Country mouse on the Royal Bath & West Show

A German standing on his head and swaying unattached at the top of a crane 56m (184ft) up in the Somerset breeze; a bemedalled Lieutenant General in full service dress handing out a rosette to a 12-year-old Pony Club girl; a Hell’s Angel former serviceman standing to attention and removing his sunglasses while the Rifles band played the National Anthem; a member of the Royal Family being shown the manly commentator’s sleeping quarters and finding a teddy bear on his pillow. These aren’t scenes from an unlikely West End farce, but just some of the occurrences from last week’s Royal Bath & West of England show.

The largest rural event of its kind in England, it was opened this year by the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Prof Sir John Beddington. He told us that the world is starting to realise the central importance of agriculture and shows like the Bath & West are a stimulus, but they should also be fun.

It was a sentiment shared by former Defence Secretary Lord King in the cider tent, who, bemoaning his lack of success in showing his version of the local brew, jokingly referred to the ‘FIFA-style selection process’. Oscar winner Julian Fellowes was one of the judges. Should he take over from Sepp Blatter?