Thursday, 3 June 2010


When I was a child I lived within half a mile of the showground in Harrogate where they held the annual Great Yorkshire Show. This three day show was THE big event in the local calendar and one of the largest agricultural shows in the country. The traffic on those days was choatic but at least we could walk to the show. Probably the last show I went to was in the late 1960's.

Here in Suffolk, the county agricultural show is instead rather aptly named the Suffolk Show. This year we decided to buy tickets in advance and attend the show. I always hate buying tickets in advance given the unreliableness of the British climate but we took the gamble. In fact both yesterday and today we've had glorious weather - not a cloud in the sky - so our gamble has paid off.

We planned to get there mid-morning but the traffic queues were horrendous so took off down to Felixstowe for an hour, ate an early sandwich lunch watching the container ships at Felixstowe Dock and were then able to drive straight into the show without any congestion. Initially the place seemed heaving with people and as we passed countless trade stands, most of which Troy Junior wanted to look at, I was beginning to regret renewing my experience of agricultural shows. It wasn't as if I was in the market for a tractor or a combined harvester. The show site is vast but after an extensive walkabout we sat down near one of the show rings. Bowler hatted gentlemen in pinstriped suits were setting out a table of trophies.

A uniquely British scene!
The first event we witnessed was heavy horses pulling gleaming carts at speed through gaps only one foot wider than their wheelbase (the carts' not the horses' of course).
Here's one of the horses with its cart.

It was an impressive sight seeing these big beasts being steered on the gallop between such narrow gaps. If the obstacles were hit then the tennis balls balanced on them would fall off. It didn't happen very often, mostly they cleared with inches to spare.

The trophies shown in the first picture on this posting were for all the various class winning animals. There was a particularly impressive bull, being lead by a small young lady. Even the commentator in the ring marvelled at how she was able to control the animal. Mind you, if she hadn't, I suspect you would have already heard about it on the national news rather than seeing it first on my blog.

A part of that bull quite impressed Troy Junior. (Well I guess that's why he said "look at its balls" in a loud voice).
As well as Mr Bull, Mrs Cow and child, also won trophies. Mrs Troy was impressed with how clean they were.

Moving on to another show ring we were treated to some horse jumping. It was the first time that Mrs Troy had seen live show jumping and she was amazed at the height of the jumps. I stationed myself next to the last jump to get a photograph but most of the horses had faults (a technical term meaning they knocked off a rail) and retired before reaching the last jump. So I was lucky to get this photo before Troy Junior wanted to move on.

Finally to complete the photos from the day here are some horses and hounds pretending to be hunting a fox.

All in all, a very enjoyable day out. I left the show thinking that I mustn't leave it another 40+ years before visiting my next one.


Ladybird World Mother said...

We used to go to the Suffolk Show when we lived there... loved it. And your pics show it at its best... sun, bowler hats and animals galore. With enormous balls. Marvellous. Glad you had fun. xx

DJ Kirkby said...

Wow the whole show looks very impressive and something that I would enjoy a lot.

Lane Mathias said...

I've never been but it certainly looks very impressive. You had good weather for it too - compared to this weekend:-)

Great photos. Love the horses.

Anonymous said...

Shame they weren't actually hunting a fox, little sods keep killing my hens!

Show sounds great, we have a couple of ones similar up here but aren't usually quite so lucky with weather.

CJ xx

Troy said...

LWM - hope it brought back some good memories.

DJ - is there nothing like it in your neck of the woods?

Lane - perhaps I've inspired you to go next year (when it may pour down with rain).

CJ - I thought they had all been chased into the towns.

Suzanne Ross Jones said...

Nothing nicer than an agricultural show on a sunny day. It's usually raining for our local ones, so we've been giving them a miss.