It's tricky if you don't read the exam question correctly. So it was with my horticultural entry for the village show this year: I eagerly awaited the booklet in late spring outlining the categories to be judged and was delighted to be able to tick off a good many that were already underway in the garden; beetroot, cucumbers, courgettes, sweet pea, soft fruit, it looked like being a bumper year. I was also pleased to see the onion category was still key as I was determined to defend my 1st place title of two years. Queen of the Onions me.
So, last Friday, between storms, I hurried about the garden, pantry, shed and greenhouse gathering up my harvest for show prep. I was particularly pleased with my carrots which I'd grown in a stack of 5lt pots, one on top of the other with the bottoms cut out to give height and hopefully length to my crop as well as deterring the dreaded fly. It worked a treat and as I gently excavated, beautiful, perfectly straight (though slim,) 6"to 8" carrots were revealed. Next year I will thin more ruthlessly and water more but this is my chosen growing method from now on.
Hubby is usually my fluffer pre-show but he'd excused himself to Germany for a meeting and wasn't due back till late so I was left with the task of prep. The kitchen smelled wonderfully earthy with the aroma of herbs, fresh cut flowers and a multitude of fruit and veg. The cats looked on, slim pickings for them.
The sproglets weren't home from school till late and after a hasty tea they soon set about their chosen domestic entry, the 10yo making whopping great buttermilk muffins covered in pink icing with antenna of mint Matchmakers. They were obscene. I marvelled at the fact that she was totally in control, very Mastercheffy and looked at me funny when I offered to help. Love it!
The 8yo opted to make a pizza. Again I stood back and waited politely to be asked to help. I was proper redundant. Mummy for sale, two previous owners.... Boy read his packet of Tesco pizza base mix (well, you HAVE to cheat on a Friday night especially when there's Saturday school the next day!) made up his dough, rolled it out [the mess, the mess] and then placed red pesto, mozzarella, red onions, olives and Parma ham artistically around the artisan shaped platter. Lush.
When the sproglets were in bed I finished my prep and that was when I realised that my prize (possibly) onions couldn't be entered for the show. The category was for seed grown onions and I'd grown mine from sets. Bum.
[I say bum, but I'm secretly pleased, don't tell anyone...In my mind I am therefore undefeated. #insanelogic]
The show was fabulous and among other 1sts, 2nds and Commendations I won a 1st for my sweet pea display, even though it looked a bit pathetic and until an hour before the show was covered in greenfly. Apparently the judge admired my choice in variety - this year all my sweet pea were marbled purple or red with strong scents. Who knew.
Roll on next year, I might even enter some of the bigger shows round here - get me!