Iím not sure what to say about Skylark this year. They try hard to put on a good show, but even so, I still think that even if people come to go the show, and they are in the minority to the vast numbers who come for the car-boot sale, they look around the car-boot first and then find theyíve spent so long doing that, very few bother to pay to come into the show proper. Saturday was particularly bad for visitors and then the rain put paid to things on Sunday afternoon.
The car-boot had been moved up-field to border the show to help things a little, but this did mean that the showfield shrunk a little from last year. However, there was just about room for all that came along although they had to be inventive with where they parked all the cars on Sunday. Indeed, the car section was very healthy come Sunday albeit for the morning only.
Miniature steam was another healthy section as was the classic camper vans, but stationary engine numbers were pegged at similar levels to last year. Being tucked right at the back, they saw few visitors and most were only too keen to pack up and leave early-to-mid afternoon Sunday, although a few ran their engines through the rain until 4pm in case things improved.
Full size steam were fewer in numbers this year and to my mind there didnít seem as many tractors, although the corn-binder was in residence. Unfortunately, part of the corn was more weed than corn and had to be sorted before the demo could take place, but again this was fenced off in a corner and could be easily missed. Likewise, the ploughing field was across the road outside the site, which made a mockery of no vehicle movements in or out of the site after 10am.
Johnny Dee did his usual excellent job with the PA and entertainment, holding things together superbly throughout the weekend. With a memory for faces and names, he quickly built a rapport with exhibitors taking part in the parades and had the knack of getting straight to the point at times, sometimes to the recipients embarrassment.
There were no modern trucks this time, but each day, some poor unfortunate arrived late with a classic truck and was denied entry to the field, but it has to be said, the cut-off time for entry is known in advance, but again, with tractors moving in and out, why one rule for some and another for others?
However, it is the few traders and caterers I feel really sorry for as they shell out cash to pitch and have little or nothing to show for it, especially when the weather turns. One canít get away from the fact that precious few punters come through the gates to make it all worthwhile for them, and that is first-hand fact from someone I know.