Well in a few minutes I'll be on the road heading for the last Royal Show ever - bit of an historical moment I suppose, a bit sad. Maybe it's been on the cards for years. Farming is a sideline and no longer as important as it once was - but should we really have given up on the Royal? Should we really give up and give in at a time when our rural and urban societies are still so divided? Surely shows such as this are important to bring these two disparate tribes together. And where better than at The Royal, which brings together all the best from the whole country?
I don't know.
I haven't been to The Royal in 20 years - the last time I had just finished at Seale Hayne Agricultural College and got wildly drunk and landed up asking anyone who was anyone to: "Gi'e us a job".
I got taken on by Farming News but to this day believe it was really all down to the fact I was wearing a very tight white T-shirt and my more obvious attributes sealed the deal rather than my scholarly mien.
I wonder how it has changed....the Show, folks not my attributes: they remain the same (or at least that is what Dear Charlie says!)
Some time later - actually the next day...
I can understand why it's the last one. Not because it is not a great day out, it was and anyone who is within an hour or so do go because you will be so welcomed and it will be such fun.
I spoke to loads of people there from livestock folk, trade stands and retailers, from the guys picking up the litter to the punters walking around - there are lots of reasons why they think it's the last one but probably the most telling thing I saw was the Flower Tent.
Twenty years ago you had to pay extra to go in and when you did it was like walking into a sultry Eden, heavy with the perfume thousands of exotic blooms. At every turn there were simply stunning flower creations, sculptures and concoctions in every hue imaginable and plenty that defied description. I used to be so jealous of all that talent as however much I try I just cannot make flowers do anything but die in a vase.
Now when I walked in it felt half empty, lack lustre and the grass underfoot had not even been mown. It was full of weeds ready to trip you up. At one end there was a table where a florist was preparing to demonstrate the art of flower arranging to a few desultory show goers.
There were some lovely displays but no care had been taken in their placing, there was no drama, no anticipation and to be frank one felt that well - they had given up. Perhaps this really was Eden but after Eve had eaten of the apple.
Down the cattle lines and in among the pigs and sheep there was a much livelier atmosphere but also a kind of desperation; I felt that everyone was looking for that last rosette confirmation that they had been there, when something great had died.
Somewhere along the line something went badly wrong at The Royal Show for I can tell you other shows I attend are jumpin' The Royal Welsh, The Suffolk and The Great Yorkshire Show seem, at least to me the mere punter, to be packed out and thriving.
Yesterday I asked what had heralded The Royal's demise and these were tha answers I got:
Too much emphasis on the corporates
So busy chasing down sponsorship that the fundamentals were forgotten
Letting a management company in who alienated the smaller trade folk
Lack of care for the details
Cutting corners on hospitality
In essence failing to care for the members, their wants and needs and letting greed get in the way. But there again haven't we all been doing that?
PS. If you are still waiting for my report have a look at The Best of British Mummy Blogger Carnival over at http://britsinbosnia.blogspot.com/