It’s the Ploughing Championships this week, Ireland’s biggest agricultural event, taking place over three days. Starting in 1931, it has gone from an event with a few farmers ploughing to having over 300,000 in attendance.
People will be attending in their droves, many arriving early to try and beat the crowds. Here’s some tips to show you how perfect farm wives prepare for a good day out at the Ploughing.
The perfect farm wife will plan her strategy for the entire day – the best route to take, the optimum time to arrive, the best car parks, the quickest way to leave and get home. She goes equipped with all essentials for the day, planning for all eventualities and armed with raingear as well as sun block. Hoping that the toilets will be proper cubicles with sinks and hot water, she brings packets of wipes in case those dreaded portaloos have to be used. Their phone numbers will be written on the arms of each and every child and she will arrange a meeting place in case the mobile signal is poor. She’ll take a photo of the carpark name and number so there’s no chance of forgetting where the car is!
The perfect farm wife will plan her schedule for the entire day; she has pored over the list of events and the map and will be sitting in prime position for the fashion shows, the cookery demonstrations and the sheep dog trials.
If it is an early start for the Ploughing Championships, she goes armed with tubberware containers of ham sandwiches and queen cakes and flasks of tea. Knowing the children are unlikely to eat a breakfast before they leave home, they have their breakfast in the car park when they arrive. The picnic is large enough to provide them with a substantial tea that evening and they even bring a couple of deckchairs to lounge on as they watch other cars joining the queue to get out of the muddy field.
Style – the Right Wellies
The perfect farm wife could be a contender for the “most appropriately dressed lady” at the Ploughing Championships. Wearing layers so she can add or discard a layer as the day warms up or gets cooler, not to mention a raincoat in a neat pack in her bag. She might even enter the “most appropriately dressed lady” competition.
Her wellies will be clean, perhaps brightly coloured, but will definitely show the scars of hard work on the farm.
Just as the farmer uses the Ploughing Championship to meet up with salespeople and friends, she will do exactly the same, continuing on the farm tradition of using the Ploughing Championships as a event to socialise and meet friends, young and old. She’ll be joining in the #ploughing17 hashtag, meeting other farmers in the women in farming groups and going to the “women in ag” panel in the Irish Independent tent at 11am on Tuesday morning (yes, updated for 2017).
The Ploughing Championships also offers a shopping heaven. Whether she is looking for the best furniture polish, new wellingtons or a new kitchen, she can shop until she drops. As long as she doesn’t put a deposit on a new kitchen while he’s ordering a new milking parlour at the same time, they should have a lovely day out.
Update: September 2018 – this is the first year in ages that I haven’t been selling books or doing interviews at the Ploughing (am on a panel with Agriland at 2pm on Wednesday). I’m looking forward to having a relaxed day moseying around and meeting people. However, of course, if you would like to get hold of my books, you can get my first three books, Would You Marry a Farmer?, How to be a Perfect Farm Wife and An Ideal Farm Husband either on this website or on Amazon. My memoir, Till the Cows Come Home, published by Black and White Publishing, is in all good bookshops and on Amazon.