Some of you have been loving the Royal Smithfield Show remembered stories dredged up from The Raider's dark and distant past.

The NFU's Christine Cuthbertson recalled the first time she went down to the show at a student. "It was with a lecturer and fellow students at SAC Auchincruive, circa 1993 – and talk about country comes to town!" she said.

"I was perplexed when we went up the escalator in Earl’s Court to come into view with the all the cattle and naively thought that the cattle had taken the escalator up to their stalls as well – much to the hilarity of my student pals!

"It still makes me giggle when I think of the beasts standing on an escalator just like the shoppers in Harrods. I also fondly recall all the bright Pringle jumpers and the sound of segs on the pavement from all the farmers in the ‘Leicester Square’ area – much to the bafflement of the London city slickers!"

That reminded The Raider of how it was impossible to see the naughty action on stage at Raymond's Revuebar for bunnet and shepherd's crooks ... according to a friend!.

Dining hacks

Prompted by the chat about heading to Topo Gigio's with Brian Pack when in London for Smithfield, our Euro Notebook writer, Richard Wright, also recalled accompanying the Scottish press pack to The Mayflower Chinese restaurant, in Shaftesbury Avenue.

This had been at the behest of Perth-based agri-photographer, Louis Flood snr, who had got the recommendation from his local Chinese restaurant owner, John Chan, of the Jade Garden, in Perth.

Little did we know that they were expecting us and we ate and drank the very best all night for £20 a pop! No menu choice, they just fed us until we could eat no more ... and with guys like the late Big Joe Watson, from the P and J, around, that took some doing!

Lamb not on the menu

THERE was a wee bit of a red face for Rachel Wilson, from Milnbank Texels at Carlisle, recently.

Rachel was acting as the 'dug at the gate' when she allowed her dad, Robbie's Texel gimmers to escape into the canteen at Carlisle market.

A gate mishap indeed, but there wasn't even lamb on the menu! It would have been a dear dinner, though, as one went on to top the sale at 2200gns.

Still not tongue-tied

Him of the garish ties, wee Johnnie Paterson, from Garrionhaugh, on the flatlands near Wishaw, has not had much occasion to pared his unusual line in neckwear this year at all.

The pawky character, who incidentally turns 70 in the first couple of days into the New Year – yes I couldn’t believe it either, I also thought he was much older! – is still managing to make his neighbours and pals smile.

He’s come up with a great excuse for a nice malt dram or two. He’s been telling his long suffering wife, Anne, that his whisky stash is actually a Covid-19 home testing kit – he uses it to check whether he has lost his taste and smell!

Preferring a blend

Gordon Rennie, from St Andrews appears to be putting his recent semi-retirement to good use by winding people up!

He posed a Christmas teaser: "In 1981, I gained a Guinness World Record for wheat yield at 14 tonnes per ha over an entire field and on the whole field of 45 acres, including hedges etc. So, it was a genuine field yield.

"If we had the same growing conditions as 1981, but instead of a blend of Virtue, Mardler and Hustler, we grew a three-way blend of the current highest yielding varieties, such as Skyscaper etc, how much greater would the yield be?"

He recalled first attending a cereal open day, aged 16, some 50 years ago: "Clever scientists have told the audience every year since that there is a new wheat variety that is 3% higher yielding. However, we must accept that once a new variety is actually grown over large areas, the 3% soon becomes 1%.

"In replicated trials by SAC, any time they include a three-way blend – must be the correct three varieties, though ­– we can expect a 3% yield increase."

So why don't we use blends anymore, he asked? Answers on a used seed packet ...