It was a visit to Tatton with a difference. For several visits I have been a competitor, a member of a team for the National Vegetable Society, displaying vegetables to the general public, but this year the Society had refrained from having an entry. The pandemic has done damage to voluntary societies, for during the period of lockdown some members gave up,got out of the habit of coming or died, and not all have been replaced. My branch is down to small numbers and two of those, myself included, are disabled. But we take a positive view. Tatton is back, and that is cause to rejoice.
The second change, for me, was that I used a wheel chair. I don't usually use one, but as my medical condition involves a loss of balance.I am reluctant to walk among crowds, which can be quite dense at times. A wheel chair was the safest option. It was strange not to be going under my own power, but needs must, and I had the support of my ever-loyal wife, Maureen to push the chair. We were not on grass, as the show uses metal walkways and in the tents and marquees the grass is dry.
The other problem was the rain, for at times it was torrential, so the aim was to do your lingering inside the tents. I was well wrapped up with waterproof protection, and on our return home I was only slightly wet, but rain does not prevent enjoyment, it was at worst a minor inconvenience. You get wetter in the shower, so live with it. After all it was in North West England, what else can we expect?
The show was smaller this year than it previously was, but the essential character remains. It has the distinctive atmosphere of a horticultural and cultural event, and I think it is a genteel cultural institution descended from the traditional English country fair.