and Isabel at Countryfile Live!

6 August 2017

One of the activities that was on in the 'National Trust Acre' was to make a felt butterflies in an area called 'The Fold'. The first step was to take wool from a sheep and pull it apart (tease it). Then we had to put the wall on special brushes to make the wool all go in one direction (a process known as carding). Then we added in some coloured wool into our natural wool. Then we had to felt the wool by turning it in our hands with soapy water to make the body of the butterflies. For the wings we used pre-made coloured felt which we cut in the shape of wings and then we coloured parts with oil pastels to try to match one of the pictures of real butterflies pictured in an identification guide. Then we sewed the body to the wings with cotton thread and then had the option to hang it on a stick so it looks like it is flying.
Day 4 already, our final day at the show! We started the day with breakfast (fried eggs for Isabel!) and packed down everything at the camp site. When we arrived we made the most of things, seeing speed carving with chainsaws, and talks by Mike Dilger (wildlife presenter, often on The One Show), Naomi Wilkinson (children's wildlife presenter) and Simon King (yes again, but a different talk!) We also had another look around the vast 'National Trust Acre', seeing a 'woodland bodger' working greenwood, and we had a go at wool felting again (see separate article on this). We also finished our souvenir shopping, including for one of Frederick's favourite cheeses! Lunch today was duck/ bacon burgers and chips!

5 August 2017

For lunch today we had lovely wood fired pizza! Dinner was even more exciting, as Isabel had bought a gas camp stove from Blacks at the show, so Frederick cooked for Isabel and Graham back at the camp site (burgers and eggs!).
Day 3 meant an early start for us as we joined Radio 4 for a recording of Saturday Live in the Big Barn venue within the site. We had beautiful views on the walk in from the camp site. For the recording we needed early access before the show opened, so we were excited to receive bright pink exhibitor wristbands for this involvement! We enjoyed the show (which featured Countryfile presenter John Craven as a guest), and it is always interesting to see the BBC team broadcasting live! We then saw some great talks by Simon King (wildlife presenter) Ray Mears (survival expert and presenter) and Matthew Oates (butterfly expert). After his talk, we met Simon King, and Frederick bought his book and got it signed. We saw a great falconry display in the Central Ring and had a little look around the National Trust area, including a relaxing 10 minutes listening to a South Downs soundscape recording through headphones in an area created with a 'dew pond' and wild flowers to recreate the habitat.

4 August 2017

Day 2 brought another day of excitement and mixed weather! This time it was just Isabel and Frederick exploring! We visited many, many stalls, with some of our favourites being the outdoor shops with waterproof bags and those of the many different nature organisations. Isabel may have bought a few bags! We also enjoyed a short off road tour with Mitsubishi, where one of their representatives drove us around a specially designed course to show the vehicle's capabilities in rough terrain! We also saw a talk with the RSPB and Bumblebee Conservation Trust concerning the plight of our wildlife, and bumble bees in particular. For lunch we enjoyed a Devon ruby steak burger (Frederick) and lamb burger (Isabel). Isabel also got free soup samples from New Covent Garden and free crisps from Sunbites! We both had Nutella crepes for dessert. We also visited Shire Horse Village and saw children racing Shetland ponies in the equine ring. Afterwards we met Graham for dinner at Wetherspoon in Cowley.

3 August 2017

When we got back to the tent we had halloumi and burgers on a barbecue, expertly cooked by Frederick even in strong wind and light rain!
We saw lots of talks and events in the National Trust Theatre, including the introduction by Dame Helen Ghosh (Director General of the National Trust), An Audience With Michaela Stachan (wildlife presenter), a debate about fracking and even a classical music concert! We also saw lots of interesting stalls, tractors, and even went boating in canoes and coracles that we paddled ourselves! We also saw lots of farm animals at Adam's Farm and all of the presenters on the main stage doing the 'Who's a Countryfile Whizz Quiz?' It was a very busy day! Lunch was at a lighthouse-themed fish and chip shop, and we ate this whilst watching new young artists sing on the 'BBC Introducing...' stage.
Today was our first day at Countryfile Live! We caught the special shuttle bus from the campsite, giving us lovely views of Blenheim Palace.

2 August 2017

We are staying at a temporary campsite on the Blenheim Palace estate, run by the Caravan and Camping Club. We were right next to a field of sheep, but luckily not too close to the (very nice) temporary toilet facilities. After we checked in we set up our tents, unfortunately in the rain! By the time we had finished it was dark and quite late, so we went to bed!
Our journey to Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace began with a tube journey from Morden to Hillingdon. At Hillingdon our friend Graham collected us (and all our camping stuff) and drove us to our camp site via Sainsbury's and Burger King!