Last weekend we (Mrs C and our children) all went to the Bath and West show near Shepton Mallett in Somerset. This was the first time I had been to an agricultural show and it was also a first for the children.
It was a huge show and we didn’t really know where to start. We had no plan and so just walked in and went where we thought looked good, led by the children.
We started off by looking at pigs and sheep. We saw some sheep being ‘shown’ by young handlers, which was good fun as well as a bit bizarre – kids in what looked like white doctor coats parading sheep on leads.
The showing of animals really brought home the fact that these types of events are showcases for farming best practice – here farmers demonstrate their craft skills, such as animal husbandry. Many people living in towns or cities probably don’t go to these shows, which is a shame as there is a lot to learn.
We then moved on and found the British Army stands – the boys loved playing on the tanks. We then found the Imagineering tent which was a surprise. This tent was full of stands representing local employers and colleges in the engineering sector.
It was a tent full of science games for children. The likes of AugustaWestland (helicopter manufacturer) and Airbus were there. Stalls were manned by graduates or interns who helped kids make things and try experiments. Kate on the AugustaWestland stand spent an age with our children helping them draw and colour in pictures of helicopters.
I was amazed at how good the graduates were with the children. There was a real buzz in the tent and our children just wanted to stay. In the end, we spent most of the afternoon in the tent then had some food and headed home.
Bit counter-intuitive to go to an agricultural show and spend most of the day learning about science and engineering but it worked for us.
I thought this was a great mix of event content and activity and props to the employers who provided these activities for the children.
Before I left I asked Kate if there was a gender inbalance in her office. She said she was one of only two women in an office of 50. Clearly some way to go then. But, with initiatives like this one those kinds of barriers for girls and women will hopefully start to come down.