One of our favourite days of the year is the Surrey County Show day. It’s always on the end of May bank holiday Monday…which it was today. And this year, to add to the enjoyment, we sponsored a couple of goat competitions.
The day didn’t start off too good with drizzly rain and heavy, dark clouds but it stopped long enough for us to head out just after 10am. Last year we started earlier and everything went really smoothly. Sadly the same can’t be said for 2017.
First up was the Park and Ride. In the past we have parked at the Uni, walked across to the bus stop and arrived at the show in about ten minutes. This year we followed the signs to the new Onslow Park and Ride car park. This was a big mistake because we could have just continued on to the uni as usual.
As we pulled into the access road to the car park, a volunteer directed us to turn left, behind a whole load of other cars which we followed slavishly. We parked, unpacked various bags and dogs and started off up the hill to the bus stop. A big, puffy man suddenly appeared all a-flusterated. He started to tell us that we were parked in the wrong place as had he. Some guy had just told him he had to move his car up the hill. He looked like he was about to have a heart attack.
With a slight air of irritation, Mirinda went back to the car while I took the puppies up the hill on foot.
Now parked in the proper car park and bearing witness to the volunteer being told off, we joined the queue for the bus which was already almost full. There was another bus behind it but this was the normal Park and Ride which didn’t go to the show. Eventually both of the buses departed and we were all left, waiting. And waiting.
It was a long wait.
Then another bus turned up but it was another Park and Ride bus and not one for the show. The show bus came afterwards and stopped behind the other bus meaning the front of the queue was now the back of the queue. Anyone who claims that the English are polite and good at queuing clearly has not been in a Park and Ride Bus Clash situation. Still, we managed to get aboard and started the very long, roundabout route to the showground.
Because of the heightened security following the Manchester outrage last week, bags were being searched and hats being patted. I can’t say the searching was very thorough though, as Mirinda said, I’m not sure a county show would be particularly high on a terrorist hit list.
Finally we were inside and tried to get our bearings. We had to get to the Members enclosure in order to get our day passes as well as buying a programme to check out when our goats would be judged.
The guy who gave us our passes told us we had to go back to the site office to get a programme. We settled into seats and I went to buy coffees before heading back to the site office.
Programme in hand and watching the end of the show jumping, we discovered that we’d missed the goat judging. Typical. I’ll have to wait for the results to be posted on the website before I’ll know. Damn it.
It was about this time that things calmed down a bit. We went for a walk and checked out the pigs. The programme claimed the judging should start just as we reached the enclosure. Mirinda went inside and checked out the competition only to discover that the competition had been and gone. So, no Happiest Pig. Just the Grumpiest.
We then wandered over to the goats to see if I could find the winners. No luck, I’m afraid. It’s the handlers who wear the numbers and the goats that get the ribbons. Mind you, it was great seeing and patting the many goats on show. I do love goats.
Returning from my trip around the pens, I re-joined Mirinda who excitedly informed me that the pygmy goats were being judged and it was her sponsored event! Sadly, this just wasn’t the case and it was the class AFTER hers…which was just a bit irritating.
Still, unperturbed we headed back to the Member’s enclosure to see the parachute display team fail to show up. That’s right. The weather was heavy and cloudy and the parachuting was cancelled. So, instead, we sat and watched a couple of umbrellas sat in front of us.
Eventually the fifteen very tiny drops of rain had been exhausted and these two went away so we stole their seats and thoroughly enjoyed watching one man and his sheep dog. Actually it was four men and they each had one sheepdog rounding up five sheep. It was excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m sure it was much better than parachutes.
But the best was yet to come with our favourite part of the show…the double harness scurry. Always incredibly fast, always a total cack. Every year Mirinda says she wants to join up and compete and every year I tell her to check out the website.
At one point, I was almost bowled over by a team when they almost failed to stop at the fence. It looked quite scary through my zoom lens but, fortunately the driver held them and they continued on their way.
We then stayed for the judging of the livestock winners. This is a sort of Best in Show for cattle and sheep and featured an enthusiastic Dame Penelope Keith (called Lady Penelope by the commentator at one stage because he’s clearly a Thunderbirds fan).
Having had enough we decided to head for home with two very tired puppies. Freya was exhausted because of all the sights and smells and dogs butts but I think Emma was worn out from judging the show jumping which she did from the comfort of my lap.
But, of course, because the Park and Ride business was a fiasco in the morning, it had to be bad in the afternoon as well. The stop we needed was the only one that didn’t have a sign stating which bus it was so we had to wander back and forth a bit to find the correct queue.
Given every other year, the organising of travel has been perfect, this year was a bit of a let down. Someone new must be in charge. I, for one, say bring back whoever did it before!
Even so, we had a lovely time and the dogs fell asleep as soon as Mirinda started Max and didn’t wake up until we reached home.