Posted by: thebluemusicblog | August 26, 2013


Is God under time pressure, or is it His church that is feeling the heat of the day? This very interesting question I found myself asking myself as I visited the Egton Agricultural Show a few days ago.

Far away from international organizations in Geneva, and really far away from a very disturbed world with geopolitical challenges very difficult to get your head around, is a very charming and traditional part of country life in the UK, namely Agricultural Shows. How is it that such a show can present me with rather existential questions, and also force me to express all my confusion in one single question?

IMG_2178This proud representative of modern livestock and future beef material seems quite unimpressed with all the prizes he received at the show, but who knows, maybe he is really full of well deserved pride and joy? Am I like him?

IMG_2181I was impressed with the sheep, too. They were full of energy and had won several prizes. Did I feel envy? The biggest surprise of the day, however, came to me when I walked a few yards further along the sheep stalls and found the below portrayed superb exposition of a true Yorkshire farmer with no less than three prizes attached to his stall.

IMG_2186When asked, he admitted that he had got no prize for the hair cut. His name was written on a very modest poster, and I must say he looked both content and friendly, our well awarded Mr Wood. The situation should later develop into something a wee bit more complicated than what it looks like here.

IMG_2173This lady had got no prize whatsoever, and looked really gloomy. Her name tag was not modest at all, but had made no impression on the judges.

IMG_2174An agricultural show contains much more than livestock and angry birds. It is the drama behind the stages, underneath the surface, the inner human drama, normally so well described in novels and films, like the ones being sold in the next photo.

IMG_2159The drama started right here in the book tent. I went crazy in this boot, and was only saved by the sign telling: “Buy now – collect later!”

IMG_2164The drama continued with music to go with it. The guy to the right had no obvious purpose on stage, he had no instrument, he did not know the text and his foot stamping was out of general rhythm, at least compared with his companions’ rhythm. He was probably just there to make the stage look better, or was he from the CIA?

IMG_2166This guy, Mr John Berriman, I presume, a rocker from my time of ages, was carrying the heat and the burden of the day and put all of us in the most excellent mood, and took attention away from the dark clouds assembling over the marquees and the rest of us in the most threatening way. By saying this, I did not refer to the manner, in which Mr Berriman took away the attention from the clouds, but more the threatening ways of the clouds themselves.

IMG_2150Threatening clouds above the marquees, the same clouds Mr Berriman made us forget about through his excellent music, for more information, see paragraph above.

IMG_2182The drama is heating up. Our Yorkshire Farmer with all his prizes is visited by just one more judge, this time a female judge, and our Yorkshireman can not understand why this judge is not awarding him any new prizes, and he is asking if it has anything to do with his haircut? As tensions are building between judge and judgee (meaning judged), we leave them before it becomes physical.

IMG_2191Where is this lovely dressed gentleman heading, I wonder?

IMG_2160Our well dressed gentleman was not heading for the Church tent, where he would have had the opportunity to ask God one single question. I was approached by the Church tent myself, or rather from the occupants of the Church tent, but I never made it to ask any questions, since the initial conversation was interrupted by the before mentioned threatening clouds all of a sudden starting to open up rather violent bursts of rain, and the Church representatives became acutely involved in saving their evangelical books from the above mentioned threatening clouds and the rain coming down rather heavily from the same clouds. My one question would have been very short, but pointed, and, I would add, in the solid tradition of contextualized theology. The question would have been: WHY? And this question would of course relate to the sudden outburst of rain and the unpleasant consequences for the Egton Agricultural Show. I also would have wanted to ask the people from the Church tent if they felt that God was under a particular pressure and stress, since we were all somehow asked to refrain from asking more than one question. I do not know if the well dressed gentleman from the last photo had more than one question to ask God, and that this might have been the reason for avoiding the Church tent altogether?

IMG_2152Ahh! So it was not a religious urge behind our rambling and well dressed gentleman at all! He was not seeking the opportunity to ask God one single question, on the contrary, his sole interest was to have his expenses as judge covered, and I guess that involved also not more than one question, namely: Where is the money?

IMG_2189Here the highest level of judges discussing the one question posed by the exposed Yorkshire farmer, who has now formally complained about the female judge, who obviously involved the haircut of the Yorkshire farmer in her judging. One of these three judges is  just now making an argument that they should appeal to the law enforcing officers to remove the Yorkshire farmer from the area of the sheep at all.

IMG_2190It takes just one, long gaze up at the lonely and abandoned Yorkshireman for the Police to decide against any action against him, and in stead the Police Officers engage in a heated debate with two other female judges on the very dubious relevance of the haircut of the Yorkshireman.

IMG_2183Lonely and abandoned Yorkshire farmer with unsuccessful haircut. With his head bowed, he looks like he may have more than one question to ask, be it to God or to the judges of the Agricultural Show at Egton.

IMG_2149The Lonely Rider enters the drama, turns to the right, and just behind the Roast Inn she beholds the lonely Yorkshireman.

IMG_2170With all these carefully hand crafted walking sticks, the natural question both for the Lonely Rider, the Abandoned Yorkshireman as well as for all the judges of the Agricultural Show, becomes simple, and expressed in the local dialect: QUO VADIS?

IMG_2171And the answer is obvious to all of us: Let us go to the competition of the best bread and the best cake and study the first prize winner before we say goodbye to an adventurous day at the Agricultural Show and return to our base in the late evening where we can reflect on the existential and theological elements such a visit to an English Agricultural Show always leaves its visitors with. The only real difficult challenge as we are following the sun as it sets in the ocean (meaning observing the sun setting in the ocean, not following it into the deep seas) is how to squeeze all these existential questions into one single question?

IMG_2320Home base with lamp in a Yorkshire coastal village, reflecting on existential questions as the sun is disappearing after an exciting day at the Egton Agricultural Show in North Yorkshire, summer of 2013. As the sun is disappearing, the usefulness of a lamp becomes more obvious.


  1. A delightful departure from the norm ! If this was a test to see who reads your blogs Johan, I just passed !! 🙂

    • Thank you, Chris, most appreciated! Maybe time to add some new dimensions?

  2. Dejligt at noget stadig er, som det næsten altid har været!

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