Girl in the Country: The Rathmorris Show
THE Show is approaching. Being a nearly new resident of Rathmorris this meant little to me when Imelda tweeted “3 days to go!” at me. In order to research for comprehensive Rathmorris travel guide have decided is my calling, immediately went to pub and located Farmer.
‘What is ‘show’?’ I asked him to a look of bewilderment. Useless. Decided to ask Paddy instead, as most-respected publican in a two kilometre radius he was bound to know the sitch. The Rathmorris Show, he informed me, is the height-h (he added the extra H, not I) of the social calendar round these parts. Causing every resident of the Village to resume previous year’s attempts to bake ‘Best Cake in Show’, style ‘Best Posy of Wild Weeds’ and provide ‘Pet’.
Was obviously intrigued by same, Imelda definitely had best pet in her pig Patrick (named after the most-respected publican in two kilometre radius).
On fateful day (a Thursday, for why?) made sure to spend adequate time decorating myself Glasto-style with wild flowers in hair, short-shorts and wellies. Trotted down road to the Field in manner of festival hippy complete with picnic rug and stashed G&T. Only slightly put off my stride as Farmer passed in his tractor (noticeably shinier than usual) driving far too fast for a man on a hideous green and yellow machine.
On arrival at Show noticed distinct lack of beer tent/main stage areas so joined congregation around small, fenced off area containing one sheep. Grass beneath sheep was crudely painted with a numbered grid with villagers excitedly waiting for sheep to, ahem, do its business. A few of the older farmers were getting quite excited waving betting slips under the nose of all-round Rathmorris bad ‘un Peter Sheridan who was calling out odds in, must say, a professional manner.
Was just getting into betting and about to have a flutter myself when excitement was interrupted by shriek that sounded a lot like Imelda, followed by Patrick the pig hot-footing (hot-trottering?) it off away up the field. Paddy was in pursuit, commandeering Bishop Michael’s (it was a BIG event) bicycle. Not that he noticed, intent as he was on filling in his betting slip.
Being a professional bark-keep and not a Tour De France cyclist, it wasn’t long before Paddy came to a stop, then fell off the bike. If only had decent camera phone, a shot of Paddy on fall would have been a cert for ‘Best Photo of Paddy’.
Went over to comfort Imelda with G&T and reassure Patrick the pig would no doubt soon return. Took a corner in quiet part of the Field to watch judging of ‘Best Pet’, Imelda perked up after few gulps of the G&T and was in good enough form to suggest we retire to the pub. Martina (sister of Imelda and wife of Paddy) was more attune to what one would expect from a festival, having blocked assembled farmers from accessing the jukebox and instead playing ‘New Music’.
From within the depths of the pub suddenly emerged Paddy carrying one dirty Patrick pig. ‘Hurrah!’ cheered I,
‘Hurrah!’ cheered Imelda.
‘Pig auction!’ cheered the farmers. According to Martina and Imelda this is traditional end to Show, Patrick wasn’t so much a pet as yet to be pork chops.
‘Boo,’ said I quietly.
‘Pigs in blankets?’ asked Martina proffering pub fayre of chips, chicken and sausage baskets…
Photos c/o denisedyoung.com