CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Somerset Life today CLICK HERE

Rupert Cox: Reflecting on 2017

PUBLISHED: 16:22 04 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:22 04 December 2017

Rupert Cox (c) Jeremy Long / JCL PHOTOGRAPHY

Rupert Cox (c) Jeremy Long / JCL PHOTOGRAPHY


Our columnist reflects on an action packed year

Going out and about in the county as I do on a regular basis I hear from the growing band of Somerset Life readers who now comment on my monthly article. Reassuring; yes, but with a tinge of pressure in that I have to be careful not to be repetitive. This is especially troublesome for the December edition when one can easily fall into the nativity theme like granny slipping harmlessly into another bottle of Baileys during the Queen’s speech!

I will revert to the other standard fayre of December publications and provide a review of 2017, but through the eyes of this rural dweller.

In January I was lucky enough to be selected to play cricket for Great Britain & Ireland Rotary in Christchurch, New Zealand. I say ‘selected’, when the reality is that if you want to play, you can! My 56-year-old creaking bones could proudly hold their own against octogenarian Rotarians from Australia and New Zealand, while struggling to compete with the youthful enthusiasm of those from the Indian sub-continent. That said, not many people can say they have played cricket for their country!

Meanwhile, back at base, the fantastic team putting the Royal Bath & West Show together were beavering away with sponsorship, trade stands, entries, corporate hospitality inquiries and early bird super saver tickets flying out the door.

My job was to trawl around the county pontificating the virtues of our wonderful show at a variety of events from Probus lunches, Rotary suppers and Young Farmer dinner dances, to the wonderfully named Wells Men’s Breakfast Club. With this array of food-fuelled gatherings it is hardly surprising that the much talked about personal trainer came into play keeping me fighting fit for future sporting endeavours.

The third Royal Bath & West Show of my tenure passed off without much alarm, which in itself is a result. All we ever want is for the 135,000 or so visitors to have an enjoyable and entertaining day, stay safe, keep dry and go home happy, which we achieved barring a small scad of summer rain.

The crazy kids with their BMX bikes and skate boards at the National Adventure Sports Show had similarly fine weather, but then the Christian camping rally, New Wine, arrived in mid-July.

It rained on them in biblical proportions. Not only were they praying for the rain to stop, so were our farmers who faced one of the most challenging wet harvests on record with only those growing maize experiencing record crops grown in ideal conditions.

Just when I thought my weather luck was going to run out, The Dairy Show was blessed with fantastic autumnal sunshine to get everyone smiling again.

Finally to politics! We started the year with an alleged steady hand on the tiller, then an indecisive General Election, no progress on Brexit, culminating in subcutaneous rumblings of another leadership challenge.

The weakness of the pound brought about by such political uncertainty has yielded an increase in milk prices of 30 per cent in 12 months, but the uncertainty of what the promised land might look like is challenging even the most optimistic agriculturalist.

Enough skilled labour, markets not subsumed with tariffs and the future of financial support for farming are the key issues that will ultimately affect not just the prosperity of farming, but the price of food to the consumer. Remember; no farmer, no food!

Merry Christmas!

Get in touch at

Rupert Cox is the CEO of the Royal Bath and West Society. For more from Rupert, follow him on Twitter! @rupert_rbw


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Somerset Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Somerset Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Somerset Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Simone Stanbrook-Byrne explores two villages on the Mendip Hills and the tranquil paths that link them

Read more
Thursday, October 4, 2018

Whatever the season, we love exploring Portishead!

Read more
Monday, October 1, 2018

Given to the people of Bath as a gift from a local benefactor 80 years ago, the tranquil Alice Park is thriving, as Chrissy Harris discovers

Read more
Friday, September 28, 2018

When a town can boast having three community orchards offering free fruit for all, you know you’ve arrived somewhere special. Laurence McJannet marches to Wellington for some culinary surprises

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

As the colder months draw in, and golden and red hues fill the trees, there’s nothing quite like gathering the family for a stroll through the countryside. Embrace the fresh air, wrap up warm and soak in the beauty of Somerset on these 10 autumn walks

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Steve Roberts traces the trials and tribulations behind the construction of a famous Bristol landmark

Read more
Friday, September 14, 2018

This month Andrea Cowan visits Withypool

Read more
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Crunchy leaves under foot, bracing walks in beautiful countryside and along the coast, cream teas in cosy tea rooms and charming pubs with roaring fireplaces – what’s not to love about autumn in the Somerset?

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

A wander through Somerton’s streets reveals a perfectly preserved rural Somerset town, discovers Laurence McJannet

Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Take a family walk in Watchet, exploring both town and countryside, with Simone Stanbrook-Byrne

Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

From beautiful gardens to iconic attractions, fascinating museums to family-friendly theme parks, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to a family day out in Somerset

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

There’s nothing more appealing than a row of picture-perfect properties in some of Somerset’s most beautiful locations. Which street is your favourite in the county?

Read more
Monday, August 20, 2018

Steve Roberts steps back in time to see how the Monmouth Rebellion impacted on our county

Read more
Thursday, August 16, 2018

Stephen Roberts explores a Somerset manor house packed with centuries of history

Read more
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

subscription ad

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search