Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Town and Country Show

The August Bank Holiday weekend sees Stoneleigh host this show. We went along having been given a couple of complementary tickets to investigate the possibility of Liz's lot having a stand there next year. Actually it was her task to do the investigating; my role was to make sarcastic comments about the place as we wandered, a role to which I am well-suited.

I particularly enjoyed offering commentary on the motor-cycle display team without actually being able to see their display. I have seen several motor-cycle display teams in my life and there is, frankly, a limit to what you can get up to on a motor-bike. Criss-crossing? Check. Hoops of fire? Indeed. Standing on the saddle facing the wrong way? Almost certainly. Throwing a police dog from one moving bike to another? Don't be silly.

Particular marks to the caterers who managed to charge a minimum of £1.50 for throwing a tea bag in a polystyrene cup of almost hot water and telling us where the milk was. Cheese salad baguette. £4.

Two cash machines on the whole site. One broken.

Wonderful stand selling old framed pictures of Leamington for £8 each. Searched hard for one of our street but sadly, although there was one, it was mis-labelled and was of Clarendon Avenue not Leicester Street.

Nice stand selling see-through shoe-boxes made of recycled plastic. Would have bought some until I worked out Imelda and I would have had to pay £200 for 50 boxes.

Good to be at a show where people can take their dogs. Loads of well-behaved dogs. Many incredibly ugly. Seriously considering sponsoring a guide dog for £5 a month. Then we can own another gorgeous labrador vicariously without the rigmarole of having all our favourite possessions eaten too.

Unbelievably strange amount of mismatched couples. What do I mean? Well a woman with multi-facial piercings, a punkish T-shirt, wild hair and boots, arm in arm with a man in waxed jacket and brogues springs to mind. Or a huge, overweight skinhead with sleeveless England shirt barely covering his ample belly, holding hands with a petite woman in heels and wearing mainly pink. He has a Yorkshire Terrier on a lead.

During our two hours there it rained on us, winded us and the sun burnt us. Hail Warwickshire (we'll miss you a lot) and England.

Best bit? It's a toss up between the inter-counties, horseback relay races and the Sheep Show. Passing a baton to the next rider coming in the opposite direction, both going at full pelt, depositing it in a small pot and picking up another one without dismounting looked highly skilled. Making seven sheep dance to a variety of musical styles whilst standing on plynths on the back of a truck was hilarious. All improved by the host/compere's self-deprecation, 'My parents are so proud of me.'

Amazingly, for a show two miles out of Leamington on a Bank Holiday Monday, we saw no-one we know there. Next year gang. You need to go. There are monster trucks, well-kept old cars, parachuters, a beer tent, French Market, food hall with demonstrations and the best people-watching in the world. We may even come back for it.

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