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Afternoon in Udderland

Posted by Deborah Courtnell
 Afternoon in Udderland

All together now
I've never seen this before
Sometimes, to take your mind off things,  you have to get up in the morning and get the hell out of Dodge: feast your eyes on something new, something you've never seen before.
     So...last Saturday, the day after the day before which was the day we had our beloved Boxer put to sleep.. Shedley took me to the Romsey Show, an outing which I now think of, fondly as, 'Our Afternoon in Udder-land.




     I'd never been to an agricultural show before and, as a half-hearted and unconvinced listener to The Archers on Radio 4, I had wondered from time to time what does go down at such shows? Would there be bonfires and the burning of wicker men? Would there be the selling of wives, Casterbridge Style? Ancient rites involving goats and cider and lichen?  Would there, heaven forfend,  be Morris Dancing?


      Romsey is some eleven miles South of Stockbridge. Ye olde locals make a very big deal of pronouncing it Rumsey as a way of discerning between kosher rural types and us incomers or worse, townies, or - spawn of Satan - city dwellers. Or, as  I heard one man remark to his wife, 'The un-country!' Which, if you're into tractors with outsized wheels, and you think Big Ben is a type of burger, is probably the equivalent of the un-dead.

  As market towns go, Romsey is small and very pretty, boasting some fine 18th Century houses, an Abbey which dates back to the 12th Century, a train station with national rail links and Broadlands, the 5,00 acre estate and 60-room, Grade 1 listed, Palladian Mansion, set in rolling parkland which was designed by Capability Brown and formed a stunning backdrop to Saturday's Romsey Show

     Broadlands is home to the Mountbatten family. Both Lord Louis Mountbatten of Burma and The Hon. Leonora Knatchbull, who died aged five of leukaemia, are buried on the estate which is currently being run by Leonora's mother, Lady Brabourne.

     Despite several queues on foot and in the car, the swingeing £16 adult entry fee, a chill breeze and the threat of rain, our spirits were high on entering and Shedley quickly sealed the deal by buying a £6.50 'Big-foot' namely an overpriced sausage in  bun.

     It was in the queue for the tickets by the way, that I heard the man behind me remark to his wife, in a pleasant Hampshire burr, that, 'you can tell the Un-country types by their clean wellies!'


     As it happens my wellies are very muddy but I was in my trainers so, hey...

     Then suddenly, we were in Udder-land and lo! t'was a marvel to behold: udders to the left and udders to the right and startling vistas of the burly chassis of several bulls -gosh but they are well formed those beasts - the ubiquitous acres of tat for sale, much swilling of cold beer and hot tea and evidence of Rural Japes in the shape of bouncy castles, tea dancing and gymkhanas.

     Best of all though were the animals which were on display from Bombay Runner ducks being rounded up by a collie, to stalls filled with Alpaca, buffalo and countless varieties of cattle -  all of them magnificent to my eyes - plus sheep,  pigs and rare breed chickens and bantams (none of which was as lovely as our own dear flock back home).

     No-one as far as I could see, was either sold or immolated. And no animals were harmed on the day, though a great deal of meat was consumed. 

     I bought a cactus. And I learned that cows like having their under parts stroked by stick-wielding men in white coats. it takes their mind off things I guess.

     .....Came home a lot less un-country than when I set out...
21.09.2013

Here They Come....

Cows the size of sofas

The bigger Charolais won

He's not too happy

Crufts for cattle

Beautiful boy

All together now
1204 - The Winning Charolais in this class


Play nicely Horatio!
Like getting your ducks in a row except they're cows. That big creamy Charolais on the left won a prize.

A grunting truffling Tamworth
Just what every terraced garden needs


Heavenly Tamworth
Can I take it home please?







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