Stacia Briggs' Royal Norfolk Show diary - monkeys, cheese and a moo-ving story
PUBLISHED: 08:58 30 June 2016 | UPDATED: 08:58 30 June 2016
It was a busy start to the Royal Norfolk Show as visitors arrived in good time to miss the predicted rain - it was at least 2.30pm until things went a little bit Glastonbury.
The show always creates lots of interest locally and it’s also making news across the country and overseas with several national newspapers sending teams to write about the show and gauge the post-Brexit mood.
We even spotted a reporter and cameraman from a Japanese TV station shooting footage for a documentary on traditional English shows.
Hopefully they made a beeline for the other TV superstar at the Show that wasn’t Monty Don – Desmond MacCarthy, of Wiveton Hall, who we hear was working as a trade stand judge.
Like Mr Don, Mr MacCarthy also has his own BBC television shows and most recently was the star of observational documentary series Normal for Norfolk, which followed him as he tried various ventures including renovating a dilapidated cottage as a guest house, attracting ‘pick your own’ fruit customers and maintaining the country traditions of his childhood.
He also introduced viewers to his family, including his adorable 100-year-old mother, Chloe and his two chidren.
Darren Eadie has always been on the ball, but never so much as at the show when he took on the mighty challenge of riding a giant football.
The Mustard TV host and head of football for Langley School kicked off the Football Rodeo Ride-Off challenge by climbing on board the bucking bronco ball.
“It’s harder than it looks!” he protested after less than 10 seconds in the saddle, “and I’m wearing slippy trousers...”
Nearby, Norfolk businessman Tom Rowson had a moo-ving story about turning a £50 investment into a possible cash cow.
Mr Rowson’s clever take on shepherd’s hut-style camping accommodation has seen him turn the £50 base of a Luton van into a des-res for glampers complete with two double beds, a seating area, electricity and heating so that campers never have to feel Freesian on chilly evenings. Sorry.
“I used to drive the van which is the base of the cow shed,” said Mr Rowson, “but then I was made redundant and bought the body of the van from my old boss for £50.
“It’s taken two-and-a-half years to get to this stage but I think they’re worth it.
“We can customise them for customers – with whatever animal they’d like.”
The Cow Shed costs from £15,000 and will soon be available from Norwich Camping and Leisure.
There were escapee sheep and a foxhound went on the lam from the Grand Ring, there were rumours that the Anglia Farmers’ bar might have to close early because “it was too wet behind the bar” (due to rain and not spilled pints) and a little girl who was utterly starstruck when Prince Charles stopped to speak to her, and was heard to say: “The future King of England just asked me if I like cheese!”
For those wondering, yes, the little girl liked cheese.
I’ll end with an invaluable gardening tip courtesy of Ben Potterton, who told the audience at the Grow It, Cook it, Eat it Question Time with Monty Don that monkeys don’t like strawberries and are therefore a great pet option for strawberry growers (Mr Potterton keeps monkeys).
He was then prompted to tell a story by fellow panel member Vanessa Scott about his son, Rowan, who had been playing in the garden and came indoors “smelling as if he was covered in old orange juice”.
He had, he shyly admitted, been peed on by a monkey (and thereafter took to wearing a bicycle helmet for protection).
“I don’t think you can call yourself a proper gardener unless you’ve had a monkey wee on your head,” said Monty . . .
Only at the Royal Norfolk Show.