Country mouse visits the Royal Bath and West Show

Wonders of the West.

If the cider judging at the Royal Bath and West Show was more like FIFA, then Lord King could have won his class for the past 10 years. As it was, the Honorary Cider Master only managed second, but he will keep on trying. He likened himself to Larry Adler when a member of the audience shouted out ‘Play it again’. After the encore, the cry was repeated. ‘I’m flattered, but one repeat is probably enough,’ demurred the harmonica player. ‘No, play it again ’til you get it right.’

The Secretary of State for Defra, Liz Truss, joined the joint Show President and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes in awarding cups to the prize-winning cattle. The animals looked magnificent, but Somerset dairy farmers are only ever a badger’s whisker away from the threat of bovine TB and how to solve this problem is on the Minister’s to-do list.

The Society has a new Chief Executive this year. Rupert Cox will be leading this venerable institution, founded in 1777, as it cements its position as the largest show of its kind in England. Looking forward also means looking back. James Thomas, a new steward in my section, needs to have the lining in his bowler re-stitched — it belonged to his great-grandfather, who also wore it during the show’s peripatetic days, when it travelled to places as far apart as Wimbledon and Exeter.