Lambeth Chucklehead Show

Question: What do the green plover, the peewit and the lapwing have in common?

Answer: They are all the same bird.

The reason you didn’t know this is that you live in the city, and thank God for that. Just imagine how much we’d have to remember if we lived in the country.

But this weekend the country comes to us in the form of the Lambeth Country Show, a much-loved fixture in the South London summer calendar, which takes over Brockwell Park, Herne Hill, for its 42nd year. There will be flowers. There will be vegetables. There will be sheep and owls, ducks and falcons, jams and chutneys and all the other things that remind you why you never watch Countryfile.

On the plus side, Incognito and Johnny Clarke are playing on the main stage and 1000 (one thousand) Kate Bush’s are lined up to perform Wuthering Heights on the Saturday, which might just be the best thing anybody’s ever seen.

Running down that hill

But there is one thing above all that makes the Lambeth Country Show special and that, of course, is Chucklehead cider.

As most South Londoners know, Chucklehead is the single greatest thing ever to have come from the countryside. And so, from the moment the gates open on Saturday until they sell out on Sunday afternoon (you have been warned) a perpetual queue of thirsty apple-lovers snakes out from the food tent, patiently awaiting their fix of this amazing Devon cider.

Chuckle brothers
Chuckle brothers

Londoners don’t usually spend the day sitting on grass, shearing sheep and discussing plovers, but with the Chucklehead flowing it feels like the most natural thing in the world. And as the fruity ethanol weaves its psychedelic magic you’re not sure if that jousting tournament actually happened – not to mention the Kate invasion – but it all seems to have a deep and meaningful atavistic resonance, doesn’t it, and can you pass the flagon, please?

At 6.5%, first you feel your legs go, then your inhibitions, followed shortly by your clothes. By 7pm you’re dancing round fires, chanting and making ritual sacrifices to the apple gods. By 9pm you’re being sick by the bins outside Herne Hill Sainsbury’s.

And then there’s Sunday. Let the Devon take the hindmost.

Lambeth Country Show 2016
Brockwell Park
Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th July, 12pm-8pm


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Image credits: Main image and Chuckle brothers by Miles Eames