I got those - can't get enough of those - CLA Game Fair blues. More on that later.
Another good year at the CLA Game Fair. I first went (professionally) for the Daily Mail Group to staff their fishing magazine Salmon & Trout, then for the years I worked for Shooting Times magazine and latterly for Sporting Shooter and Sporting Rifle. Now of course I'm there for Fieldsports Channel.
We made three films while we were at Belvoir Castle over the last three days. Game Fair Gadgets celebrates all those innovative products that standholders launch at the 'CLA' every year. Game Fair's Got Talent put the cameras on visitors to the fair and asked them, in 30 seconds, to put across to the viewing audience what makes their fieldsports special to them. And we filmed a Shooting Politics show in the Strutt & Parker 'Game Fair Theatre' at 6pm on the Saturday night. Thanks to all who came along and watched and to my panellists, William Worsley of the CLA, Peter Carr of Sporting Rifle, Tom Blades of BASC and Geoff Garrod of the NGO. You can watch the first two films in our launch programme, Fieldsports Britain, which goes out from www.fieldsportschannel.tv from 7pm on 12th August and Shooting Politics goes out from 19th August at 7pm. It's all free to view.
All my old friends from the shooting and fishing magazines were at the fair too. Great to see them. What's important about these country events is not who's there but who's not there. This year, hardly anyone was missing - and when I rang those few to check they all had valid excuses (roe rut etc). It was also wonderful to make new friends - many of whom you wll see on Fieldsports Channel over coming months.
So where does the blues come in? Well, what many people don't know is that several thousand people stay on the Game Fair site overnight, the bars stay open late and we all have a good time. Wes Stanton who publishes Sporting Rifle brought his double bass, I brought my ever-ready, ever-twangy banjo ukelele and together we toured the tents. Apologies to those we kept awake but thanks to all those who sang along in the British Deer Society tent and everyone in the Bettws Hall tent in the small hours of Saturday morning. What a great sound!
Finally, a quick note to say what good people country people are. OK - I was undoubtedly lucky - but I left the window of my car wide open in the car park for the three days of the CLA Game Fair. There was a laptop computer clearly visible on the back seat. I am typing this on that laptop now...