Letter from the AMGK President

My Day at the AMGK Open Show 25th July 2022

It’s now been over a week since our first Open Show since 2019 and we have been flooded with complimentary messages from all over the country by members and visitors to the show (some not so complimentary, it has to be said, that centred on how we might change things for next time and what we got wrong). It is obvious that all those that attended this live show were so grateful to meet up again after so long apart, show their fish and partake in the auction of high-quality owner bred fish, either through selling of surplus stock or being able to purchase their ideal fish for their own collection and future breeding programme.

After months of preparation, following the difficult decision to even attempt to hold a live show by pre-empting the pathway of the COVID invasion, the committee and other volunteers had everything in place by the evening of the 24th July ready for the long journey to our busiest day of the AMGK fish calendar.

Rising at 4.30am to pack my car with 7 buckets of Bristol Shubunkins and Metallic Veiltails for the show and auction, black cloths for placement under the show tanks, items for the raffle and a host of other paraphernalia needed to set up the show, I was ready for the off at 6.00am. Incidentally, my fish selection had been made the day before, using empty plastic water lily baskets to place my pairs and single fish in overnight that were settled in my large 8’x2.5’ tanks in the fish house with water exchange system. All the fish were unharmed the following morning. (don’t ty this at home with Moors – last time I did this some of the fish had an obvious scale or two missing, so missed out on prize cards at their subsequent show!)

Most of the 70 miles or so to get to the venue went without incident until I hit the turn off onto the A45. Without prior warning, the road was completely cut off and diversion signs put into place. After a twelve-minute detour ending up at a T junction with diversion signs going to the left and to the right!! Luckily my portable Sat Nav decided I should go to the right and shortly after found my way to the venue, Tony, how was Solihull at that time of the morning? I was only beaten to the venue by Bill Buckseall who had arrived about an hour earlier with all the show tanks. Incidentally, Bill had cracked his spine in three places and taken off part of the top of his head not long before the show date, so it was a miracle that he made the show at all, let alone placed most of the tanks for the show in his vehicle!! Hope that the skin grafts go OK Bill and that you soon get back to a working state of health.

Others arrived shortly afterwards and with the show hall doors being opened shortly before 8.00am by Jerry, the Church Hall representative on the day, we all mucked in to put up the show in the main hall first, to a carefully worked out plan expertly prepared by Mick Smith and June Pons in the days before the big day.

Luckily, we had a good influx of volunteers before 9.00am to carry the tables from their store and unpack the 237 tanks required for the 211 entries (matched pairs being afforded 2 tanks each), all arranged, labelled and filled with treated water by 11.00am ready for the exhibiters to place their fish in their respective temporary homes.

 

Others set upon the task of setting up the auction tanks 57 tanks, that required labelling and given their appropriate bidding sheets to be filled in by each breeder and then placed on the wall for a silent bid. This method has been adopted three times by the AMGK in response to earlier crowding restrictions brought on by the COVID pandemic (and a lack of volunteers to man a more traditional auction) and to give buyers a more relaxed and contemplative chance to acquire the fish of their choice. There were teething problems with this method and apparently some hostility from some quarters. However, all the fish were sold, with good prices had and emails since received by members of the committee confirmed that many people were more than satisfied with the day’s events.

Judging got underway at 12.30pm, with seven judges and three trainee judges, with doors open to the public at 3.30. One of these days we’ll get the show open at 2.30pm. Some very nice fish were on show, yet again, with a good mix of top prize winners. (see photographs of all the class winners later in this report and portraits of the section best in show winners with their trophies. This was the first year that we substituted the actual trophies for framed photographs of each trophy winner to save hunting for missing trophies once again in future years!!

Without having a canteen manager for the show, a call out for a series of rotating volunteers to mad the refreshment counter was satisfied by a morning shift by Josh’s family and relief by Ian and Sue Brailey, not forgetting Jackie Pedley’s amazing effort on the day before preparing all the rolls. My thanks to you all.

We welcomed many new members on their first visit to our show with a number joining our society on the day, hope that you all enjoyed your time with us and continue to benefit from your membership in the years ahead.

The volunteers that stayed behind to take down the show and pack everything away by the allotted time of 6.00pm were fantastic as usual, with many more undertaking this usually thankless task than in previous years –  greatly helped by Grahame Draper’s super vacuum pump that emptied the tanks in record time without enduring the usual risk of carrying water filled tanks to an outside drain. None of us are getting any younger!

The last of us were back on the road by 6.30pm and after a short stop over in a nearby pub for the first meal of the day back home by 8.30pm – straight into a warm bath to ease the usual back pain from such events after putting show fish back into quarantine tanks in the fish house. Woke up 2 hours later surrounded by cold water and went to bed, obviously too old for this caper these days!!! But a satisfying and productive day all the same.

I’m glad we made it after so long an absence due to the pandemic and hope to do it all again in 2023, In the meantime good fishkeeping and maybe see you all again at the next show in Bristol (Sunday 4th September 2022).

Pat Davies, President, AMGK

Others set upon the task of setting up the auction tanks 57 tanks, that required labelling and given their appropriate bidding sheets to be filled in by each breeder and then placed on the wall for a silent bid. This method has been adopted three times by the AMGK in response to earlier crowding restrictions brought on by the COVID pandemic (and a lack of volunteers to man a more traditional auction) and to give buyers a more relaxed and contemplative chance to acquire the fish of their choice. There were teething problems with this method and apparently some hostility from some quarters. However, all the fish were sold, with good prices had and emails since received by members of the committee confirmed that many people were more than satisfied with the day’s events.

Judging got underway at 12.30pm, with seven judges and three trainee judges, with doors open to the public at 3.30. One of these days we’ll get the show open at 2.30pm. Some very nice fish were on show, yet again, with a good mix of top prize winners. (see photographs of all the class winners later in this report and portraits of the section best in show winners with their trophies. This was the first year that we substituted the actual trophies for framed photographs of each trophy winner to save hunting for missing trophies once again in future years!!

Without having a canteen manager for the show, a call out for a series of rotating volunteers to mad the refreshment counter was satisfied by a morning shift by Josh’s family and relief by Ian and Sue Brailey, not forgetting Jackie Pedley’s amazing effort on the day before preparing all the rolls. My thanks to you all.

We welcomed many new members on their first visit to our show with a number joining our society on the day, hope that you all enjoyed your time with us and continue to benefit from your membership in the years ahead.

The volunteers that stayed behind to take down the show and pack everything away by the allotted time of 6.00pm were fantastic as usual, with many more undertaking this usually thankless task than in previous years –  greatly helped by Grahame Draper’s super vacuum pump that emptied the tanks in record time without enduring the usual risk of carrying water filled tanks to an outside drain. None of us are getting any younger!

The last of us were back on the road by 6.30pm and after a short stop over in a nearby pub for the first meal of the day back home by 8.30pm – straight into a warm bath to ease the usual back pain from such events after putting show fish back into quarantine tanks in the fish house. Woke up 2 hours later surrounded by cold water and went to bed, obviously too old for this caper these days!!! But a satisfying and productive day all the same.

I’m glad we made it after so long an absence due to the pandemic and hope to do it all again in 2023, In the meantime good fishkeeping and maybe see you all again at the next show in Bristol (Sunday 4th September 2022).

Pat Davies, President, AMGK