Monday 13 September 2010

The Village Fete

Henceforth the village fete will be on my social calendar, I don't think I've laughed quite so heartily in several months.

I have a very good friend, (several actually) but this friend is also my business partner and mentor, don't tell her but we call her The Entrepreneur. She is international, swish, sassy, commercial, almost everything I am not but wish to be. She came to stay for a few days, far from her beautiful pristine home on a country estate in the south. When she arrived she looked shattered.

"I keep forgetting just how far from civilization you really are," she said as she slung her leather cased shotgun over her petite shoulders. Wow she's cool.

I'd quite forgotten that we were due to show our vegetables at the village fete that weekend although luckily I had remembered that I'd invited quite a few people for supper on Saturday evening!!

Saturday morning and the house was frenzied, in order to escape the madness, The Entrepreneur volunteered to vacuum the house, readying it for the guests that evening. I almost fainted when I found her removing the cushions from the ancient sofas, lord knows what she would find. I retreated to the kitchen to prepare the supper while hubby and kids selected champion vegetables.


Earlier in the week I'd got myself into a bit of a pickle. A darling gentleman farmer from the village had appeared in the walled garden carrying three onions and giganta marrow. These he'd grown himself using some sort of alchemy; the onions were the size of melons and the stripey green marrow the size of a baby hippo! He suggested I might like to let the sproglets enter them under their names for the village show. While I was totally impressed by his green fingers and was already flicking through my phone thinking which of my single friends could do with a farmer husband of such talents, I knew hubby wouldn't let us enter veg that weren't grown at The Larches, (very honourable is my hubby.) I was between a rock and a harder rock as I didn't want to offend the giver of such gargantuan gifts!

"You should enter them under your name," I urged. But he just wasn't keen. I took the offerings and fretted.

By Wednesday each entrant must deliver an entry form and entry money to the village school. I decided not to include the marrows (one donated by grandma) or the onions in The Larches entry, instead I listed them under Anon: Mr. Too Shy. Fortunately I'd heard on the grapevine that Mr. Too Shy never went to the fete so I would be fine with the pseudonym unless his veg won.


The morning arrived and husband organised the route march to the village hall with all family members carrying produce; eggs, carrots, another huge marrow/courgette from grandma and poorly spelled jam, runner beans etc. The sight of The Entrepreneur walking down our potholed lane carrying Mr Too Shy's monumental marrow will remain with me forever.

At 9:30am we duly 'staged' The Larches veg in the village hall, much to the hilarity of all. I began giggling when I placed our fat 3" cucumber beside a perfectly straight 18" inch competitor. Comments were passed by several of women friends from the village regarding the bigger cucumber but those comments cannot be printed in the blog!

In all The Archers at The Larches entered 9 categories.

Later that day we returned for the verdict. I'm pleased to say that we only had 'see me' style notes from the judges on 2 of the categories: Apparently our courgettes were too big and our carrots, although large, had green tops. There was no comment on the fact that our tomatoes were green and our cucumber minuscule, The Entrepreneur had kindly made us a tomato and cucumber salad on Friday night!! Nor did they berate my hubby for the grubbiness of the potatoes.

But, and I mean BUT! The sodding marrow got the first prize! Bum!

Being a complete coward I asked hubby to break the news to the neighbour and phew! he was quite chuffed, although he did insist we keep the marrow! Cooking the harvest will be my punishment.... don't tell anyone but I really enjoy it! All marrow recipes gratefully accepted.


Saturday night had me fiddling about for something to wear for my supper party. I still haven't caught up on the ironing from the summer holidays so there were slim pickings in the wardrobe. Eventually I settled on the only option, a chocolate brown silk shirt and dark culottes. The first guests arrived as I came down stairs I was just in time.

I felt particularly smug as we were serving Larches Elderflower Champagne poured over a framboise liqueur. Dee-lish-us!

"It won't explode over me will it?" I asked hubby.

The shower of fragrant fizzy wine mostly hit the left side of my head before cascading onto my silk shirt. As I walked up stairs to change I realised there was nothing to change into. While she watched TV in my bed, the 7yo briefly looked up and offered to lick me - not helpful. It was an eventful start to a great supper party even if I was a bit sticky.

If anyone needs some really strong hair mousse you might like to purchase Larches Champagne!


  1. What an hilarious account of the weekend. Good on you in entering your prize vegs to the fete. Gotta start somewhere eh! I have no marrow recipes to share sadly, but I'd love to hear what you do make with that whopper!

  2. Loved this post AND I learned about vegetable judging at the fair (fête), LOL!

    I bought a giant zucchini (marrow??) at the store the other day, they were practically giving it away since it's quasi-impossible to cook - it looked like a baby seal!

    Ended up giving it to the flocks - oh well :-)

  3. Oh how the image of the Entrepreneur hoovering made me giggle! only you could enter a competition under a 'false name' and WIN!

  4. Victoria: It was funny, I keep giggling remembering the Elderflower Champagne shower! My guests asked why I didn't just let go? Simple answer = No brain. Whopper still in dairy.... am thinking I will stuff with rice and chilli tonight and bake in oven...
    Technodoll: Zucchini sounds so much posher. Big ones really need stuffing, seeds out first but we've been steaming the little ones in butter wrapped in foil on the BBQ. Yummy.
    Tania: Oh I KNOW you can see the whole picture... bless you!

  5. Ha ha! I loved this, Lou. I felt like I'd stepped out of my office in grimey old Sydney into a county fair in England.

    Have you noticed that I'm having a marathon read of your lovely blog!? x


The Archers at The Larches

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Snowy and Moon

Snowy and Moon