No matter which way you looked at it, the bulls had four buttocks. Lined up, ready to strut into the show ring at the Great Yorkshire Show, rosettes on their shiny new collars, coats freshly coiffed and tails trimmed of poo, they were splendid specimens of bovine breeding. But yet they had four buttocks. I counted them. One. Two. Three. Four. Noel counted them. One. Two. Three Four. Yup. Four.
Son-in-law Tom, a cattle farmer, has tried his best to educate the two oldie townies in countryside know-how. As we entered the cattle sheds at the show, he explained that the cows were the ones with the boobies and the bulls, well, they really didn't need any explanation, it was plain to see and would definitely have had someone's eye out.
The buttock phenomenon, as we came to call it, had a simple explanation. People like rump steak, the more rumps, the more steak, these beasts were bred for their buttocks. It's enough to turn you vegetarian.
We were at the Great Yorkshire Show with most of the population of the north of England, Scotland, the Cotswolds, part of Greater London and Holland. The place was heaving, no-one walked, we all moved together in one blobby mass of ice-cream-eating humanity. Together we watched the show jumping, held our breath as we walked past the pig pens, gasped at the lumberjacks as they shinned up the posts, tested the meats and cheeses in the food hall and collected little bottles of yoghurt handed out by the trayload.
We met up with Hannah, Tom and birthday girl Lizzie, who's three tomorrow. As a farmer's daughter she can name every piece of heavy equipment, along with its manufacturer. She's not phased by the cattle and sheep – there's plenty of those at home. But the goats, well, they were a real eye opener for her, she had to give every goat a little pat on the bottom, and there were a lot of them. Fortunately they only had two buttocks, otherwise we'd have been there all day.