Poultry appreciation is always one of the cornerstones of the country show. Eggs are judged on their size, colour and the yellowness of the yolk and there are numerous competition categories for different breeds and even a prize for the ‘prettiest hen.’ Breeding chickens is an extremely popular activity these days. My theory is that many folk still secretly watch old episodes of The Good Life on UK Gold on cable, and yearn for a few of their own charming chickens chucking round their back garden.
More unusual activities at the show include the giant sack race where four people at once are in one sack and have to try and hop in harmony in order to get anywhere, thus rendering the race a lot more amusing than that boring ordinary type of sack race we are familiar with from our school sports days.
The ‘show your strength hammer’ meanwhile seemed to be mainly of interest to small children. There were definitely no Burt Lancaster lookalikes rolling up with their muscles rippling, a la The Greatest Show On Earth, much to my chagrin.
Mine is the prettiest hen!
And finally, who can dispute the lure of the giant veg tent. For months obsessed allotment holders have been feeding their vegetables secret concoctions in order to maximise their size. Competitors have been known to sabotage their rivals veg such is the fierceness of the race to the prize for the biggest marrow, the largest leek, the longest carrot or the most enormous onion. Organic Olympians indeed.