Thursday 21 July 2011, 17:42
They save the best/craziest until last here at the Royal Welsh Show. The main ring is filled to bursting with prize winning horses, ponies, cattle, sheep, pigs and goats, each cajoled into behaving itself by some brave soul armed with nothing more than willpower and a short stick to tonk the beast on the nose.
Winners in the ring
Some of them are very male, perhaps disposed to friskiness by the amount of pheromones that must be permeating the air. (Not at all similar to the beer tent, then.)
Even the young 'uns get in on the act, with this foal causing his handler some grief:
The sheer number and variety of animals in the ring is astonishing, and it's a spectacular way in which to effectively close the show. It's the culmination of four days for me of exhausting but highly entertaining work, talking to some fascinating people and seeing some crazy sights.
There's a competition in which statuesque young men hack angles out of poles with an axe, into which they insert a specially-designed plank. They then stand on that plank for the next rung and work their way up. That is almost as puzzlingly entertaining as the sheep shearing.
In the main ring finale, this cow is modelling a great look:
Champion cow with rain protection
That my brain and legs are now shutting down in protest I shall take as a good sign. Sent as a fish out of water, I've grown vestigial lungs. It's been highly educational and largely a very enjoyable week. Of course there are some troubling elements, but those are for others to debate.
Around me BBC staff are dismantling the 'photograph your child as Doctor Who' room, so it's time to sign off. I feel like a less-qualified Alistair Cooke with Letter From Builth Wells. So noswydd da, good evening.