Our Village Show is wonderful. Who knows how long it has been operating, although one gentleman farmer told me it had taken him 40 years to win the prized Show Cup. As relative newcomers to the area [we celebrated our 2 year anniversary on 28th August,] we already cherish this event. It seems to bring the huge summer growing season to a close, a precursor for Harvest Festival. This year the 8yo and the 6yo wanted to join in too.
The Village Fete and Show took place this past Saturday so there was mayhem in The Larches last Friday. After taking the children to school I dashed back to uproot the walled garden in search of winning veg. I rather regretted entering the family into 28 judged classes, but being that I was out of the wind behind the old stone walls and the late season sun was beating on my back, I soon had a good array of produce to choose from. The good news being that I might grow 'em and supply 'em but hubby had volunteered to prep and present them.
The Dwarf French Beans have been awesome, with bushes less than two foot in diameter and not much taller [perfect crop for a small garden or container] producing between 10 or 20 good sized beans, this has been more than enough for a meal for four on each bush each picking, just a shame there wasn't a show category for them! However, one of the entries was a display of veg with 'no less than 5 kinds of vegetables,' so this allowed me to enter all sorts of produce, including these beans, my tiny Jack Be Little pumpkins and my delish garlic, (pic above.)
The potatoes and onions weren't an issue as they have been safe and dry in hessian sacks in the 'dairy,' (the name we call our walk-in pantry,) for some weeks now. The beetroot was easy to harvest, the big purple globes sitting high above the soil. The carrots were woeful: Too small, full of holes, too wiggly or else blessed with extra hands and toes!
Cucumbers were easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, there were lots of ridged heavy fruit weighing the stem down, as I snipped them off one by one the stem sprang to attention on its tied string, grateful for the relief I'm sure.
Runner beans were fine too, tomatoes dreadful...sigh.... courgettes good..... Flowers WONDERFUL...
The 8yo entered 10 classes and was placed in 7! Wow-wee. She won first prize for a poem written in ink, thanks to her handwriting, and received a silver platter trophy which she keeps for the next year. She also won first prize for a vegetable salad on a tea plate and first prize for a miniature garden and for each first prize she was awarded a medal.
The 6yo won first prize for his Autumn (musical) shaker and was placed 3rd for his miniature garden. Hilariously he'd placed all his Star Wars figures in the dense undergrowth. He was placed in 3 classes having entered 7.
Personally I could retire happy, (but I won't!) this is because I won first prize for my onions.... Oh Yeah! [Big Head. Big Head] Apparently they were perfectly harvested - whatever that means. Husband maintains that it was due to his excellent presentation..! and absolutely nothing to do with me improving the soil in the raised beds, planting the sets last Autumn, caring for them over winter then lovingly lifting them, drying them and storing them. Nooooo, it was all him.
Won 1st prize for my herbs - ( that's 'erbs in American... sooo multilingual me....) and out of the 11 categories I entered, I was placed in 8 classes. Overall in the show I was placed joint third sharing the honour with a proper good gardener who excels in growing tomatoes, (I may need to ask him if I could be his apprentice.)
I. was. So. Happy.
There were a couple of faux pas; the first was when my big flower display was judged in the wrong category. Having entered it as a large wedding arrangement somehow it got moved into the hedgerow display class. [Sabotage d'ya think? Hmmmm... maybe someone thought it was too messy for a wedding display and moved it into the correct class????] Anyhow I won 3rd prize in the hedgerow category (what!?) but I also received a cute note from the judge asking whether all the flowers had been collected from the hedgerows..... cough, cough, oops! The really galling thing about this class is that I was actually pipped to 2nd place by the 8yo. She was chuffed to bits.
The second slip up came at the end of the Fete - Prize Giving. I noted with delight that there were ornate silver trophies for winners. I may not have been paying full attention to the proceedings as I was gossiping with my friend, when she suddenly nudged me.
'Your name's been called!' She said. ' Go! Go!'
I positively skipped to the awards table, excusing myself through the dense crowd of locals. The HUGE silver bowl was absolutely amazing and I gathered it to my breast.... they do love my gardening, they do love my gardening....
A more senior lady, also standing in front of the table looked perplexed, turns out the bling was hers and they'd only called out my name to confirm I was joint third overall.... no sexy silver for me.... I contemplated legging it but in the end chose to grovel and hand it back. How embarrassing!