Whether it’s your local county show or one of the national events, there is nothing like a day or two out at a show.
Whether you are showing stock or simply there as a visitor, they are a great chance to hear the latest news and views, see some great livestock or kit, and catch up with friends.
Regardless of why you are there, they are an experience like no other.
Here are 16 reasons why.
1. Parking problems
Of course, you can remember where you parked the car or truck. It’s obvious. Entrance C (or was it B?). Along that track then off to the left (or was it the right?) and the third (or was it the fourth?) row back. You were next to a 4×4 so it’s a good job there aren’t three dozen of them in the same field.
2. Dig deep
Grabbing a burger or a sandwich? There’s clearly been some mistake; surely, they have accidentally overcharged you. Oh no, £6 is the price.
3. Guilty conscience
You shouldn’t really even be there when the sun is shining and you should be at home harvesting/mowing
4. Showing success
Watching the show ring with bated breath as family or friend leads around the animal they’ve worked for months on to raise, break in and get into pristine condition for this one moment of glory.
5. Step ahead
The experienced plan their route around the showground with military precision, identifying stands of interest and organise a route to minimise covering the same ground twice. The less experienced zig-zag dozens of times and go in circles.
6. Take the weight off
That magic moment when, with aching legs, you find a seat to collapse into. You’ll need it a bit sooner every year.
7. Growing up
That moment of suddenly feeling like a grown-up the first year you look old enough for a rep to make a beeline for you, rather than ignore you as you gaze at the machinery (of course, the novelty of people trying to sell you things soon wears off).
8. Credit card
You’re not going to buy anything. You’re so not. But you have been meaning to get a new cartridge belt for ages. And a new fleece. And some garden furniture.
9. First freedoms
Finally, after all those years of having to trail round with mum and dad and stand around for hours while they talk to all their boring grown-up friends, they allow you to go around by yourself. They might even give you a bit of spending money, too.
10. Seeing red
Every time you get home, lobster-red and sunburnt, you vow to apply suntan lotion before you leave home next time. You never do…
11. Wet weather
The weather forecast might be predicting a heatwave. Ignore it. Take a coat and a brolly.
You’re hungry, thirsty and would kill for a glass of booze. Then you spot it. It’s like a mirage: a stand run by your land agent or accountant. They’ll be offering hospitality, surely? Maybe if you’ve got 1,500 acres, they might (otherwise, sorry, it’s back to point two).
13. Packing up
You’ve been anticipating visiting a particular stand for weeks as you desperately need to find out about their products. The only problem – you don’t make it there until the afternoon of the final day of the show and they’re already packing up, dismantling the stand and heading home.
14. Old friends
What a great opportunity to catch up with old friends who you’ve been looking forward to seeing for ages.
15. Old adversaries
The people you’ve been religiously avoiding for months, you’ll inevitably bump into them.
If only the prices of the grain and livestock you sell had been rising at the same rate as the cost of a ticket to the show…