Monday, 1 August 2011

“Get three balls in a bucket and you get a Saint Bernard”

One of the many very strange cries to be heard at the Nairn Show on Saturday. Wife-features pointed out on our way home from the event what a weird concoction it is.

Well to do farming and gentry types in tweeds and jodhpurs, displays of cattle, pipe band parades, garish carnival stalls and prizes for artworks made entirely out of butter. Personally I think we should go the whole Lake Wobegon hog and create a Living Saltire. (If you’re not a fan of Garrison Keillor this will explain.)

I love the Show although it’s a shame it’s moved from the easy to walk to historic town centre farmers’ showfield to a massive field two miles out of town and off a busy trunk road. I wonder what the carbon footprint of the Show is these days because so many more people must drive to it.

There was a bus laid on but it was such a nice day we walked. Not the quietest of walks next to the A96 for most of the way but it got us some exercise and saved on petrol. We also saw horses and butterflies. Much more fun than listening to Spot the Dog stories over and over.

Toddler was mesmerised but terrified of the motorbike stuntmen in the main ring and she also developed a form of stage fright when she reached the top of a huge inflatable slide. For about fifteen minutes (I don’t think I’m exaggerating) Wife-features and I sat at the bottom beckoning her to come down, going so far as to promise an ice cream if she did so. She seemed quite content watching all the other kids having a go instead.

We bought some strawberries from a very lonely looking fruit stall. The poor chap was squashed between a fish and chip van and a burgers, chips and hotdogs stand. Both had queues miles long. It may be blisteringly hot but damn it we’re Scottish and we demand fried food.

We did buy hotdogs and I can only assume they were made from mechanically recovered portions of a Queen’s corgi as they were £3.60 a pop. Next year we’ll be taking a picnic.

We bumped into an old pal, the writer Jim Miller. I cheekily suggested amid the different displays in the main ring - along with the vintage tractor display, prizewinning animal display, sheepdog display, cheerleader display - they could have a vintage columnists display.

“And leading the parade is Jim Miller of the Inverness Courier. He seems to be muttering something about biodiversity in a Caithness accent. Give him a cheer! Oh and look, here comes grumpy Colin Campbell from the Highland News. Hold your nerve if he comes over to you - he can smell fear you know. And bringing up the rear it’s Iain Bain carrying a placard that says What do we want? A return to pre-1970s council administrative boundaries. When do we want it? Now although I won’t hold my breath.”

An interesting observation from the show - when TWMBO saw some horse poo I suggested horses should wear nappies and this was met with enthusiastic nodding.

Finally, our quest to see “the animals”. Blimey this was mind-bending. TWMBO kept asking to see animals. We went over to the cows. I don’t like the cows. OK. Here are some sheep. I don’t like sheep. OK. How about…

Just then we passed the chainsaw man and she yelped “animals!” Ah, carved animals. So there we have it. We traipsed several miles in sweltering weather to a major farm show with hundreds of ruminating beasts but our toddler’s day was made by seeing a small owl fashioned from a tree stump. What a hoot.

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