Wednesday, 31 August 2011

A Cracking Day At The Agricultural Fair: Doggy Bags And A Thirtysomething Hyacinth Bucket

I love the local agricultural shows. Health and Safety, Defra and modern day local thinking with a wide spectrum of personal viewss of how such a show should be run, have tried hard to close it down.

But it has survived. Not perhaps in the shape or form of its glory days when everybody but everybody who lived within a ten mile radius would be there. They would come to see the main spectacle of the parade of champions - a variety of cows, horses and every other sort of animal. This, of course, since Foot and Mouth disease, has ceased.

It is a great tribute to the organisers that these shows are still going, be they in slimmed down form.

The animals may be fewer. But they are still there. Mainly in some sort of plastic or synthetic fur on some of the sideshows. The Hook A Duck stall, the various other charity stalls were crammed with cuddly toys. If other parents are like myself, they will have a house crammed full of furry animals.

But there were a large amount of dogs on leads. Some on their way to the dog show. Most on the arm of their owners, who were either enjoying the day out or refusing to pay the fees for a dogsitter. There was every breed, evrery nature - aggressive - fighting - gentle - kind. Multiple bottom sniffing, barking and the occasional growl and snarl resonated around the showground.

My own Patterdale/Lakeland Cross 7 month old terrier puppy, Cedric disgraced himself. In the middle of the arena, he decided to try and do his business. He assumed the position and I dragged him as fast as I could towards the hedgerow. But too late. He must have dropped a couple of items as we headed towards the bushes. Before I knew it, my path was barred by a young-ish lady in an astroturf green and flowing dress.

'Do you have a doggy bag?' she demanded in brusque Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet) tones.

'Er, no..' I said, feeling a little unsure about this overwhelming presence of do-gooding modern motherhood, standing in my way.

'Thought not,' and she thrust a handful of miniature black bin liners into my hands. She then grabbed me by the arm and led me over to where Cedric had let the smallest of pellets drop.

'Yes...I think there is one here... and one over there.'

She was quite right to point out Cedric's misdemeanour. And I had no problem in picking up the mess - I always do. It was just the domineering way she did it - as her self-importance got the better of her. It is something I find I see more and more of - modern day Leninism - where there is someone hiding behind a lamppost, ready to jump out and tell someone what or what not to do. Usually they say...

'You can't do that. It is inappropriate behaviour.'

Then again - it must be a generational thing. I tugged my cap down over my forehead and decided the appropriate thing to do was head off to see the Dancing Sheep display. They would be less critical.

On the way I stopped at the Cumbrian Wrestling arena. To men, stripped to the waste were grappling each other, their legs intertwined. As they fell to the ground, there was a sound like a rifle shot being discharged. One of the contestants had broken a bone in his leg or ankle. It was a good thing for the show as it provided the best attraction of the day as the Air Ambulance circled several times over the showground, searching for a place to land.

It was free and as one farmer said as we left, ' a cracking day was had by all.

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