I went out to the National Ploughing Championships on Wednesday (25th September 2013). For a lack of imagination I will try to recap the day in a (loosely) chronological order.
10.35 a.m. Purple Pig Car Park. Diesel powered vehicles of all shapes and sizes unload. Some are preparing for the busy day ahead with a tailgate cup o’ tea.
10.40 a.m. Buying the tickets was a bit of a joke. Crowds were sent up crushes to buy tickets and then left to burst their way through outer queues to reach the main entrance gate. This scenario was compounded by the fact that country folk don’t like crowds or queueing. Creatures so used to being unfettered and free can become quite unsettled when they think others are trying to jump their queue, even when all you want to do is cross to the other side!
11.00 a.m. Enter at the Livestock Sector. Shortly after, given my marching orders. It appears I’m cramping Dad’s style. We’ll meet up for lunch. The Lely robot milking machine is catching everyone’s attention or maybe it’s just the mesmerising effect Friesian cows have on the public at large? Very content cows….
11.10 a.m. Just spotted at least three John Deere boilersuits on junior farmers within the last 10 minutes. Did I miss the Memo? “Dress Code: Emmerdale Farmer Chic”
12 noon With every wave of TY students that pass, I imagine a loudspeaker address reverb in my mind: “Today’s events are brought to you by: Jack Jones and Penney’s fashion tights”. Other uniform day. I’ve covered a good bit of ground. Pretty sure I’ve covered most of the upper part of the exhibition site. But no sign of the retail sector yet? There’s a friendly, relaxed atmosphere but there is a definite element of pace about the event. This is unavoidable, considering the main contingent of visitors to the Ploughing are farmers. Farmers like to keep moving, forward motion at all times: that is unless they are talking. Then, they simply won’t budge.
Tom: (shouts across me) Ah Joe, now I see your true colours!
(I look right) Joe is standing inside the door of Fine Gael stand.
Cue witty comeback…
What was said next, I have no idea. Forward motion, remember…
12.30 p.m. Right better make my way back to meet Dad for lunch. Wonder if the little brother is around today? Give him a text. Reply confirms he can fit me in for a few minutes. Right, what direction should I be going in?
12.50 p.m. Dad arrives back to get his lunch. Bring him into the sit-in restaurant to grab a bite.
1.40 p.m. We spilt up again. And agree to meet up at the exit for the purple car park. Dad’s quite insistent that we meet up at 5.00 p.m. Not sure I have the stamina for another 3 hours…
2.00 p.m. In the midst of the 100 acre maze that is the exhibition site, I realise I’m outside the super-cute One Fab Day Tipee. It looks right at home and is probably one of the most eye-catching exhibits of the Ploughing. I go to have a closer look inside and get chatting to Naoise. Had to tell her what a great idea it is to see a wedding exhibitor at the show. ( I couldn’t think of a better place to exhibit to create awareness and profile on a national scale.)
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2.20 p.m. Need to get out of this feckin machinery/equipment sector. It’s like the Bermuda triangle. Still can’t find the shopping tents….Where is Sector A? Map. YOU ARE HERE. Oh, ok. That’s miles away. Remember, forward motion.
2.40 p.m. Passed the O’Neill Tent for the second time today. Must go in some time and see what all the queues are about… maybe not… bloody queue is twice as long as it was this morning.
2.50 p.m. I have no idea how I got here but finally make it to Sector A. I’ll have a quick run through to see what bargains are to be had, before making a purchase.
3.15 p.m. The unwritten rules of treating yourself whilst on a day out: thou shall only treat yourself after you bring home something for the poor sods at home (that didn’t get to take a day off work). Sorted: 3x100g chocolate bars for €6 from Áine Chocolate. Sweet.
3.25 p.m. Serendipity. Handmade soap; mine is nearly all gone. If I run out, my extensive, demanding, beauty regime will be in jeopardy! Eek. The SunRose Garden stand has a great 3 bars for €12 offer and because I asked nicely, I buy a soap stand for an extra €2. Sorted.
4.00 p.m. Have to start making my way back to the Livestock Sector. Oh, there’s Barry’s Tea. Thronged, of course! I momentarily forget myself, and begin to imagine taking a moment to relax with a hot brew. I suppose I could overlook my tea alliances on this occasion… Careful now.
4.20 p.m. Have to sit down! I’m wrecked. Manage to get a bench on the reverse side of the FRS/FBD Safe Tractor Driving Course. My in-flight entertainment is supplied by a few young lads trying out their shiny new hurleys and a band of young turks with an oversized football. Shannigans ensue. Oh the folly of youth…
5.20 p.m. We have made it back through Stradbally. It’s pretty much smooth sailing from here on out. There had been about a twenty minute delay getting out of the car park, despite Dad and I meeting up 10 minutes earlier than our arranged time. Can’t wait for a cup of tea when I get home and maybe some chocolate…
p.s. Yes, I would later recap over a cup of tea, that yet again, I didn’t actually get to see any ploughing?
p.p.s. Since Wednesday I have enjoyed testing out the Seville Orange Chocolate from Áine Chocolate. Both family and friends have tried it and it’s been enjoyed by all. It’s top class. It’s 60% cocoa, you only need a little to treat yourself. I’m looking forward to the other bars.