Silly boy. It didn’t last.
It was good to see the Brockwell Park gates finally back in place at the bodged Herne Hill junction. Workmen have been, um, working around the clock as the countdown to the Country Show started in mid-summer.
The bodged Herne Hill junction seemed to just about stand up to its first real test, but then the critical mass of Chucklehead Cider drinkers seems to somehow cut a sway through the cars.
The crowds seemed down on previous years, but then that was probably because I was doing my Brockwell Park
wobbling walking as soon as the Show started at 11am on Saturday morning. Come chucking out time at 7pm, and SE24 was home to half of Lambeth.
There are no standout highlights – what could possibly go wrong with the promise of the countryside comes to the city? I enjoyed as ever my conversations with the many local groups, some of them serving the local community brilliantly, others just plain bonkers.
The Aussie sheep shearing man was something of a tease. Steady. He knew exactly how to work a crowd, explaining the finer points of shearing, without actually introducing the star act on to the stage.
When Dolly finally made her appearance, he held her down in an arm lock that, um, just didn’t look quite right. The suggestion that my current out of control sideburns should be subjected to the same treatment was anything but a tease.
The fit young grinning Christian female didn’t seem to comprehend my answer of “atheist” when I agreed to answer her questionnaire, and it came down to the what religion are you question. She looked squeaky clean, and rather stunning. My attempts to introduce her to atheism, via the Chucklehead Cider stall and a quick romp in the log circle, failed as miserably as my attempts to stay sober.
Ah yes – about that Chucklehead. There’s no getting away from the fact that the countryside comes to the city mantra of the Country Show has been taken over in recent years with Chucklehead Cider crossed with jerk chicken. It remains the same ethos of sorts, yet slightly more realistic when describing the average experience.
Going out on a high, I caned it big time. I peaked far too early of course, and barely managed to stay awake for the Alabama 3 homecoming acoustic set. The decision to freshen up at the Lido en route back to base wasn’t such a great idea.
The cider celebration meant that I missed the Vegetable That Looks Like a Thingy competition. Judging was still in place as we passed the tent before midday. I didn’t like to risk a return after the Chucklehead had set in.
I did wander once again past the scarecrow competition, spending five minutes chatting up what I thought was the squeaky clean fit young Christian bird once again. I banged on about the benefits of an atheist lifestyle, only realising that her lack of conversation was because she was a scarecrow.
Time to call it quits, time to bugger off back to base.
My final Lambeth Show was probably my favourite in fifteen summers – the scarecrows were ace, the Dark Knight of Brockwell Park was bloody brilliant and even the “they’re not real” owls who don’t exactly do a lot, kept my attention for abut ten seconds.
But the real winner of course was *shhh* the booze.
Chucklehead cider is the type of refreshment that your body can only accommodate once a year. I decided to bow out in style, carrying cartons of the poison back and forth across the park. I’m still trying to piece together some of those lost memories.
And so farewell then the Lambeth Country Show. I would say that you will be missed, but I can’t quite recall many of the details over the past fifteen years to be honest.
The countdown starts here for the Wivenhoe Urban Show, boi.