It was a tossup as to whether to crack on with the combining or wait another day and trust the weather forecast which had promised a good week ahead. Being a bit of an optimist I opted for the latter and went to the show. I am really glad I did as it was a perfect day. I bumped into many friends, admired some wonderful beef cattle and hopefully put it about amongst the Sussex cattle breeding fraternity that I am on the lookout for some stores. I think that due to the shortage of winter forage there will be rather more than usual which will be looking for a home for the winter.
On Friday I collected the first intake of young stock from my friend Giles Pritchard-Gordon’s lovely pure Sussex herd. Giles has a very special herd and I am delighted that this year he has had a glut of male calves which are now grazing happily in my fields. Fortunately the recent wet weather has resulted in an abundance of grass which although lacking in feed value there is plenty to keep them ticking over.
On Saturday evening the South of England Agriculture Society hosted The Royal British Legion’s ‘Tunes of Glory’, a wonderful Military Tattoo and Concert which took place in the Ardingly Ring. This event was arranged and sponsored by the Ditchling and District Branch of the Royal British Legion, Bernard Mason the President and Tom Jones who is chairman were immensely supportive and drove the event forward. Bernard a Bomber Command veteran was one of a dozen veterans who were signing fundraising prints and answering questions about their wartime experiences. Tom whose mother in law Dame Vera Lynn was the Guest of Honour and as usual took a keen and active interest in the proceedings, directed events and ensured the occasion ran smoothly
Just before the start of the Military Tattoo two Spitfires of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flew over the showground. Each time they returned they swooped ever lower banking steeply, it was a wonderful sight to see and hear and one which was clearly evocative to many in the audience. I noticed a number of elderly gentlemen openly shedding a tear.
For those who enjoy a military band they were in luck as the bands of the Royal British Legion Youth Band, the Kohima band of the Princess of Wales Regiment, the Band of HM Royal Marines, Plymouth, and the Reading Scottish Pipe Band all took their turn to stir the air and raise the spirits. It is always interesting to watch the reaction of an audience when military bands are playing, the music appears to bring to the surface a feeling of what I believe is national pride and optimism. I wish such events could be offered to a larger audience.
The second half of the evening was the Concert with performances by Blake, Hayley Westenra and Corporal Nirmal Thapa the principle piper 1st Battalion the Royal Ghurkha Rifles who performed Highland Cathedral.
A firework display brought the proceeding to a close with accompanying lasers and a parade with torches by the Commercial Square Bonfire Society, Lewes. Tunes of Glory was a wonderful tribute to all those who have over the years protected our nation and ensured that Great Britain has remained free. I do congratulate all those who were instrumental in putting this wonderful occasion together.
There has recently been an over exposure of political autobiographies. The huge excitement and anticipation by the media and in particular the BBC was I believe somewhat excessive. The publication of books by both Lord Mandelson and Tony Blair has proved to be something of a letdown, in both cases they are self gratifying and we have learnt nothing new. In the case of Tony Blair it is disappointing but not surprising that considering the seriousness of the consequences of his actions and dubious nature of decisions he made, he appears to trivialise events during his ten years in Downing Street but elevate his personal importance.
As has been quoted in the press on a number of occasions this past week, the one thing which was confirmed was that he was and is a wonderful actor; I suspect he missed his vocation. Sadly for many reasons I believe the pity is that we did not miss his time as Prime Minister.
Carola Godman Law