Day 4 (Rest day) – Cows and pigs and LOTS of tweed

Day 4 was scheduled to be a rest day, having (rightly) assumed when planning that the first few weeks would be tough going. After the short day yesterday and an early night, I was feeling better, but my legs were still too stiff to allow me to climb stairs without wincing, and my feet were very swollen. So, although it was tempting to push on and complete the section to Perranporth, I decided to take the day off as planned.

We had a very luxurious lie-in (so far, one or both kids has woken up each night at between 1 and 3am, but both were dead to the world until about 8am) and then headed to Wadebridge for the Royal Cornwall County Show.

I have to confess to being extremely keen on county shows. As a city girl born and bred, whose knowledge of farming comes almost entirely from the Archers, I am fascinated by all the shiny machinery and huge animals. We go each year to the Essex show, but this was definitely the real thing. Displays of robotic milking machines (strangely hypnotic), thousands of horses, cows, sheep, pigs, goats and poultry, a four-county gymkhana, craft and food tents, vintage cars, a funfair with steam-powered rides, a hunting hounds display, portable sawmills and a bouncy castle. Oh, and a ride called (in flashing lit-up letters) ‘The Wall Of Death’. Apart from the exorbitant entry fee, it was all extremely satisfying, even if I didn’t get to see any Shire horses.

Both kids were fascinated by the animals, especially the parade of champion breeds which came past us about two feet away. It was truly awesome – massive animals, tons of packed muscle, being controlled effortlessly by their owners with a mere twitch of the wrist.

I can also truthfully say I have never seen so much tweed in one place. Most of the men and a good proportion of the women there were wearing at least a tweed jacket. In fact, there were whole stalls selling it – odd tweedy knee-length skirt suits that looked like something taken straight out of a WWII film, but which I assume have some specific and essential function in the countryside.

We didn’t buy any tweed; we did try to buy some Cornish Yarg (cheese) but they had sold out, so we opted for handmade chocolates instead. Both children, too tired to speak, and covered in sticky remnants of strawberries and icecream, fell asleep on the way home. Result!

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