Driving through the village the other day I was a bit taken aback by a brightly coloured figure lurking in the corner opposite the old pump. I needn’t have worried. It wasn’t going to step out in front of the car as it turned out to be a scarecrow, part of one of the many competitions taking place for the Flower Show on Saturday.
A really proper, old fashioned marquee had been put up on the playing field for the flower and produce displays and the village hall was serving steaming cups of tea and homemade cakes. With rainclouds being driven across the sky by a brisk breeze, we were lucky to escape a soaking and the sun even came out from time to time.
There were two lady llamas on display. They make odd high-pitched mooing noises and tried to turn away from the camera shyly whenever I came near waving my phone. Apparently they are very good at guarding livestock as they can be quite aggressive if anyone unknown comes along.
As expected, there were lots of traditional activities, such as ‘hook-a-duck’ and stalls selling cakes (the Women’s Institute now rebranded as County Something). We pottered around admiring a couple of girls selling professional-looking preserves and a gluten-free range (very Zeitgeisty) and watched the adults’ running-backwards race, just starting below.
Everyone seemed in a good mood and, while the bric-a-brac at the car boot tables was a bit half-hearted by the time we turned up two hours into the afternoon, we all came away with something that suited us. In my case, a bulb vase for 50p, my friend with some sheet music for her daughter and her husband, popping back to the WI, with a cake for tea.
I was tempted to buy a verbena plant at the plant stall, thinking maybe third time lucky, but I didn’t. I just don’t think I can grow them here. Not that this is a verbena in the pushchair before anyone points this out. That much I do know!
My ‘best bit’ – which was something I always made sure to ask my children about whenever they went to any events when they were small – was the produce on show in the marquee.
There were competitions for the most scary vegetable creation, the best vegetable person and the best plant jewellery, which is a brilliant way of getting children to engage with vegetables. Growing them can frankly be a little boring and disappointing if you’re small. Children are so creative and it must have been a lot of fun making the entries. I hope not too many of the mums ended up making them at half past midnight on the night before!
There were also the traditional fruit and vegetable displays. Comfortingly, there was nothing outstandingly vast, other than a huge cabbage and a giant lettuce. I remember being quite put off by some enormously long parsnips one year.
I do love the conventions around how things like beetroot and onions are displayed. It’s so very decorative.
It looks like the entrants must do it for the love of taking part or the kudos of winning a trophy. They certainly can’t be in it for the prize money, which is very modest indeed.
Mmm, anyway time to go home for tea and cake…