If ever proof was needed of the fact of global warming it could have been found in Halifax, Yorkshire on Saturday. It could have been found in the near cloudless sky, in the preponderance of sun hats, in the absence of mud, and on the smiles of the thousands who turned out for the annual Halifax Agricultural Show. Tradition has it locally that it always rains for the Show. Fate dictates it, manufacturers of umbrellas and Wellington boots plan for it. Cumulonimbus clouds are held in a holding pattern over the Atlantic for days ahead in order to adequately prepare for it. Occasionally there will be a pretence of fine weather - just enough to make you leave your galoshes and trench coat at home - a pretence that will be flushed into the watercourse by a sudden sharp shower. But on Saturday the sun shone. On Saturday the rain stayed away. As I walked around the showground in my shirt sleeves I couldn't help wondering whether the world was about to come to an end.
Global warming aside, it was a memorable day. There were marquees full of show hens, stalls full of sheep and cows and parade rings full of horses. There were birds of prey, antique tractors, llamas, and dogs, dogs and more dogs. There were kids sat on their fathers' shoulders to get a better view, old farmers casting a critical eye over a neighbours' prize cow, and pensioners testing out the grip on a new walking stick. Perhaps my favourite memory of the day was in the sheep judging ring. The judge and all the people showing their prize sheep were dressed in immaculate white coats. The judge, wearing a splendid straw hat, cast an expert eye over all the entrants. When he eventually made his decision and handed the prize cards out he raised his straw hat to each of the contestants. I don't know why, but there was something about the gesture which summed up the whole day to me. There was tradition and there was a certain solidity. Perhaps the world isn't going to come to an end just yet.