NORFOLK SHOW REVISITED
29th JULY 2020
NORFOLK SHOW REVISITED
29th JULY 2020
So today would have been the second day of the Norfolk Show - our county’s oldest and most wonderful show case.
I have memories of the Norfolk Show going back to childhood, when we would all get days off school so that we could visit. My most prominent memories of those early days are the excitement of collecting free things - although I suspect the things themselves were not very exciting - just bags of leaflets and a chest full of stickers. Although not a professional photographer then, my dad was there with his trusty Kodak Retinet and I remember his excitement when he managed to snap the current Miss World who was visiting the show!
I didn’t visit the show in adulthood for many years until I took my son Tom when he was about 3 or 4. I don’t remember this fondly. Tom was always keen to "escape" from parental clutches so the thought of losing him amongst the hordes was my overriding fear. I also seem to remember that he managed to stomp is way though the biggest cow pat not long after we arrived!
From 2004 onwards however our family were regulars at the show. My Dad was the official photographer for the event from 1997, and in 2004 he needed help with coverage as he had the onerous task of following Prince Charles around the show as he was officiating that year. 2004 was also the year that we got our first digital camera and this was the first time I think that I used it professionally – it certainly was a baptism of fire! The next year dad's shot list seemed to have grown considerably so I joined him again to help with the coverage- as did my husband Geoff.
It really was a great job and real way of doing all kinds of photography in a very short space of time. One minute you might be photographing a celebrity – the next farmers trying to herd reluctant pigs around a ring! The days were long, starting around 7.00 for the preparation of animals for showing and a finishing late, at around 8 in the evening. We needed plenty of food and drink to keep us going – we must have walked miles around the ground over the two days (if only I’d had a Fitbit then), but we were always well catered for in the Stewards’ refreshment marquee for our breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea.
In the first few years that we worked as a family there were four of us. My dad, myself and Geoff with the cameras, while mum had the itinerary on her clip board and tried to keep us organised. She did a brilliant job -in spite of my dad doing his famous disappearing acts!
Soon we were joined by our children Tom and Reya. Reya came in very handy when we needed a tame child to pose in a photo (permission forms were the bane of our lives) and she has fond memories of entering the alpaca handling competition (before the goat people had them banned) where she came third. Tom also came on board in the last couple of years as a photographer so there were now 3 generations of us at work - happy days!
2012 was the last show that we all covered. The retirement of the late John Purling and Sarah de Chair saw new management and new ways of doing things - and ultimately Dad lost the contract.
I have been back to the show a couple of times since - working for individual clients of ours and then on an exhibition stand for the Wayland area, but nothing will come close to those fabulous years of us working as a family at the show. Over the years we made many friends and contacts many of whom I’m still in touch with today. It was bloody hard work but immensely satisfying- especially at the end of the day when we could trade in a "refreshment voucher" for a well earned Pimms!