Last weekend I helped (wo)man our work marquee during a local agricultural show. I'd helped a couple of years ago and it had been a gloriously warm and sunny late summer's day. However, this year, well - it was a little different.....
Friday, the day before, when the marquee had been set up, the field was bone dry and required quite hefty hammering to get the pegs into the ground but by the time I arrived on the Saturday morning - the field had the consistency of chocolate butter icing sliding off a hot cake.....
Let me start at the beginning.
The agricultural show rotates between three villages within the valley so although I'd attended before, I was not exactly sure where I was going this time. Himself and I checked out the map the night before and we worked out that I knew most of the route apart from a section that traversed over a section of the moors but as that seemed just to be a single direct road, I was not worried.
All through the night I could hear the rain against the window and when we got up in the morning it was still wet with low cloud and poor visibility. Never mind I reasoned, the marquee was already up and I would wrap up warmly.
As I waved Himself good bye and set off, the skies cleared a little while the weather report on the radio cheerfully informed me that by 11 am the cloud would lift and the sun would blaze down - yay!
I trundled through the countryside - I knew I would take about 40 -50 mins to get to the show grounds and the roads were lovely and quiet at that time of the morning so I was fine.
Well, I was fine until I reached the moorland road when the clouds dropped and visibility became so poor with the roads signs few and far between.
I kept following the road, frequently checking the map but I felt I was not on track. I felt I was heading the wrong way. Then after 10 minutes, I landed in a village that was in the opposite direction. I fortunately knew the village and could now get myself over the moors and back into the correct valley.
When I finally reached the show grounds, there was a maHOOOsive queue to get in. Uh oh - cars were stuck in the mud trying to get on to the fields. I leapt out of the car and ran forward to a steward and pointed to my little car bursting full of goodies for our stall and he instantly agreed that there was no way I could get on and off safely without some sort of rescue. The steward said 'just pop over the field and park there'...
I followed his gestating hand and looked across a sloping field rutted and gouged by large four by four vehicles and agricultural plant and already parked up with rather expensive looking cars. How on earth was my little car going to get over that??
I ran back to my car, which now was blocking the traffic, leapt in and put it into a low gear took a big breath and turned toward the mud.
Within moments I could feel that I was going to slide and lose control (I hate driving in snow for the same reason). Argh.
As I was just ticking over, a car moved, creating a space and with a huge sigh of relief I managed to roll (slide) the car into the spot. My heart was pounding coz I was so worried I was going to slide into another car or into the river bordering the field. All around me were stewards yelling and pulling cars out of the mud, cows mooing and sheep baaing. There were tractors and trailers wheel spinning and mud flying.
Several trips from the car to the marquee later - I was drenched and splattered in mud up to my knees. Yet all around, although nearly everyone else looked the same, there were smiles and laughter.
The rain came in waves and between the showers we managed to get out and about and see the exhibits and watch the competitions. During the morning, we chatted to visitors, supplying drinks both hot and cold as well as shelter from the rain.
The staff in the morning swapped over at lunch and in that brief dry moment I decided rather than risk another walk around the show I thought I better get my car off the parking field. I waved goodbye and slushed my way out the field.
Oh my goodness.
The mud, the mud.
I walked the possible route I would drive off the field - planning to roll down broadsiding the ruts towards the river and then use a stony mound to 'sling-shot' me to the right and hopefully onto the stony track. Now all I had to do was to get it to work.
Deep breath. Roll car, bump through mud, hit stony bank, accelerate carefully, slide, slide and by sheer luck, get one tyre on the track which was just enough to pull me off the field! Woo hoo!!
I even got a cheer from the stewards. Other vehicles needed a bit of assistance :)
Driving home when the brief window of sunlight closed and the clouds grew thick and dark and the rain returned. With the windscreens on full, I missed the all essential turn off and got myself lost on the moor road AGAIN! But this time, I just carried on until I found a village I recognised and got myself home (eventually).
The weather certainly played a part in the visitor numbers but it was a lovely friendly (if a little damp) little show.
My car,my boots and my jeans took quite a bit of cleaning!