This last weekend was the Bathurst Show, held in the tiny “dorp” of Bathurst (bet you wouldn’t have guessed that!) which is about a 40 minute drive from Bushmans. The show is strange because it comprises of so many different elements; Agricultural equipment, Farm animal judging, horse riding events, a Flea Market, school stands and other stands rented by various businesses from the area. Elsa and Second to None (a second hand furniture/everything and anything shop from Kenton-on-Sea) share a stand at the show every year and Mum normally mans it for a day or two. I went along because well… at the moment I don’t really have anything else to do!
We arrived there early to finish setting up the stand. The carpets and furniture had been set-up the day before, but we had to put out all the smaller items; scarves, blankets, socks, pottery, lanterns, chairs, old school kitchen utensils etc. We were in a bit of a rush to get everything in place before the judges came round as there is a trophy for the “Best Stand”. By the time the judges appeared (late) the stand looked amazing, if I do say so myself!
That out of the way, I took myself for a little stroll around the show. It was strange walking the grounds with everyone around me being so sober… Don’t get me wrong, I was dead sober too (after all, it was 11am), but the Bathurst Show Grounds is the location where the notorious Ox Braai is held. This is a spectacularly drunken affair that is held on about the 28th December every year. Thousands of matriculates, students and locals attend, stocked with an assortment of booze, maybe a bit of food and some water for the hangover – only the seasoned ox braai goers will remember this! By mid afternoon, the show grounds are full of cars, some tents (most people just sleep in their car, if they sleep at all) and people milling about, joyfully swigging from 2L bottles yelling for others to join them on the “cane train”, a delightful, SWEET cocktail consisting of 1 part Cane (a cheap South African spirit) and 2 parts Crème soda. By nighttime, people are jamming on the dance floors or stumbling about trying to find their car and or friends. It gets messy. A torch is a good idea. Why did I never take one?
Anyway! I moseyed along through all the sober people, checking out a big blue tractor here and a pair of funky toe socks there. After looking at the flower arrangements (which in my amateur opinion were mostly pretty kitsch), I stopped to watch the horse riding. I’m afraid I didn’t find it very exciting and didn’t stay long. I’ve never understood the appeal of horse riding. My brother was thrown from a pony when we were younger… well I should quantify this… he denies that it ever happened and Mum doesn’t remember it happening, so I’m left to believe that it didn’t and that I must have dreamt it! Isn’t it funny how some childhood memories and dreams can become so confused? Regardless of whether it happened or not, the (fake) memory has stuck with me and perhaps this is why I find horses rather scary!
I am proud to share that I faced this fear last year with my very wonderful freundin, Vanessa. She was visiting from Germany and was so superly excited when she saw the Beachcomber‘s sign advertising horse riding on the beach that I couldn’t let her go alone. With fake bravado, I mounted the steed and readied myself for a very unsteady ride. For the most part it wasn’t entirely unenjoyable, but cantering up and down sand dunes on my first ever horse ride was a little horrifying and I shan’t be repeating the experience anytime soon!
But I digress. After closing up the stand, we dithered about and had a drink while waiting for the cocktail party to begin. This is actually a rather droll prize giving event, made worse by the fact that our beautiful stand didn’t win anything! Sadness. The Kingswood College stand came second, which slightly lessoned the disappointment, because firstly I went to school there and secondly they had given me a lanyard/lip ice freebie earlier in the day. Everyone loves a freebie!
The best part? The food! I had a kudu burger (yum!) for lunch and a pancake (double yum!) as an afternoon snack.
The second best part? Having to stop for cows to cross the road on the way home. It just seemed the only perfect way to end a day spent at an agricultural show.