Over the weekend we attended the granddaddy of village fetes, the Cotswold Show. It was awfully sporting of Lord Apsley to throw such a big party for the Fourth of July at his ancestral seat of Cirencester Park. It reminded me of the graceful way Britain handled a more recent defeat at the hands of America, Andy Murray’s semi-final loss to Andy Roddick on Friday night at Wimbledon.
The show thoughtfully placed a dog scurry event right next to the port-a-loos at the entrance. This gave husband something to pass the time while he waited for me to stand in the inevitably much longer ladies’ line (some things never change). Next up were a multitude of opportunities for a grown man to reclaim his lost boyhood. After posing for pictures next to the steam trains on display, husband took a crash course in archery. We made a mental note to return for the ferret races at 2:30pm and headed off in search of lunch.
Hamburgers were washed down with a beer—Cotswold Summer Lager for me, Doom Bar for husband—while a middle-aged band serenaded us with Lynyrd Skynard with a British accent. (Skynard is apparently as obligatory for British as American county fairs.) Overhead a group of parachutists floated into the main display area. Earlier there had been Evil Knievel-esque motorcycle jumps here, and later the local hunt would show off their Modern English hounds before a man with a Cockney accent and a medieval outfit did a falconry display.
I’m sure Patricia Marx could fill an entire On and Off the Avenue with the shopping on offer at the show. We got so distracted with the coracles, a traditional Welsh fishing boat, and rare breed livestock that we forgot about the ferret races. Oh how any one of these retail outlets would liven up the Pottery Barn/Banana Republic tedium of the average shopping mall (fancy an Old Spot piglet with your Martin stretch cotton trouser?). I settled for a tweed flat cap from Rydale, which was both more portable and affordable at £8.99.
We ended the afternoon at the fun fair. Husband had earlier promised to take me on a spin on the diminutive ferris wheel. Much to the amusement of the two ten-year old girls in line in front of us, he bailed just before it was our turn to ride. The ten-year-olds obligingly let me share their compartment with them. As we surveyed the grounds from atop the wheel, they briefed me on the ferris wheel scene in Southern England. Apparently the ride at Gloucester Quay is not to be missed.