Country girl tries summer in the city

After the antibiotics for my tonsillitis had finally kicked in and I had regained the ability to speak, my first trip of this month was to the Great Yorkshire Show to work on the Sainsbury’s stand. I was anxious at first, but soon realised that everyone knew exactly what they were doing and were so friendly.

Having a stand is a great way for Sainsbury’s to highlight the commitments they make to producers and suppliers, as well as communicating key messages of quality, sustainability and high animal welfare standards to customers. It was really busy and there was something for everyone, from an interactive children’s farmyard to food samples.

It was strange not to be showing or judging cattle this year, but I was fortunate to be able to watch some of the judging and witness my friend Rob leading a heifer round in a fishnets and a tutu (he hadn’t taken to cross dressing, he was raising money for charity). The fact I was staying in a lovely hotel close to the show was another plus, and made a change from the usual tent or overcrowded room at a local Premier Inn.

And then it was time for the Royal Welsh. We set off with the faithful caravan, which at about 30 years old is definitely past her best. This didn’t stop us doing it properly this year; equipped with a generator, BBQ, gazebo, picnic tables, carpeted floor and, most importantly, a well-stocked bar to keep us going for the week.

The weather was not on our side, but just as we were ready to admit defeat the sun finally graced us with its presence.I managed to spread my time across a number of breeds including British Blues, Charolais, Blondes and commercials and it was great to be back in the showing ring.

The Young People’s Village also lived up to its usual expectations: Lots of mud, great music, no phone signal and heaving with young farmers who eventually drank the place dry of J├Ągermeister. We all had a fantastic week but we will definitely be in need of a caravan upgrade next year.

The early starts and late nights took their toll and I was glad to return home, albeit for a couple of nights. Before heading back to London I attended Ashley YFC’s Tarts and Vicars dance. My sister and I dressed as vicars, adapting our YFC Year Books to the “YFC Bible”. Six loads of washing later, I hopped on a train to London. To my surprise I returned to a lovely roast dinner cooked by the two boys in our flat and, something that came as an even greater surprise, they even washed up afterwards. I was overwhelmed at how domesticated they both were.

Now I am firmly back into the swing of London and office life, thoroughly enjoying my work and look forward to tacking the projects that I have been set. Out of the office, I have invested in a book called 100 Things To Do In London. Even though moving down here has made me realise how much of a country bumpkin I really am, I am aware that I need to make the most of it while I am here.

Fortunately, I have flatmates who know their way around the city, and so far I have been to Buckingham Palace, (unfortunately didn’t bump into Prince Harry), relaxed at a posh wine bar in Trafalgar Square, caught some rays in Hyde Park and explored the culture of Camden. Next on the “to do” list is a visit to Chinatown, a West End show and afternoon tea at The Ritz.

Getting around can be quite difficult, and my experience playing “How many Young Farmers can you fit in a calf hut” is definitely helping me cope with the Underground. Furthermore, I have never found it so hard to get my hands on a copy of Farmers Weekly. Perhaps they should consider selling it outside tube stations instead of handing me useless articles about chocolate-eating puffer fish.

19-year-old Harriet Wilson is studying for a BSc in Agri-food Marketing with Business Studies at Harper Adams. Back home she manages her own herd of British Blue cattle on the family’s 105ha (260-acre) farm in Haughton, Staffordshire and is currently on a summer work placement in the agriculture team at Sainsbury’s.

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