Friday, 20 August 2010

I will now ignore

the election as we vote tomorrow and nothing I say now is going to make any difference - if it ever did.
There is another (and much pleasanter) event coming up on the calendar. This is 'the Show'. Now 'the Show' is actually the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society Annual Show held at 'the Showgrounds'. I think I have mentioned this before.
I was sent an envelope the other day with a little badge that I have to wear to do my stewarding duties. I suppose they need to know I am one but the problem is that they sent one which says 'judge' and not 'steward'. Thankfully it does not have my name on it. I can be someone else, especially if people disagree with the decisions that are made.
I never thought I would be involved at all. As a child I went to the Show three times I think. My parents were not happy about taking four children. I suppose it was an expensive exercise even then. I can remember going with my youngest sister sitting in 'the pusher' and me sitting awkwardly on top of it. My brother would hold on with one hand and my father would carry my other sister on his shoulders. All this was necessary because of the potential for 'getting lost'. We never did get lost.
We would go to visit the cattle, the sheep, the pigs and the working dogs. My sisters always wanted to see the horses in action in the ring. We liked to see the real beehive (safely enclosed). Our treat for the day was a honey-flavoured icecream after we had eaten sandwiches and drunk home-made lemon cordial. We knew better than to ask for the pies, chips, sausage rolls, fairy-floss and bottles of Coca-cola being consumed by those around us.
We also knew better than to ask for a "Show Bag". There were a great variety of these things even then. They were relatively much cheaper than they are now and, I think, better value but my mother was adamant. Show Bags were a 'waste of money'. We were told before we set out for the day that we would not be permitted to have one but we would each be given a bag so that we could collect pamphlets and free samples of things like dried fruit and cereal. These were our 'show bags'. We were also permitted to spend that week's pocket money (less Sunday School collection) at the Show if we so wished - but not on a Show Bag or a coloured chicken which would grow into an ordinarily coloured hen - or perhaps rooster. My brother would spend his on a ride in the dodgem cars. My two sisters would use theirs on a ride on the merry-go-round with the horses. I never dared to try the dodgem cars and my first ever experience on a merry-go-round left me feeling dizzy and ill. I never wanted to go on again. I always wanted to try the big slippery slide but you had to be able to climb the steps and I could not do that so I never did it.
I would always end up 'saving' the money. It would be put into my money box when we arrived home.
But there was a magical year when my brother and I were given a Show Bag. My father cannot remember where they came from and we were too young to remember but we can remember the contents. They came from a company that produced peanut products. Inside there was a tiny glass jar of peanut 'paste' - now called 'butter', a tiny packet of salted peanuts, a tiny packet of sugared peanuts and some information about peanuts which included a little crossword puzzle which you could fill in with a pencil advertising the peanuts. There may have been something else. I cannot remember now. We thought all this was wonderful.
Yesterday my father was hunting for something in a drawer in the shed. At the very back of the drawer he came across a number of pencils. One of them was labelled with part of the logo from the peanut company. Was it one of our pencils? I do not know but it reminded us of the "best Show Bag" we ever had.


jtwebster books said...

A wonderful post that brought back many memories. Over here in NZ we have the A and P shows. Agricultural and Pastoral I think.
I remember the candy floss, kewpie dolls to be won at the side shows and long aisles of bulls in stalls. Oh and I still remember the smell!
Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

catdownunder said...

Oh, the smell! Thankyou for reminding me of that too!

Rachel Fenton said...

Hope the election doesn't prove too misery making!

I remember going to big shows in North Yorkshire and my gran buying me the best pedal pushers ever! Blueand white pinstriped. Loved them. And seeing my friends (they lived on a farm) with a load of their animals for show. Big tents and shire horses...