There’s a show on at the moment, in a big tin shed in London’s docklands.
In it you can find garden furniture, wooden ducks wearing yellow wellies, and things to hang on the wall of your living room described as ‘contemporary fine art’ (which of those words is true, we speculated with someone on a neighbouring stand: is it contemporary, is it fine and is it art?). Then there are stands promoting hot-tubs and spa baths, conservatories, cars, frying pans and cooking utensils, something of distinctly velocipedal appearance that bears an uncanny resemblance to a penny farthing that’s been through a hot wash, high-heeled shoes for the ladies (and any gents who might be that way inclined), beds, pillows and duvets, walking sticks, and things you stand on that wobble under your feet and no doubt make you a better person.
If you need a rest and fancy walking out carefully coiffed or freshly frizzed, you can visit the hair-dresser. Just around the corner the RSPB will be delighted to sign you up and relieve you of some dosh, and you can add a rosy glow (or perhaps a rosé glow) to your day by stopping at one of the vintners or stands offering wine-tastings.
So what’s going on in this shed? Is it The Ideal Home Show? (wrong – that’s at Olympia in March). No, silly – it’s the London Boat Show of course! Didn’t you guess? But then how could you? We forgot to mention that it also includes boats.
No doubt the welly-wearing ducks and the barbecue tables with bonfires in the middle are of the highest quality, and after all they’re the attractions that draw people in, but scattering the odd boat around is considered to add a touch of glamour. You have to interpret the word ‘boat’ fairly loosely: some are the size of small icebergs, though rather less interesting to look at, and burn enough fossil fuel every 100 yards to melt most of the polar ice cap and create a few hundred breakaway berglings on their own. Others are distinctly more boat-like, though you won’t find that many of them. Instead of buying a boat, you could always invest in a nautically-themed shirt or a Breton cap as a tangible reminder that you’ve been to a boat show.
Just in case this is being read by anyone involved with the show, we should of course add that it’s a great event, a must-go for anyone interested in boating, and a fantastic showcase for the marine industry. And for the wooden-ducks-in-yellow-wellies industry too.