Monday, 14 May 2007

It's show time!

Summertime is showtime. It's when farmers decide they can take the odd day off here and there and meet their mates in beer tents, get hustled and hassled by men in suits selling big tractors, and poke at the premium livestock on display. That latter grouping includes the sleek human showjumping and dressage fraternity as well as the eyewateringly endowed bulls, boars and billies. The choice of agricultural shows in the South West is enough to keep you in holiday mood and off the farm for months. This week it's the Devon County, next month the Royal Cornwall and the Woodfair. Then there are all the smaller shows such as the almost identical in content Okehampton and Chagford shows just one week apart; the only difference between these two is the probable wealth in the pockets of the punters. Then there are events with heavy horses, the plot to plate specials, the specialist poultry dos and posh food fairs. Everywhere Barbours, flat caps, leather cowboy hats, and dogs, dogs, dogs. It's when I get to admire the goats, pigs and sheep (and make a note of the contact details of the breeders); stare in wonder at the mighty cows (and put my pen away); slide my hand over impressively shiny and strange machinery that I don't understand. Services and goodies you can't unearth in yellow pages helpfully reveal themselves and you come away with armfuls of info that you stuff in a folder that can never be found when you need it. Raspberry vinegar and local cheeses fill your bag. You pat the donkeys and have a little yearn for one of your own. Peter Purves soundalikes (or perhaps it's the real thing) commentate boozily over the tannoy. You sneer at the cider samples (homemade is better) and riffle through the antiquarian books, giggling at gems suggesting decidedly poisonous ways of treating your best mare or gun dog. There will be a falconry display. Ditto dancing diggers and sheepdogs putting runner ducks in a pen. Bring it on.

9 comments:

mutterings and meanderings said...

Ah, heaven!

mountainear said...

Had a feeling that there wasn't anything major happening on the farm (no lambing, calving, silage, harvest....) when some fence repair work was going on up the road today. Usually a bit of whatever's handy gets stuffed in the gap.

We're off to the smallholders show at Builth Wells this weekend - and I know we'll come away with more ideas and lighter pockets.

Drunk Mummy said...

Do the local Women's Institutes still have stalls at these shows or are they all too busy posing for lad's mags and rude calendars these days?

Eurodog said...

You forget the Women's Institute tent with home made jams and cakes with these lovely well spoken ladies in flowery dresses.
And the little boys dressed like their fathers with flat caps and tweed jackets showing their calves or sheep.
I often go to the Okehampton Fair.

rilly super said...

We always take Milly and Tilly over to the horse trials in Cumbria that Prince Philip enters mopsa, on the offchance that he brings his grandsons along in the hope of pairing them off more with someone who's mother doesn't go to work dressed like a memnber of Scooch.

beta mum said...

I've been to the Devon County Show for work (when working for Radio Devon) but it's not cheap if you have to pay to get in.
Fun to see all the animals though, and some great food.
I think I prefer the smaller ones -cosier and more like the Parish Fetes in Jersey when I was a kid.

muddyboots said...

yorkshire show doesn't allow dogs, so no need to keep looking at the ground as you walk just a case of watching for cowpats in the cattle lines. the show is suppported by strange farmers from the hills coming down for their annual shopping trip to replenish socks worn out during the past year.
oh, l enjoyed your blog vy the way!

Mopsa said...

Heaven indeed M&M - am heading for Devon show on Friday with a light heart.
Have fun at Builth mountaineer - it's a majestic site and for folks with an Ifor Williams trailer almost impossible to remember where you are parked - everyone has one!
DM - the WI are normally out in strength in the SW - yummy cakes (altho I must look and not touch).
See you at Okey Eurodog. I'll be the one with one or two Bernese carting me along.
Good luck with the royal matchmaking Rilly, altho I bet they could do a LOT better for themselves.
BM - no, the shows aren't cheap - £14.50 for Devon show I think this year but compared with most organised "leisure" days out a bargain.
Muddyboots - welcome and you make ice cream! How lush is that? I find the shows pretty free of dog pats - responsible owners on the whole and lots of bins (necessary but utterly yuck).

The Secretary said...

Sounds absolute bliss.

Us 'townies' have to settle for
the once a month farmers market, and even then I suspect that most of the produce came from the local tescos and not the farm which they claim.

I think I could live in the country.