I don't know how we get ourselves embroiled in such activities, but Owen Barry seem to get invited to attend the most diverse of events.
This week, Countryfile the TV programme from BBC 1 on Sunday nights has been holding its second country fair in the grounds of Blenheim in Oxfordshire. With an array of BBC speakers, plus experts and displays the roadshow focus's on all things with rural or natural links. It just like Sundays nights on steroids.
Why were Owen Barry there ? Good question, have you ever heard of the UK Leather Federation ? No ? you are in good company - neither have very many other people.
The UKLF are a long established body, their work has been mainly based around the technical side of tanning leather and traditional leather manufacturing in the U.K.
Whilst the UKLF are great at supporting the UK globally in the field of all things leather tanning, from animal husbandry thru 'green' chemical usage, to effluent disposal, correct labelling and government/ European funding. They have been pretty lousy at telling the world what a fantastic green and worthwhile employer/contributor the leather industry is. But their low profile approach has started to change, they have decided it is necessary to spread the word and educate folk.
The UK leather industry gets a really unfair wrap from animal rights campaigners and the vegan population who somehow feel we are going our randomly and cruelly slaughtering livestock so that we can carry designer handbags, wear leather boots, have leather car interiors, make leather sports equipment.
Hmmmm NO, not the case, virtually zero animals are killed in the UK for their pelt, without exception, (unless they are very poorly, when no part would be used) they will all be killed in a careful & caring way primarily for their food value.
The skin, hooves, horns are all bi-products of the meat industry and are what is known as " The Fifth Quarter" - in butchery an animal is divided into quarters - the 2 fore quarters and the 2 hind quarters - leather etc. has always been called the 5th quarter because it is using up the left overs!!, and we need to educate people of that fact.
Anyway, in true Ronnie Corbett style I digress.
Why does that problem get Owen Barry to Blenheim ?
Well in an effort to raise awareness of the contribution the leather industry makes to animal economics, the UKLF were invited to exhibit their wares and engage with the public to educate them.
So here we are in Adams Farm, the area devoted to livestock , set between "Ladies who love Pigs" and the "Ladies who love Beef" !!
Seriously, I jest you not, Rick is positioned squarely between these two displays. kitchens set up to give out freebies demonstrating the undoubted delights of the British Meat industry (Lamb Ladies are just around the corner a bit!).
Milly, the young lady from UKLF is there, speaking in the ring, helping to educate people, showing other things that Owen Barry don't make, things like , heavier farriers aprons, ballet shoes, snooker cue tips, floor tiles, chamois leathers etc etc.
But as one of the leading, longest established and most diverse UK manufacturers, who is everyday still using leathers from all three meat areas Owen Barry were the key manufacturer invited to display their wares and educate the public.
So between the thunder and lightening, steak sandwiches, pork sausages, lamb kebabs, beef casserole (you get the picture ?) Rick has been flying the flag for the British Leather Industry and rubbing shoulders with John Craven et al.
However, I hate to break it to Rick, but despite his new friends, his picture of the deer in his back garden still isn't going to make the front cover of this years Countryfile Calendar........
Have a good one.