Sunday, 3 June 2007
Blessed are the cheese-makers
Ever since I first heard about this, it has been number one on my list of dairy product races to attend. Surprisingly, I wasn't the only one. I thought there would be a small crowd of drunken travellers trying to compete on the day, and that I'd have no problem joining in. I had no idea how popular idio-tourism has become! (In case you haven't heard of the new phenomenon that is idio-tourism - and I'd be surprised if you had, since I just made it up - it's the term to cover all those weird events that people decide to go to after a few too many drinks, like the running of the bulls... or university exams.)
To begin with a bus driver lied to us and told us the event was cancelled. After spending an hour in Gloucester, and faced with the prospect of another 7 hours to spend there, we decided to get on the bus and go to Coopers Hill anyway. This was followed by a 40 minute trek up hill and down dale, across muddy fields, over barbed wire fences, and around herds of cows. By the time we got to the bit of the hill where the race was held, the place was packed and there was no chance of fighting my way to the top for the privilege of tumbling all the way back down. To be honest, seeing the hill 'in person', I was kind of glad. I think the Aussies we saw on the train had the right idea - get drunk beforehand (hmm... perhaps that's another rule of idio-tourism, not only should it be conceived in drunkenness, but should be performed drunk as well).
Long story short - ok, not short, just not as long as it could have been - I didn't get to run, but I did get to witness an event that reminds you that there must be a god, and that he's a mean bastard with a cruel sense of humour. In the picture above, you may notice that the cheese has gone a little off course, and is heading straight at the one person not watching the cheese - the cameraman. There's also an 'after' shot, with the cameraman doubled over in pain. Truly a great moment, and made all the greater for sharing it with several hundred strangers in the middle of nowhere on a muddy hillside... there's something magical about the sound of all those people wincing in unison.
Speaking of wincing, I can't finish this post without rolling out a few cheesy puns (that's just to warm up)... The event was fantastic, and Coopers Hill is impressive... but I was really disappointed that I didn't get to rennet! (*Boom-Tish*)