National Ploughing Championships 2011

Great fun at the National Ploughing Championships despite the unearthly rising time.  I’m not a naturally early riser, as I already said, so a 5:30 start is a bit of a jolt to my system.  In these situations, I find that the easiest thing to do is jump out of bed when the alarm goes off and run around the bedroom cursing.

Aaaaaarrrgggghhhh!  What?  What??? What the fuck??  Aaaaarrrggghhh!!!!

Then it’s over and you can have your shower.  Relax.  Put on the kettle.  Pack the stuff in the car and don’t forget the sangidges for the trip.

My travelling companion, a professional musician, operates on an entirely different clock and wouldn’t normally be seen before noon or thereabouts but he nevertheless appears in reasonable cheer when I glide up to his front door with a merry Good  morning and how are you?  At least he doesn’t cleave me in twain with an axe, and this is not only a good start but a relief to me.

Isn’t it a strange world we live in, divided between two different sorts?  We discussed the avian nature of this dichotomy as we whizzed north-eastwards on the new motorway at ludicrously high speeds.  Early birds and night-owls.  I’m a night-owl, as is my companion, which means that our four eyes are hanging down on our cheeks as we zoom through the Irish countryside at 90 miles per hour.  Whoooossshhh.

However, we still manage to strike up a reasonable conversation, extending to the odd probity of tricycles, the intricacies of reading a gas meter, Boyle’s Law and the parallellogram of forces.

Most of the journey passes at satisfyingly high speed.  I recently acquired a motor that I’m very fond of indeed, a high-performance means of transport, and I enjoy driving it very much.  So much, in fact, that I take every opportunity to blast along the motorway at high speed.  Shame on me.

My cunning plan is to avoid the directions of PJ and Seamus, so we burn the road as far as Monasterevin, but unfortunately we run into TJ, Breda, Podge and Margo who wave us straight into a giant traffic jam where we sit for a further 60 minutes, struggling along at one mile per hour until eventually we somehow blunder into a car park called Blue Elephant.

Why is it called the Blue Elephant?  Because people forget numbers.  The idea is that you’ll remember a colour or an animal.  Good idea, as long as you tell your staff what the plan is.  And as long as you hire staff with an IQ at least one degree above absolute zero.  As we leave the car-park, someone drives into a disabled parking space, and the steward points this out to him by saying Fuck you, you ignorant prick.

Aware that the normal professional approach would be to say Excuse me Sir, but I’m afraid you can’t park here, I file the  experience away for future reference. This particular individual has a strong Dublin accent and is wearing a furry Russian hat with ear flaps, but none of this disguises the fact that he happens to be an abusive idiot.  All the car-park stewards appear to have special needs, as I do myself, but since my special needs involve killing car-park stewards, there probably isn’t a grant for it.

The National Ploughing Championship is the anti-festival.  If you’ve ever been to a music festival, just think about the people you met.  They will not be the people you meet at the  National Ploughing Championship.  If you want to guarantee that you don’t bump into someone you met at Electric Picnic, go to the National Ploughing Championship.  If you were at Electric Picnic, I guarantee you that you will meet nobody you share a single thing in common with at the Ploughing.

I happened to remark idly to my travelling companion that this is the Hidden Ireland, and he responded, somewhat worryingly that I might be wrong.  Maybe we’re the hidden Ireland, he said.

And maybe he’s right.

Who do you think I bumped into?

Aye.  That’s right.

Martin McGuinness, the  presidential candidate.

What about you, Martin? I said.

Good, Sir, he replied before he could stop himself.

That’s dead on, mucker, I told him.

I don’t know why exactly, but for some reason, wee Martin left abruptly after a farmer whispered something in his ear.  It was hard to hear with all the generators going, so I can’t really tell you precisely what he said, but Martin didn’t seem too pleased anyways, as they say up north.  Still, his suit was nice.

A great wee suit there, right enough.

Here’s a few pictures from the show.

































































































































































































Just like many a highly respected sportsman, we finally ran out of steam, but at least we could fall back on the excuse that we had no manager.  I could never understand, in the professional era, why it’s not possible to bring a kettle for an unending supply of steam, but that, as they say, is for another day.

And so we trudged back to the car park, or at least, we did our best, but of course we couldn’t find it.

Not to worry.  Let’s ask this steward-looking fellow in the hi-viz jacket.

What was the number, lads?

We parked in the Blue Elephant area.

Ah Jayses, there’s loads of animals now, in fairness.  Ye’d need th’oul number.

Wasn’t that the whole purpose of the animals and the colours?  In case people didn’t notice the number?

Animals everywhere lads.  Christ, I’d say ye’re shagged.  What was the number?

We don’t have the fucking number.  It was the blue fucking elephant fucking car park.  How many fucking elephants have you got at the ploughing fucking championship show fucking thing?

We’d need the number lads, all right?  There’s animals all over the place.



9 thoughts on “National Ploughing Championships 2011

  1. Martin McGuinness was there huh. Jeez, if you’d a known that you would have rolled over and went back to sleep.
    So who won the ploughing?
    And I’m wondering if it got a tad boring could you jump in a tractor for a aul spin up the field..nah?
    Say it was your first time there and you thought it was open to all.. easy mistake.
    Those conversations sound deep for that ungodly hour there Bock..I rang a friend of mine at 11am there of a Saturday morning recently and she says to me ‘what’s wrong with you, you’re up early’. The cheek of it. I’ve gotten up that early before a few times.

  2. Isn’t it grand to get the aul day out all the same, hope there was some high falutin coffee/tea vendor to fill your needs.
    And your early risin brought you to meet the bould Martin who’s mantra of ” Change ” was obliterated in one fell swoop with his usage of ” West Brits ” when discussing his media detractors.
    I love all the rural spake, but not as much as i love old/auld farm machinery……….lovely pics, Thanks.

  3. Heedy Mortal — The old stuff is just for show, but it’s very interesting. People put enormous effort and skill into restoring it.

  4. In my 16 years attending it was one of the best Weather,Car Parking, Moving Traffic .Well Don To All

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