Friday, April 8, 2011

A little bit country...

We spent last Saturday visiting the Oxford A & P show.  There's been a rash of them lately in our area - but this is the first one I've been to this year. 

I love A&P shows. Always have. I love the unchanging nature of them. While almost every aspect of our day-to-day life changes constantly as technology increases, lives get busier and we fill every moment of our time with 'important' tasks, the A&P show is predictably the same. And that's extremely comforting.

The same rides (actually, this is no joke, they are exactly the same pieces of machinery I remember tentatively hopping onto twenty years ago), the same food caravans, and I'm sure, sometimes, the same people operating them.
I'm pretty sure that this is the same ferris wheel that I used to ride on at A&P shows when I was a kid...

Taking your family to the A&P show means you can amble along past shearing displays, the calf-judging, prize-winning poultry, and hand the kids a few bucks to go on a ride, or get a hot-dog, knowing they'll find you again soon. We left the father-in-law at the shearing (it's his favourite), and meandered over to the wood chopping contest, which was by far the most popular event.

This photo was taken about thirty years ago, but you can't really tell the difference between then and now in woodchopping competitions.
Sitting on hay-bales in the sun, we watched some of the fittest kiwi athletes I think I've ever seen power their way through logs in seconds, scale huge poles to cut the top of logs that stood twenty feet high, swinging axes with arms that would have put Popeye to shame.

Apart from the people-watching, and sneaking a pat from some of the livestock on display, my favourite part of the A&P show is actually inside. The arts and crafts and vegetable part, usually in a hall on the site.  Oxford's A&P show didn't disappoint. As a kid, I remember entering the flower-saucer competitions (usually involving some wilted looking pansies jammed in a saucer full of sand), but the vegetable-art one was probably always my favourite.  Bert and Ernie (below) were streets ahead of the usual potato-bunnies.

Bert and Ernie were definitely my favourite, looks like the judges thought so too.
The bloke and I wandered around the tables, exclaiming at the odd stand-out prize-winning vegetable, and muttering quietly to ourselves that our beans were better, my plum sauce was definitely competitive, and our kamo kamo were worth a shot at the top prize.  Next year, we'll enter our own fruits (well vegetables mostly) of our labour, and A&P shows will take on a whole new meaning.

And who knows, maybe one day soon, we'll be able to enter our own prize-winning poultry, lambs or cattle. I'm looking forward to that!

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