Article by Guy Bell: Farmers and steam enthusiasts joined forces in the annual celebration of everything rural at Barleylands Farm in Billericay.
The 29th annual Essex Country Show wowed the thousands of visitors from across the country who took in modern machinery, replica steam engines and a stunt bike display.
Classic cars, craft shops and motorbike displays kept the masses entertained during one of the biggest rural events in the county's calendar.
Spread across two days on Saturday and Sunday, devotees travelled the length of the country to make it to the event.
Christopher Benett, who travelled from Ware in Hertfordshire, said the weekend was "spectacular" and is already counting down the days to find out how the show will compare next year.
The 23-year-old, who works as a football odds analyst in London, said:
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Christopher"]I have been here a few times before and it is mostly the steam engines I am interested in. The last time I came was five years ago and it is as good as I can remember. One of my friends at home has a model steam engine and he is here showing it off with other farming machinery.[/quote]
Christopher is hopeful his generation, as well as younger children, can keep the agricultural world turning as the annual show evolves.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Christopher"]This is one of those events you stick in the calendar. It is one of the biggest events in the area. It is good seeing younger people looking at the steam engines, because if they aren't interested in it we won't have anyone to bring them to events in the future. It needs the younger generation to take it on.[/quote]
Educating the young is something Ray Hoskins has done with his four inch to one foot scaled steam engine.
The 68-year-old, from Portsmouth, said:
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Ray"]We have been coming here for ten years and we really enjoy meeting everyone who comes along. Every show each year is great. The model goes into the trailer and we tow it up the motorway. We get it out and set it up and people come and take a look at it. Some of the children who come round to us have never seen coal before and we have to teach them all about it. We just explain what the engine does and how it works.[/quote]
Mr Hoskins said he is often asked questions about their speed, with the figure of eight mph doing little to impress.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Ray"]The first thing kids ask is how fast it goes and they don't realise how bad the roads were back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. We do shows every other weekend and it is like touring. What we like about coming here is the organisers are so nice and grateful for you travelling all this way. Barleylands owner Chris Philpott put himself out and shook hands with us and thanked us for coming.[/quote]
Adam Ormiston, 53, enjoys taking a break from the city to take in the wonders of woodwork and farming.
The NHS project manager said:
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Adam"]It is a great day out and my wife and I have had a good time watching the motorbikes. You can't go to anything like this in London because it is all built up and there is no rural area. There is absolutely everything here, like agricultural machinery and steam engines, and I appreciate anything to do with crafts as well. I like motocross so seeing the bikes is pretty special, watching them do their tricks. I will definitely be coming here next year if I can get here.[/quote]
By Words: Guy Bell
Pictures: Laura Johnson