South of England Show
One of my favourite 24 hour periods of the year starts on a Wednesday afternoon in early June. The South of England show runs from Thursday to Saturday, and Wednesday is set up day. We sponsor classes in the pig competition, and I know a lot of people in the cattle classes as well, so we are heavily involved. I love the buzz and atmosphere as the animal handlers unload, and set themselves up for the show. Cleaning and grooming goes on late into the night. This year I chatted with a girl trimming and drying her prize cow with an electric hairdryer at 10 PM. I finally left the cattle shed at 11 PM, and preparation was still going on. Handlers often sleep alongside their animals. Early next morning it is great to be part of the show as it wakes up and gets ready for the day’s events.
This year I was also involved with the vintage farm machinery display. In “Taking Part” I have written about my David Brown 880 Selectamatic, and since writing that chapter I have acquired two more David Browns. In 1965 the company launched its Selectamatic range with three models, the 770, the 880 and the 990. Marking the 50th anniversary of the launch of the range, I decided to acquire the full set, and I found a nicely restored 770 quickly. The 990 was a greater challenge and I had to buy one in fairly poor condition, which was then extensively restored. John Weetman, a local agricultural engineer, did a great job on the 990, and restored it to almost concours condition. My three David Browns were proudly lined up at the front of the vintage agricultural machinery stand, and attracted a lot of favourable attention. Of course, I explained the connection between David Brown and Aston Martin. It always surprises me how few people are aware of this, even though they are very familiar with the “DB” nomenclature that is still used by Aston Martin today.