Bath and West Show Special – pictorial issue


This series of pictures has very little to do with Samuel Pepys but more to do with our observations on a day out to the biggest show in the South West of England. The city of London in which Pepys lived was very overcrowded with buildings hanging over each other, street sanitation leaving much to be desired, animals being shepherded to market heading to the interest of the aroma. Needless to say, the city garden was an unknown phenomenon.  The Bath and West Show started as a purely agricultural event in 1852 and has been going strong ever since.

We arrived this morning at the venue, a couple of miles south of Shepton Mallet, at 10 AM.  We left at 4:30 PM having done justice to about 30% of the show. In case you are wondering, the dimensions of the field or area of the show are 360,00 square meters (800mx450m).   We were active and going around all the time but there is so much to see. I would almost say you could fill up 2 days but at £25 a day you would probably think twice about that.

You never know quite what is going to happen. We started with a pig judging, then the same with horses. We watched sheep shearing and a very lively Army Brass Band. Both are videos.

There is a predominance of commercial stands, and that is how they survive I suppose, but there are many arts and cultural events, and a lot of demonstrations and trials including more exotic events like the judging of alpacas. It is fair to say that there are no bargains to be had with food, if largely because the people had to pay such high rentals. The food is definitely mass produced and about the same price as you would pay on the high Street if not a little more. By careful selection you can find very good locally produced food for example in the food tent so don’t dash and by the first thing you see.

I should add that I attended the Church Marquee as I normally do where tea and coffee was on offer for a donation and in fact I gave not much less than I would have done had I had to pay. It was indeed a happy atmosphere and free from creeping commercialism. Interesting Christian books were on sale.

as my wife would point out, there are fat men as well as women. Junk food, plus lack of exercise will do it for most of them.

It was noticeable how many unhealthy people there were attending. Grossly fat and distended people with overweight children. Mountains of blubber flopping about. I can describe it in no other way. Do these people have no sense of self-respect or are they so dumbed down that they don’t even notice their size. I notice that some of the women have to lean back slightly so great are the size of their breasts. This cannot be be comfortable. Airlines are keen to charge us for an extra kilogram of weight. Is anyone brave enough to charge people accordingly?

Anyway, one picture is worth 1000 words so here follows a pictorial essay. This is only a small selection but I’m just trying to give you some flavour of what is on offer.

these wonderful people do this for a living and exhibit all over the world. What a lovely way of giving happiness to others.
a very contented mum with her 10 piglets
most definitely an enthusiast with his miniature steam engine
1947 milk float. Taken to Australia with an emigrant and then returned to the UK. In working order.



detail of the 125 cc engine
carnivorous plants in great abundance and variety
first prize in its class
packed full of vegetables no room for anything else
another exhibit, garden shed and all
a happy wreath
not the shoes you would use to go to the supermarket but very entertaining nevertheless
and if you want a metal crusher for all the tin cans that end up in your garden this is the place to come

Pepys -our theatre performance interrupted due to a hail storm


Wednesday 1 June 1664

Up, having lain long, going to bed very late after the ending of my accounts. Being up Mr. Hollyard came to me, and to my great sorrow, after his great assuring me that I could not possibly have the stone again, he tells me that he do verily fear that I have it again, and has brought me something to dissolve it, which do make me very much troubled, and pray to God to ease me.

He gone, I down by water to Woolwich and Deptford to look after the dispatch of the ships, all the way reading Mr. Spencer’s Book of Prodigys, which is most ingeniously writ, both for matter and style.

Home at noon, and my little girl got me my dinner, and I presently out by water and landed at Somerset stairs, and thence through Covent Garden, where I met with Mr. Southwell (Sir W. Pen’s friend), who tells me the very sad newes of my Lord Tiviott’s and nineteen more commission officers being killed at Tangier by the Moores, by an ambush of the enemy upon them, while they were surveying their lines; which is very sad, and, he says, afflicts the King much. Thence to W. Joyce’s, where by appointment I met my wife (but neither of them at home), and she and I to the King’s house, and saw “The Silent Woman;” but methought not so well done or so good a play as I formerly thought it to be, or else I am nowadays out of humour. Before the play was done, it fell such a storm of hayle, that we in the middle of the pit were fain to rise;1 and all the house in a disorder, and so my wife and I out and got into a little alehouse, and staid there an hour after the play was done before we could get a coach, which at last we did (and by chance took up Joyce Norton and Mrs. Bowles. and set them at home), and so home ourselves, and I, after a little to my office, so home to supper and to bed.