Mr. Wooster gave me the morning off, and I have just returned from a sojourn to what seems to be an American tradition: the State Fair.
The fairgrounds are a strange mix of Picadilly Circus, Covent Garden, The Drones Club, and a barnyard, dotted with numerous livestock pavilions, carnival attractions, and food stands. I was taken aback at the simultaneous ingenuity and propensity to disgust exhibited by the myriad stands devoted to foods on a stick, which foods ranged from the ridiculous (Irish Stew?) to the sublime (Caramel apple). I was treated to the fair's official treat, the cream puff, and admit that I was quite taken by the silky pastry wonder. In fact, one imagines the entire culinary enterprise of the fair could have been devoted to dairy, pie, and various sausages without any sticks whatsoever, and still have been a success, without the humiliation of spaghetti-and-meatballs-on-a-stick. (I note that as an Englishman, I may not have much room to speak on this subject.)
I was able to watch the judging portion of some sort of bovine competition, although one would be hard pressed to elucidate what, exactly, the criteria were upon which the beasts were judged. There was rather a great deal of lowing and cud-masticating, but I do feel certain the animals were judged on other points, as well. Additionally, I took in the majestic splendour of the magnificent Clydesdale workhorses, and the somewhat silly attitudes of the braying goats and sheep. Although Mr. Bassington-Bassington encouraged me to find the poultry pavilion, I admit the task was daunting, and I was unable to comply.
I have never in my life been accosted by so many people in such unfortunate suits of clothing. If one did not know any better, one might infer that some of the gentry were completely blind when selecting their costumes from their closets, or, at the very least, were dressing as circus clowns to better enjoy the festivities.
There were a number of spectacular mechanized contraptions upon which patrons could enjoy wildly spinning out of control. This, combined with the odor of the livestock, the fried-cream-cheese-and-bacon-on-a-stick, the seemingly free-flowing taps of beer, and the omni-present flourescent T-shirts went, one imagines, a long way toward what must have been the intended goal of making oneself ill.
Certainly, nothing compares to this in England, nor do I expect anything ever shall.