By Veronica

Cock a doodle

S had a plan to go to the big agricultural show in Saint Gaudens this weekend, and on a last-minute whim I decided to go with him, since it was lovely weather and it sounded like a good blipportunity.

The show is absolutely massive, and is largely based around pedigree cattle. Because the Salon d'Agriculture in Paris didn't happen, for the usual reason, they were holding national championships for Gasconnes and Blonde d'Aquitaine, so two huge marquees held hundreds of the best cows, calves, and bulls in the country. Then there was a small "pastoralism" zone for traditional breeds of sheep, cows, and horses, and a tent full of rabbits and  farmyard birds -- I have to say these were my favourites photography-wise, although it was quite dark in there. Apart from that, the usual zone of massive farm machinery, a beer tent, and lots of stands selling local produce and sit-down three-course lunches.

S's photographer friend Martin had an on-site exhibition on the theme of pastoralism, i.e. photos of cows, sheep, and shepherds. We missed the official inauguration, but caught up with him near the beer tent, where S and I had Pyrenean hamburgers and we all had a couple of glasses of beer. While we did this S spotted Pyrenean entrepreneur Philippe Lacube (in fact it was his beef we were eating) so he popped over for a chat and to give him a copy of his book.

Once we left Martin we ambled round the food stands and found our local sheep's milk ice cream producers, a welcome surprise given how hot it was. Then S went to a talk by Philippe about how to best exploit the CAP, and I lounged under a tree, tired of walking by then.

And finally we went to the competition tent to view champion cows, stroppy bulls, and sleepy calves. Then off to our hotel in St Gaudens. Which turns out to be a place that's even duller than St Girons on a Friday evening. We did find a place to eat, and shared a fairly indifferent salad and buckwheat pancake, which with a carafe of wine and coffee came to 40 euros. Our hopes of a nightcap on the way back were frustrated by the dark, empty streets with the few bars all closed.

There's a small album of photos, featuring some pigeons with feather boas.

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