In Devon and Cornwall, as indeed in other parts of rural England, the summer sees a plethora of agricultural shows. The two big ones of course are the multi day Devon County and Royal Cornwall Shows. They are done and dusted for this year and I remember that the Royal Cornwall at Wadebridge was warm and sunny for the three consecutive days on which it ran in June! In a bad summer such as this we tend to forget the few days of good weather.
Another successful show was the one day Stithians Show in West Cornwall; I could be wrong but I think it is the largest one day event of its kind in the two counties.
However there are a lot of shows in the Devon calendar that have had to be cancelled: these include the North Devon, Mid Devon, Okehampton and Woolsery Shows. Honiton is teetering on the brink but with a much better forecast in the offing for next week I think they will be all right. The well organised Yealmpton Show went ahead a couple of days ago but yesterday the organisers of the Totnes Show (always the day following Yealmpton) went ahead in the rain in the morning only to have to cancel lunchtime as the elements defeated them.
Car parking at shows is one of the big problems after excessive rains, even more so when the parking is on a slope. The question of whether to cancel or go ahead with a show is an unenviable decision that has to be made. This is particularly so when you decide to go early on the decision to give farmers and traders the maximum notice.
On a smaller scale in our neck of the woods tomorrow sees the Latchley, Chilsworthy and Cox Park Show taking place and the weather outlook is fair but I doubt that I shall have time to visit. Last year they suffered the most horrendous weather although of course that July was much better overall.
These country shows are a great shop window for the countryside and its ways - a good chance for townfolk to get some understanding of the rural economy. It should be compulsory for all DEFRA ministers to attend at least one during their tenure and the same applies to their senior civil servants.