Oh, what a Show

OK – it’s tenuous… but any excuse for a bit of Mr Essex, eh? And it’s a great song, with a great lyric.

It’s SHOW Day.

You may be forgiven for failing to notice that today is the highlight of my year. LOL.  It is my Christmas and my birthday and all good stuff rolled into one. I love an Agricultural Show at any time, but the Sanday Show is a perfect little gem. To me, at least. I find it difficult to express just why I love it so much. I am not even sure that I understand it myself. I mean, it’s a pale shadow of The Great Yorkshire, when all is said and done 🙂

But love it, I do. I enjoy seeing the community come together in this way. It is timeless. The day is (normally) very good humoured and characterised by smiling faces. This does not mean that competition is not keen. The various classes are keenly contested.

Perhaps one of the reasons that I like this show so much is that it is so contained. It is bijou. All the entries are so small that no one class drags on and on. No matter how foul the weather, everything seems to run to time – the marshalling is first class. It is perfectly possible to see everything that is going on and miss nothing.

My great treat of the day  is doing a bit of stock judging myself. I enjoy hanging out at the judging ring, eyeing up the stock and picking my winner and being delighted when I get it right. I’m good with the bovines, and have a reasonable eye for horseflesh, but my sheep assessment skills leave room for improvement. I’m getting on a bit now, but I would still love to attend a course in stock judging.

I blame all this on my first Show experience. It was in Wokingham. I was 12. I took “my” heifer, Rainbow, to Show. She was my pet favourite from the herd of Guernsey milkers on the estate where I lived. I prepared  her, and I donned a white coat and wellies and led her around the ring… and I came home with a red rosette.

What a day that was –  up at 4am, showing the cattle in a humongous thunderstorm, and arriving home at 6pm to find a whole herd in need of hand-milking due to the consequent power failure.

I have loved a Show ever since.

Last year was blighted. I thought that this year would be too. I certainly found enthusiasm hard to come by when I thought of preparing various entries. Hence, nothing got done. So I was delighted to find that I was sleepless last night, with that buzz of excitement. It has not been knocked out of me. I am looking forward to the point in the day when we can go and play. Unfortunately Mr L has only a half day’s leave this year.

The weather is not so good. It is not so very bad either. Five days ago when I checked the forecast it appeared that we would have a fair day today. As the week wore on, the forecast became ever worse, until last night it gave us 60% chance of precipitation for the Champion judging, which is my  highlight of the day.

This morning the forecast has improved in some ways – we have less  possibility of sun forecast, and a load more mist but, more importantly, far less chance of rain.

One of the main joys of the Show for me is the endless photo opportunity. I shall miss the sun.

We shall be walking up and back today, as the car is still off the road. Yesterday’s fog grounded the ‘plane and thus the post did not come in. Hence, no parts for the car. It looks as though the story will be repeated today.

Communications suffer badly in fog up here. We have Broadband issues at the moment. Believe it or not, atmospheric conditions are being blamed today for disrupting the radio link.

I read Kate Davies yesterday and found myself wanting to respond to her. I was feeling pretty needled myself. These communications issues that we are experiencing are fuelling that feeling. I find it just a wee bit arrogant of a central belt dweller, one with sufficient cash or sponsorship, to board a plane at will and head for Shetland, to declare the islands “not remote.” I need to sleep on it and not come  up with a knee-jerk reaction but something is fermenting… She has valid points, of course, but just because she finds it easy to get up to Shetland does not mean  that they, or we, are not remotely located. Kate has clearly never tried to get a small and simple eBay purchase delivered to an island location. I have. It can cost a King’s Ransom. Remoteness surely is defined by challenge in travel, communications and daily activity. Compare Kate’s comments with island-dweller Liz Lovick’s recent post on shopping for food! or Dave Wheeler‘s (Dawadderman on Twitter and FB) frequent Winter posts from Fair Isle (part of Shetland, remember) detailing just how many days between planes or Good Shepherd sailings, and how often they need an air drop of bread and milk.

Wow – I really have digressed, haven’t I? Sorry.

Dogs need feeding and I have to pack a rucksack for the walk up to the Show later. Must crack on.

One Response to “Oh, what a Show”

  1. Katie 3rd August 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    I can see both sides of it, partly beacuse in a way I moved from a city to the middle of no-where.
    People look at me very oddly when I say our nearest big supermarket is over 30 miles away. When I mention not leaving our house and garden for over a week they think I’m rather odd!

    However, I have the comfort that I can get in the car, drive for an hour, and be in a sizeable town, but it still requires a different way of thinking about life. I can thoroughly see how island living is even more demanding, and I don’t see how saying that the islands are remote is a bad thing, to me remoteness is something to be treasured.
    Anyway, I’m rambling…

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