Saturday, 20 August 2011

It's show time!
Katie hangs on to them as the wind picks up

Today was the allotment show, our largest annual gathering of the 280 sites from in and around Richmond and East Sheen and a chance for the general public to take a look at the fruits of our labour.

We have a BBQ, drinks stand, cake and preserves sales as well as book and bric-a-brac stalls all in aid of the society. The highlight of proceedings is the produce show, own little Chelsea, where our society judge Mary puts us all through our paces. Once again this year I left it to the last minute, barrelling up 20 minutes before entries were due. But with the help of my allotment neighbour Donal, who had been far better organised and got himself sorted in time to help me, I made my entries, although ran out of time to put in my beetroot and raspberries. Every year I get caught short by the rules where, for instance, soft fruit needs to be on the stalk and uniform, and there have to be ten of them all without blemish and beans have to come in sixes and be straight with no nobbles. Who can remember these things?

I wasn't very hopeful so delighted when I got first prize for my sunflowers and apples, and second for my blackberries. Chuffed to bits actually, as was Donal who came first in blackberries and pears. It's an hilarious occasion with us all 'having a go', and although they were very strict about the deadline of 11.50 on the dot to make your entries, everything else was taken in the spirit of community with hearty congratulations all round. Everyone pays particular attention to the children's creative categories which I think is lovely, after all, the allotment for many is very much a family affair. So even as the heavens opened and we took shelter under the odd gazebo to cheer on the cup winners, it still felt like a good day all round.

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