Sunday, 16 August 2009

Rosedale Show 2009

I love a country show, especially when it's the local one and it takes place in the field immediately to the back of our house and garden.

For the past week I've been able to watch progress as the marquees went up, the stalls selling everything from ice-cream to sheepskin rugs, garden benches, portable toilets and cowboy hats were towed in by a succession of vans, lorries and tractors. The morning of the show itself saw a steady stream of cattle-trucks, horseboxes and other assorted vehicles turning into the gate. By midday the lane resembled a busy day on the A1 with car after car making their way, nose to tail, up to the car-park, which for the rest of the year is usually filled with sheep or rooks.

The weather was typically English--fleeting bright sunshine, fluffy white clouds and a couple of hefty downpours which had everyone scuttling for cover, either in the marquees to inspect the cakes, eggs, prize parsnips and flower-arrangements or to grab a hot dog, coffee or tea and buns. There was a moment of high drama, too, when a particularly vicious gust of wind lifted the canvas roof off the beer tent. Fortunately, as far as I know, no-one was seriously hurt although a couple of cars suffered damaged when the improvised giant kite landed in the car park.

But in usual English fashion, a doctor was on hand and a bevy of helpers rushed in to sort everything out. Meanwhile, the show went on and ice-creams, plants, pottery, garden ornaments and farm cheeses were sold, assorted breeds of cattle, sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits, guinea-pigs and rabbits, were gazed upon and petted by assorted children. The dulcet tones of the Malton White Star Band, resplendent in their royal blue jackets, wafted over the grass and across the dale; the horses brushed and combed to glossy resplendence paraded and later jumped as the sun slid behind the hills and the owls began to call.

Townies may turn their noses up at such a sight but to me it represents everything that's good about the spirit of the English countryside. The show committee work their socks off for nothing putting up signs, directing traffic, selling tickets, dealing with lost children, car-keys and other minor headaches, organising the judging of everything from highland cattle to handwriting competitions for the children. And they're still there now as I type, clearing up the piles of litter (where does it all come from?), taking down fences and returning the field to its quiet self once more. (Until the football season begins again.)

I bought a load of plants which I later transferred to my garden. Meanwhile, the show continued behind me. It was a fabulous day, even thought the beer tent lost its roof, but none of its customers. Never let it be said that misfortune parts a Yorkshire man from his beer. In true Bulldog spirit, the looked up to the open sky, shrugged and carrying on shifting those pints.

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1 comment:

Jo said...

I love a good country show as well, Sally. Haven't been to one in ages. Another place to buy plants! I'm having a gardening phase. Haven't heard from you in age. Weird, as I dreamt about you last night. We were in Harrogate.