Making the most of the Suffolk Show
PUBLISHED: 11:00 27 May 2019
Next week, I think, will be my 25th year reporting from the Suffolk Show - the last 18 plus seven from the 20th century!
My first visit was with my primary school - Sprites − when I was seven in 1962 and I visited again in my teens when I came out in heat rash.
As a journalist I have had the privilege of taking part in the carriage ride around the back roads of Nacton village. I was a guest of the Household Cavalry, on that occasion and had to be suitably dressed in navy and red.
I was also challenged to enter the flower show, entering the novice class in flower arranging. I was given a master class by one of the country's top flower designers, Roger Woolnough, before "creating" my own arrangement. I was extremely proud of my commended certificate until I discovered that every novice entrant gets one of those.
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I haven't been back.
In the 90s, I reported on the sheep and heavy horse classes in the show, featuring two of the "Suffolk Trinity" - the Suffolk Sheep and the Suffolk Horses (aka Suffolk Punches). I am still a huge fan of those gentle, chestnut-coloured giants that are the Suffolk Horses. I am not quite so fond of the sheep as one of them once kicked me in the tummy, fortunately it was quite fat (my tummy not the sheep, which was all muscle) so it absorbed most of the shock but I did have a splendid bruise for a while. Very strong, sheep.
The best thing of all is meeting old friends and making new ones. I have known Mo and Bill Last, who man and woman the plant crèche all my life. Then there are the show stewards, several of whom have taken part in my Suffolk Show fashion feature, over the years, showing off their hats and, in the case of the women, having to decide whether to model their day one or day two outfits.
Then there is the amazing crew in the WI tent who take one look at me flagging and revive me with a cuppa and a sausage roll. It can be quite hard on the feet, walking around the showground two or three times.
Choosing my favourite things? I love it all, of course, but my personal top five is: 1 The Art Show; 2 The Flower Show; 3 The rabbits; 4 The heavy horses 5 The bands that play on the bandstand... oh and I'll have to add six because lunch in the media centre is always a highlight.