Back in the winter when planning our travel route and itinerary I did some research to see if we could pick up an agricultural show along the way. Luckily Suffolk County show coincided with our visit.
Taking advantage of the advance ticket sales we made our commitment whilst in Aldeburgh last Friday. At the weekend we talked to our CL hosts Trevor and Tricia as they prepared for the show. Trevor was transporting equipment to the showground and will be operating a traction engine and threshing machine. Their advice is “make sure you get there early”.
Early is a relative term. I take the dogs out at 7.00 am and Trevor has already departed. We have an ear to Radio Suffolk and they warn of heavy traffic, but by luck or good judgment we time it to perfection and have a straightforward journey.
This is the 183rd Suffolk Show and the programme promises plenty to see. Our first port of call is to see Trevor and Tricia and the threshing machine. As we arrive the belts are being attached and with careful adjustment Trevor soon has everything running. When in my late teens I used to take time off work to lend a hand to Jack Judd when Clifford Dibben and his threshing machine came around. This was usually during the winter but you were never cold. It was hard graft, working in two hourly stints with thirty minute breaks and you definitely needed the breaks.
Watching Trevor run this machine brings back memories, they are not feeding sheaves into the thresher, it is just a demonstration. Without the dust, noise and rats it looks an attractive place to work. Despite the detractions I always offered to help Jack the following year, mainly due to the engaging banter.
We wander in and out of the various livestock sheds, Crosby and Dexter are intrigued by the goats but not fussed by the pigs and sheep. They find the sight of bears tied up in stalls somewhat reassuring. The photo opportunities for Lynnie are endless, especially in the bear shed when we see the Dexter cows (it is from these that Dexter gets his name). Dexter’s are about half the size of a normal cow and though not exclusively black the majority are, they are known for their friendly nature.
We have an interesting chat to the guy who makes Norfolk Shepherd huts. They look well equipped, I am sure they are much better equipped than the one that my grandfather lived in for all those years. We visit trade stalls and food tents and stop off to watch the sheep shearing and the farriers shoeing horses. The shearing demonstration is entertaining and worth catching if at a show near you.
My favourites are the old tractors. There is an impressive collection of them. I spot a Fordson Major similar to the one that Jack used to have when I was a nipper, the first tractor I ever drove. I am treated by the owner to a detailed description of his tractor and the slight variations between models. This one has a metal knob on the gear stick but apparently later models were Bakelite. You live and learn.
We spend a full day at the show, travelling back Lyn suggests that I might want to take the dogs out for a walk. They have been walking all day and Dexter has his mind set on a relaxing kip!
Moving day tomorrow and rain is forecast for mid morning so another early start!
28th May 2014
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2014)