Tea-ing off at the show

I EXPECT you were looking out for me. Well I was there, at the county's biggest event of the year. The Suffolk Show was, for us journalists lucky enough to cover it, a particularly demanding two days as we were forced to eat sumptuous lunches, and see all the attractions.

I EXPECT you were looking out for me.

Well I was there, at the county's biggest event of the year. The Suffolk Show was, for us journalists lucky enough to cover it, a particularly demanding two days as we were forced to eat sumptuous lunches, and see all the attractions.

Indeed, so stressed was I by the whole experience that instead of opening the showground's new conference centre I forgot and went for a early afternoon break. As I was busily enjoying a lemon slice, the kindly Duke of Gloucester thankfully stood in pulled the rope for me.

But the Suffolk show wasn't without its drama.

At one point I found myself enclosed in a rather unpleasant cattle shed surrounded by intimidating huge massive animals - well mainly cows - and men in white coats.

And dear readers, judging by what was carpeting the floor I was thankful I wasn't wearing my pair of lime green Gucci loafers-they would never have been the same again.

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My plain-speaking-sometimes-short-tempered-photographer friend Lucy thought it might be fun to take some pictures of a few of the terrifying beasts. Eventually we went to the food hall-my favourite tent-where she knew I'd calm down.

As I shimmied up to a tempting cheese stall, I overheard a little exchange-between a couple of ladies flogging olive oil, or candy floss, or dips, or something.

“Ohh there's that weirdo that writes in the star,” hissed the candy floss/oil/dip woman.

“Oh yeah I see him every week. He's even more handsome in the flesh,” replied her friend Jane, who was at least 68, with hint of moustache.

“Don't encourage him. He's already insufferable,” interjected long suffering Lucy.

At least I was recognised I suppose.

Of course, I could never hack it as a farmer.

It's not the hard work-there isn't much for most of the year-I just couldn't put up with the moaning.

If I hear one more landowner complain-and it seems to be an industry mantra-about how it's increasingly difficult to pay the school fees and buy a new Range Rover every three years though they still manage-I think I might scream.

Not one of the several farmers I met said how pleased and relieved they are to be working in the most heavily subsidised industry in western Europe, they all seemed to be more concerned with how much they were going to get from the tax-payer for not growing anything-I think they call it set-aside-and if they'll be able to keep up the shooting for another year.

It's a different world and wax jackets are so unflattering.

The show's social side as popular as ever, and even I ran into a few people I knew.

As we toured the fragrant flower tent before a pre-luncheon gin and tonic, my pink-hatted-farming-friend Katherine, though I have never seen her in wellies does know the difference between a limousin and a limousine, asked for a display of the tango-not a sight often seen among the lupins and modest as ever I was forced to decline.

After that I offered my expert advice-though I haven't got a garden - and found myself chopping a hedge into the shape of a Koala - well it would have been if Andy Terry of Prestige Plants hadn't looked quite so aghast at the prospect.

By the late afternoon my feet were killing me (that's the price you pay for cheap shoes) and I found myself relaxing in the Evening Star tea tent.

One minute I was enjoying a quiet chocolate brownie, the next I was swamped by fans.

One woman, I never caught her name, unfortunately kept asking me who I was. It's a question few celebs are keen on having to answer, and as I signed autographs I told her I was no-one special.

“I know that,” she almost said.

But secretly I think she was starstruck.

N

Did you have a funny experience at the Suffolk Show? Are you one of those hard-up farmers? Write and tell me your side of the story.

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