The Suffolk Show 2015 is a far cry from last year’s bepuddled event
As the final touches were put to this year’s Suffolk Show yesterday, Lynne Mortimer and photographer Lucy Taylor visited the showground to see how things were shaping up.
A few scudding clouds in a blue Suffolk sky, the sun glinting on glossy new farm machinery.
A day before the show opened, the Trinity Park showground is bathed in sunshine, it’s a far cry from last year’s bepuddled show.
A steady line of traffic crawls in from the A14; dusty 4x4s, sleek BMWs, rattling trailers, huge transporters, white vans, burger vans; it goes on an on as the exhibitions and tradestands begin to fill up the Trinity acres.
On show days, tens of thousands of visitors will arrive through the entrances to enjoy this festival of Suffolk farming, trade and commerce as well as those from all around the country who come along to ply their wares. But on Tuesday, it’s all about being ready to welcome all those people. The marquees have to be erected; stands filled; flowers arranged; livestock groomed, rabbits brushed, cakes baked, wine poured, bowler hats donned.
There’s a one-way system operating around the ground but there are sporadic hold-ups when something enormous stops up ahead.
I park by the flower show tent (it’s one of my favourites). Inside, a disoriented wagtail is sitting in young silver birch tree which is part of one of the displays. It takes off, only to find the canvas roof is in the way.
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Kevin Harbutt of Rougham Hall Nurseries is working beside numerous tubs filled with oasis, the green porous plant arranger. He is creating a display of allium, gladioli, and eremurus.
Otley college, meanwhile is bring us two eras, the 1980s and the 1920s. There are rolls of fluorescent material as yet unwound. A female mannequin is already in her 80s gear, while the male is still topless... it’s very much on trend. Around the showground a number of chaps are similarly unclad above the waist. It’s hot, thirsty work putting stands up.
Dee Butler, from Newmarket has been bringing his trade stand Kitchens and Things, to the show for about 15 years we talk about last year’s weather and look forward to a sunny two days ahead.
Here’s a bit of a scoop. Holly Middleditch, of Suffolk Sport reveals football’s Premier League trophy (currently Chelsea’s) will be there during the day on Wednesday... in the care of two security guards.
Holly says Suffolk Sport has a village of activity including This Girl Can which (and I quote from the website): “celebrates the active women everywhere who are doing their thing no matter how they do it, how they look or how sweaty they get.”
At Hutchinson’s Landscape Garden Design and Build, proprietor Simon Hutchinson is using what looks like a man-sized pair of tongs to dig out a hole and at Wild Earthworks, Julius McCann-King is working on some hessian that Bean, the dog, finds comfortable to lie on.
Nigel Hall, supercat pilot, races at Oulton Broad. The boat, which supports East Anglian Air Ambulance, can make 100mph on the water.
I pass by the cattle sheds where the stalls are piled with fresh straw, ready to house the cows and bulls taking part in the livestock competitions. One shaggy-looking cow with horns (I’m not an expert on breeds) is a solitary occupant.
Over at Polly’s Parrot Show, John Pollard (aka Polly) introduces Maijeika, the blue and golden macaw to Nicola Daykin, from the Red Cross medical post. While Maijeika gives Nicola’s hair a few finishing touches, Nicola, in turn introduces her (toy) chicken: “It said on the poster ‘chicken’s go free’,” she says.
The spirit of the Suffolk Show is infectious.
The food and drink vans are taking up their positions, the show rings are green and verdant, the carousel is still, by the biggest noise is being made by the crows, nesting in the trees that abut the showground. Teams of young people, who will be helping on the day, are having their final briefings.
We’re nearly there.
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