In the villages of rural Wales, this is the season of the local show - the culmination of a year's hard work by the local show committee. For several years I was one of the group of dedicated volunteers that managed Berriew Show. My responsibilities were confined to the flower and veg tent. There is a lot of preparation needed for the big day. While I was an Assembly Member, I attended several 'county shows' - the Three Counties at Carmarthen, the Pembrokeshire Show at Haverfordwest, the itinerant Meirionydd Show, the Vale of Glamorgan show and the oldest of all, Brecon Show. Now I restrict myself to the local shows of Montgomeryshire. Yesterday, I attended the Carno Show (1.00 - 3.30) and the Llanfyllin Show (4.30 - 6.00). Have to go to Carno now that the family have married into the village. And I've gone to Llanfyllin Show from time to time throughout my life. I'll never forget a horse slipping in a galloway race once upon a time, and having to be put down. I was a little boy and remember being very upset.
Now, you may well ask what is going on in the photograph. Well, its the highlight of the show (though the local MP and AM entering the stocks and allowing wet sponges to be thrown at them may have appealed to some). Its terrier racing. This is one of the heats. You will notice that there is handicapping (on length of leg I think). The man in charge is Stephen Moyle, and you should be able to spot the 'hare' in his hand. When Stephen blows the whistle, the 'hare' is pulled down the track mechanically, and the terriers are released. Its hilarious, especially when the equipment fails (as it always does) and the terriers catch the quarry. Stephen is funnier than Tommy Cooper. The terrier racing in Llanfyllin Show is even more chaotic because its a circuit. Yesterday there was much cutting of corners, several stewards enquiries, disqualifications, one re-run - and no-one knew who won. Total chaos. Just as it should be, and just like last year. Unmissable.
There are serious competitions as well. This is the sheep shearing final. I'm always interested, because I was a sheep shearer myself. If I'm elected as an MP, I'll enter next year. Shearing is like riding a bike. Once learned, never forgotten. It just takes a bit longer, and you can't manage as many. 20 is enough these days - rather than the 200 a day I used to manage. Its a competition for powerful, super fit, young men of the countryside, with well honed bodies. There were several ladies amongst the spectators.