15 November 1996

DIARY OF A SHOW GOER

MONDAY

5am. An early start to allow plenty of time to get to the station. Picked up sandwiches from the fridge, fed dog and then spent a few minutes trying to remove dog hairs from new tweed trousers.

5.30am. Land Rover, shocked by such an early invasion, started on the first turn. Arrived at station with 10min to spare – time enough to remove even more dog hairs. Bit upset by the price of a ticket – last time I went on a train I had change from a 10 shilling note.

5.40am. On train and we are moving – bit too quickly to my mind. Opened sandwiches to discover wife had packed crusty bread which, with the grated cheese and sliced boiled egg, soon spread itself around the carriage.

9am. Its London and I need a taxi – havent a clue with underground trains. Earls Court appears on the left and I have arrived. Nipped round side to give trousers a brush down – egg, crumbs and dog hairs.

9.10am. So this is Smithfield – lights, carpets and machinery. Great! But what is that smell? Headed for the tractors – it would be nice to surprise the wife with a new tractor. All look a bit more sophisticated than the ones at home – and cleaner; but thats yard scraping for you.

10.30am. Still reeling from the price of those tractors. Itll be a year or two before we get anything like those – I reckon its the cabs which push the prices up.

11am. Stopped for bite to eat – two hot dogs with plenty of tomato sauce. If they had made the rolls bigger there just might have been a chance the sauce would have stayed next to the sausage. Used handkerchief to wipe sauce, bread crumbs, cheese and egg from trousers.

12am. Its getting busy and theres so much more to see. If only everyone went the same way. Tried stopping on the balcony to look at a new yard scraper but got pushed along to the tyres – where it seemed to be a lot quieter and I had something to lean on. What do they paint those tyres with? Now have two black chevrons on my jacket.

1pm. Must buy something for the wife. Found it in the form of a new broom – one with nylon bristles and sprung handle. Just the job and its actually on offer. Shell like that. Quite impressed with the range of cultivation tackle – Managed to rip trousers on plough share, but it didnt hurt.

2pm. Its time to think about home. But perhaps just a quick beer before I go. Trouble is, its such a crush at these bars and Im carrying this broom too. Managed to get a pint in my hand only to have it spilt all down my trousers. I blame the glasses. Also discovered zip had broken – how long has it been like that?

2.30pm. A taxi and Im away. Good bag of leaflets for the grand-children, a broom for the wife and some big ideas for the farm. Broke a shoe lace getting out of the taxi.

3.30pm. Train journey took for ever but finally arrived feeling a little jaded. Almost left broom behind but just managed to grab it as the train began to move. Left sleeve of jacket caught on door handle – but what does it matter?

6.40pm. Its been a good day. Land Rover took a bit of starting but fired into life after I tapped the battery connections. Spilt a little acid but I soon wiped that up with the tie.