Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Royal Hobart Show 2011

It was time to return to the Show after 2 years away. After all, we get the day off for a reason. And that reason is: diving pigs. And the also very handsome non-diving pigs, goats, cattle and sheep.

It was a stinking hot day yesterday, and today promised to be almost as bad. We planned to get to the showgrounds early but failed. My workmate who is a member of the Agricultural Society gave us his free entry and free parking tickets. This was a fantastic bonus - saved us nearly fifty bucks. But we did waste time driving all over looking for the members' parking area, which we never found.

Meet you at the sign o' the smoking gun-totin' cowboy puppy
Having saved the entry fee, I was determined to embrace the spirit of the show, and not carp about the cost of things. The boys went into their first of two giant bouncy castles. They loved it, and I loved seeing them in there sticking together among the teeming bouncing dozens of kids. There was a slide and they went down with their arms around each other several times.

I have to have a dagwood dog at the show, so that was next. They came without sauce - which is an outrage. There were squirt bottles there, with a choice of tomato, bbq, mayo etc, but everyone knows that a dagwood has to be dipped head-first in about 100 fl oz of sauce. You just cannot get enough on it with a squirt bottle. While we ate the dagwoods, we watched knights in armour from the Society for Creative Anachronism, bash each other with swords.

The combat went on for a surprisingly long time. Knight 1 would defeat Knight 2, then they would have a rest while Knight 3 defeated Knight 4. Sort and repeat. They were all pretty beefy men and I admired their persistence. They wound up with a sort of tag team all-in, then turned to us and bowed. Crazy.

We just had time for an ice cream before the Racing and Diving Pigs. A grizzled old country-music-star-looking showman has been touring the land with his pigs for 20 years. He was announced as “The voice of pig racing...” The boys were up the front and probably saw it all, but I saw no pork until the diving pigs came on at the end. They trot down a kind of gangplank that suddenly ends above a little swimming pool. It's pretty steep and there is no going back. They pause and try to retreat, fail, and then it looks like its just going to be an undignified flailing plunge. But it's not! Pig thrusts out front legs in internationally recognised "dive" pose, and dives into the pool. Impressive.

It was Farm Mammal time. We started with the dairy cows - holy hell, there were some whoppers. I love the country kids who are up in town for the week, and occupying a camp in a stall with a cow/pig/anglo-nubian goat. A couple of littlies sitting on chairs had rigged a rubber spider on a thread, dangling from a rafter. As punters walked past the kids would release the thread and spider them up a bit. Occasional screams. Old fashioned laffs. We covered all the standard farm animals. Pigs - sometimes look a bit too human. I am not saying they should be made to wear pants - but some of those pigs should have gone to the toilet before they left home. That's all I'm saying.

We went on the boys’ first serious ride, the Gee Whizzer. Because of having kids, neither Elf or I have been on one in decades. Elf went with Marcus then I went with Michael, taking it in turns to mind the growing pile of stuff. The Gee Whizzer was more violent than it looked, but Michael loved it, and I loved it too, in a fun plane-crashy kind of way.

It was crowded and very hot in the showbag pavilion. We had made a recon earlier in the day, but I was dismayed to realise that no-one had actually made up their mind yet what they wanted. After some false starts, we plumped for the Skittles (Michael, $7) and the Original Idiot Bag (Marcus, $20). The latter included a skateboard. Yes, an actual skateboard.

This morning Michael had been ungracious about having to leave the house for a day at the Show. In an attempt to jolly him along, I mentioned some of the things he had loved last time, when he was 4 years old. These included the very sedate boat roundabout ride. When we got to that ride, he insisted on having a go. He barely fit in the boat, looked ridiculous, and highly bored. The ride went on and on. I said to him afterwards that he is probably the only person that's ever taken that boat ride who can name 12 Egyptian gods.

And that was about it. It was similar in many ways to our last visit to Melbourne Zoo - very hot day, incredible number of tatts on show, and a surprising number of Muslim families with the ladies in full hijab. Of course there were face-pierced bogans, but this is their thing now. It's only marginally about agriculture - its more about face-pierced bogans. They were all on their best behaviour and I have no complaints. If the Show was held in South Hobart it would be a South Hobartly po-faced blend of Circus Arts, Pilates demonstrations and organic pumpkin bread.


Nobody said...

Plenty of piercings, plenty of tatts, plenty of jorts (jean shorts)

Although I didn't see the pig events, I did see Dagwoods that had clearly been immersed in sauce.

I also watched the Braaap bikes, and wondered at how the owner /spruiker (and apparently 'inspiring' young business man) could keep a straight face when speaking about the importance of education about safe riding etc etc when the riders were clearly hooning all around him.

There was also some pretty heavy balloon competition going on between Middle of the Road FM stations.

chris.dadness said...

Oh, the radio passive aggression was a joy to watch. 7ZRs Leon was loitering by the Cooke and/or Moores (HO?), checking out the balloon and sticker offerings. Someone from HO slipped around behind him and started quietly taking photos of him with the HO livery as a backdrop.

I wondered if you'd be showside - I shoulda rung. I saw the Bellchamberses there.

I too saw correctly assembled Dagwoods and that made me feel angry.