Monday, 16 June 2008

East of England show.

Still moored at Peterborough

Saturday was going to be a busy day for us. We started off by walking to the bus station where we caught the open top bus to the show grounds at Alwalton for the East of England agricultural show. The bus itself was a rarity being an old Routemaster of approx; 30 years of age. As we boarded the bus the first people we saw were Sue and Vic on N/b No Problem, along with Ann and Chas plus 3 dogs, they had caught the train to Peterborough and then the bus. The bus trip only took about 20 minutes dropping us at the main gate of the show.

Once in the gate it was a case of where to look first. As it turned out the Royal Artillery Motorcycle stunt team were just about to start the first performance of the day so that's where we started . As well as precision and formation riding they also performed a 13 man pyramid on 5 motorbikes and then 3 riders took turns to jump over cars starting with 1 and finishing with 4.

Next came the Shire horse's beautifully adorned with immaculate Brewer's dray's and the like in tow. Magnificent animals doing what they do best. This was followed by ponies and traps of various sizes.

While heading off towards the giant steaming traction engines, road roller and fair ground engines we found the vintage car section with 70 to 80 cars of all makes and models on show. A 1950 Ford Anglia even had the original car dealers advertising inside it on display. The new price for the car in those days was £297 but the average weekly wage in those days might have only been £15. As well as the full size traction engines there were a couple of working miniatures perhaps about 1/4 scale correct right down to the smallest detail. Two machines were busy running a saw mill and a hay bailing machine. The saw mill really made the traction engine strain as the saw bit into the log's being fed onto it. There was also traditional fair ground caravans from the steam era and a beautifully restored fairground organ belting out some fantastic music. Made the hair on the back of my neck curl.

As well as all this was the most important part of the show as far as rural folk were concerned, that was all the latest tractors and machinery. For the city folk there was the display of all the vintage tractors and machinery showing how things used to be down and how primitive early agricultural machinery used to be.

Among the exhibitors caravans and motor homes we found 2 ex military trucks of WWII vintage. Upon closer examination we found that they too had been converted into motor homes and one was adorned with rally plaques going back nearly 40 years.

Of course there was the live stock where farmers could check out potential new breeding stock and city folk to get up close and personal with sheep, pigs cattle, horses and alpaca's. It has been found that running a couple of the latter beastie's in a flock of lambing sheep reduces the number of lambs lost to predators such as foxes.

There were so many trade stands that we didn't have a hope of getting to them all and we had to catch the 3.30 bus back to town as we were going out to dinner with my cousin and family. All in all a brilliant day out.

1173 locks, 1711½ miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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