The Royal Welsh Show 2011

Well we trotted along to the Royal Welsh Show at Llanelwedd, Builth Wells yesterday. As a recent incomer to Wales and only having a smallholding I’m not sure I’m qualified to comment in detail. However, we had a great day. The peripheral car parks (park and ride) and traffic management worked great as far as we were concerned and we sailed into the show with no traffic problems (on the second busiest Tuesday ever) and that was a lot better than a previous experience at the Bath and West.

The show left me feeling very positive about about the rural community (despite me being a critic sometimes of some farming practices). In a world of ‘sleaze balls’, corruption and political chicanery (this on the afternoon parliament was investigating more wrong doing in the Murdoch empire) farmers were showing some stupendous livestock, youngsters were involved in all aspects from shearing competitions to horse riding to helping out the family look after the stock.

Sadly your ‘average city dweller’ who unwraps their pork chops out of the supermarket packaging does not have the slightest idea of the work and dedication that goes into their food. Whilst happy to whitter on endlessly about their favourite restaurant or celebrity chef it really struck home that they don’t have a clue about the really important bit at the sharp end. If farming could only do better in getting its message over and really show people how important it is to everyone.

In a whimsical moment I sometimes think it should be compulsory for ‘Joe Public’ to have to spend a month working on a farm and engage (many for the first time) with nature and where their food comes from. You don’t see too many obese sheep shearers and if you’ve ever had a go you will know that is one of the hardest, backbreaking jobs going. Perhaps a community sentence of a month’s sheep shearing would be far more beneficial for some of our criminals than the other deterrents not to mention that it would be a lot cheaper than many NHS interventions for obesity.

I was also pretty impressed by the teams of young riders on very fast ponies displaying their riding and athletic skills in a series of obstacle and relay type races (known as mounted games). I doubt if these youngsters figure too high on the ‘delinquent radar’. No doubt some will view these comments as right wing (strange as I’m usually accused of being fairly radical) but I’m just saying how I see it; that a good dose of reality amongst these hard working country folk is worth far more than the endless trivia of the celebrity obsessed, tawdry media controlled, shallow society that we have become.