David Calling

The Show Is On

Erwood is a very small village in mid-Wales, where I live. Every year, the surrounding farmers get together at the end of August for a show. They aim to win prizes for their sheep, their dogs, and horses. Immaculately turned-out children trot and canter round the ring on immaculately turned-out ponies.  Everybody seems to know, or at least be able to identify, everybody else.  Men and women here are living as generations before them have lived.  There’s a beer tent of course, and among the many stands is a bookseller. From him I bought for about ten dollars P. G.Wodehouse’s Very Good, Jeeves in its prewar orange binding. Opening the book at random, I found the hero Bertie Wooster describing a girlfriend as “a ghastly dynamic exhibit who read Nietzsche and had a laugh like waves breaking on a stern and rock-bound coast.” What Islamists are really up against, I thought as the sun was sending evening shadow across the Welsh hills, is a show like this, native manners, and humor.


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