Shows at heart of rural life
One of the great traditions of the British countryside is the local agricultural show.
We have missed these colourful spectacles this year, with their wonderful displays of livestock, modern and vintage machinery and traditional crafts, sideshows and funfairs.
Over the generations, the shows have offered a platform for competition, whether it be the best bull, the tastiest cake or chutney, the longest marrow or the most colourful chrysanthemum, or the dog with the waggiest tail.
The entertainment is sometimes local, sometimes national, and occasionally international, from marching bands, motorcycle formations, dramatic displays, and, of course, in Shropshire, the wonderful YFC floats – club members work long hours at night and weekends to create these amazing sights. The camaraderie created is never forgotten.
And the show planning creates a community spirit present throughout the year. Committees are formed, meetings are held – around the kitchen table, in the pub or the village hall, schedules for competitions drafted and printed, judges and stewards are appointed and sponsors sought, and the show field prepared.
This year several organisations have produced "virtual shows" so that we have not missed out completely.
Hopefully, next year, we will be back to the "real thing."
Sarah Norton is a retired rural dweller living near Shrewsbury
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