Retail therapy at the Royal Welsh Show

Thursday 21 July 2011, 16:03

James McLaren James McLaren

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Trust me to go for a lengthy walk a short while ago during the heaviest shower we've yet had at the Royal Welsh. Oh tell a lie, now is the heaviest shower and thank goodness I'm back in the palatial BBC building. Next door the Village SOS room is full to bursting all of a sudden. They must be fascinated by the displays.

I take a walk down to the enormous (must think of a few new adjectives for this place) retail area, with craft and food stalls huddled together with charities, clothing emporia and all manner of things you never knew you needed, or even knew existed.

There are some wonderful example of greengrocers' grammar and spelling, with this one catching my eye especially:

Shop sign

Even God gets in on the action, with a large tent exclaiming 'Dying for Jesus' and featuring some sort of puppet show. It's busy, and it's not even raining.

I stop by the Greyhound Rescue Wales stand where a little cross-breed takes a liking to my beard, while at the Dogs Trust they appear to have found the cutest dog available to draw the donations.

Various craftsmen and women shine, whittle, fletch, chisel and whet their wares next to people coating hot dogs in sauce or strawberries in chocolate. And here I am, full of sandwich and already having my full complement of novelty shoehorns. Shame.

Walking around between the stands and marquees I see a disparity between the people at either end of the site. I get the impression that some of the crowd here must simply be here for some retail therapy, while others at the top end of the site may never venture beyond the show rings. Each to their own, and it's part of what the last four days has shown me: the Royal Welsh Show is as disparate as its 226,407-strong audience.

Derek Brockway has just shown me his radar. It's like someone's sneezed all over Wales. My drive back this evening over the Brecon Beacons should be fun.

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