Friday, 14 August 2009
No business like show business
Locals among you will know it was one of the highlights of our year in the Somerfords last Saturday, and I'm sorry I haven't got round to reporting back before now, but I've been – well, rather busy, one way and another.
It had been raining just about continuously for the three weeks before, and Emma, the Horse & Pony Secretary's, phone was hot from people ringing in from Hampshire, Herefordshire and Hertfordshire to find out whether it was still going to be on.
"Of course it'll still be on," she told them all blithely. "Well, you know that field..." It's true, there's something a bit magic about the Show Field. It can be bucketing down with rain for weeks, but somehow the water just drains away.
"It's always nice for the Show," said Debbie in the shop (mind you, I thought to myself, it wasn't last year...)
Anyway, it turned out that neither Emma's nor Debbie's unbridled optimism was misplaced, for Saturday morning dawned clear and bright and, apart from a bit of a puddle near the gate where the horseboxes had been coming and going since the crack of dawn, all was dry and the going, as racing people say, could not have been better.
Entries for the Industrial and Horticultural sections started arriving long before eight, and there was hot competition, particularly in the Men Only Sponge Cake class – I don't think I've ever seen such a large collection of Victoria Sandwiches in one place – big ones, small ones, supremely airy ones, ones with generously jammy fillings – and I'm beginning to wonder whether there aren't rather a lot of men about with perhaps a bit too much time on their hands. Either that, or a few with a very strong will to win...
John was looking confident as he arrived with his giant marrows, which had just been modest courgettes before he went away on holiday – it's amazing what three weeks of rain can do – clouds and silver linings and all that.
Onions were arranged, beans were assembled, jams, pickles, flower arrangements and pasta pictures were all brought along to impress the judges....
The little funfair was set up and before long sausages were sizzling and pink clouds of candy floss was being whirled round sticks sending sticky, sweet, savoury smells mingling with a top note of diesel as the dodgems were cranked up.
The door of the Horticultural tent was zipped firmly shut and everything went very quiet while the judges perused, deliberated, measured and compared – for what seemed like hours. And then, and then... Finally, the door was unzipped again and the crowds surged in to find out who had won the perpetual cup (Ross, as it turned out, and well-deserved, too), whose jams had passed muster and of course who had managed to produce the biggest marrow...
So much jam and so little time...
...and some very confused alpacas.
And, of course, I can't not mention the dog show (in which, yet again, there was a terrible travesty of justice in the Dog With the Waggiest Tail class, but I'll try my best to rise above it...) Best In Show was a very smart Grand Vendeen Griffon all the way from Oxford, and there was a well-deserved third in Most Appealing Eyes (well, if I'd have had two, it would obviously been a first...)