merries at the Winchcombe Show!

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merries at the Winchcombe Show!

Post by merry »

Longstay residents of this board will know that the merries usually/always enter the Winchcombe Country Show, where on the summer bank holiday every year people flock to the showground to exhibit things they have baked, grown, crafted, photographed; while a variety of entertainments (dog show; parkour) - small fairground rides - stalls - food vans - take place on the vast grounds.

Wonderful day out for families, and many of them like us enter the competitions across the generations; lots of classes for kids, even the smallest, to show off their handwriting, their longest runner bean, their Lego model etc.

This year I have been away at weekends a great deal and we have other things on our minds too (Mr Merry and his various issues bless him!) so we had planned not to enter any of the local shows at all.

Welllllll it got to midweek and I thought 'd you know what, without TOO much trouble we could just enter a few photographs and maybe our potatoes, oh and I won the Aster Cup last year, how are the asters looking - ' and before I knew it we had made an entry, because when it came down to it, we couldn't bear to miss out on this very Cotswoldy event in our local town.

(Juliet was not too happy about this last-minute plan as it means Work, and work, specifically, for Juliet, as she is great at organising entries and mounting photographs, etc. However, I think she was glad we entered in the end!
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I was due to be away all weekend and only return at 10pm on the Sunday night before the Show, so quite a lot of pre-planning had to go into this:

Friday: made and froze the following raw,

Sausage Rolls (pork, honey and rosemary, with home-made rough-puff pastry)


unbaked.jpg




Chocolate Chip Cookies


rawcookies.jpg


.. also Sundried tomato and parmesan scones, which I didn't photograph but also froze raw.

I don't like making sausage rolls, I find them fiddly and time-consuming, but they are so delicious I feel it's worth it at least once a year..... doesn't this picture of post-sausage-roll-worktop make you wince? I hate hate hate working in a mess and always clear up as I go along, but it seems inevitable with sausage rolls!



mess.jpg
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I could have done without the 4.am alarm going off yesterday morning, but wearily rolled out of bed and set to baking my three bakes (usually I enter more like 11 things, and Juliet too, so this was a very light year for us and I certainly didn't miss making and icing cakes/scones etc all through the night!!)

So this didn't seem too bad a job and I also had to sort through veg and fruit and flowers to take... before sunrise I was in the garden gathering raspberries, etc.

I've never grown carrots before and was quite pleased with these! I had literally no idea what was going to come up out of the ground! they are 'Heritage Carrots', hence the yellow colour.

carrots.jpg



Likewise these potatoes (Earlies, hence small size - I displayed them with a sprig of fresh mint, to hint to the judge these were beautiful new potatoes, and not failed 'old' ones :D


potatoes.jpg


Here's the final haul of things we had ready to take by 8.30 am:





haul.jpg
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The little tomatoes in the picture above are TOM TOMATOES, from the plant our Tom his very self planted when he visited... by some magic, Tom-T was the only plant of 8 plants which managed to produce even so much as one ripe tomato by show day, and he produced EIGHT, which by more magic is the exact number specified by the schedule!

They were not quite evenly matched for size but still I was proud of Tom-Tomato and how he had manfully done his best to come up with 8 acceptable tomatoes. when all the other plants only had tiny hard green ones to offer.

Then it was the (always tedious) drive to the showground and the laying out of goods. It's very buzzy and exciting in the Hall with families bustling in and out bearing their carefully-made exhibits; mums and dads and grannies and great-grandads and little children proudly carrying in their artwork...

Here's one table - there are about six in total of these:


table.jpg
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We laid out our goods - we scratched from several classes as in the end couldn't come up with acceptable specimens, but at the last minute I realised I did, after all, have three veg spare for the 'three veg class'

(Yes, I couldn't resist......) :blush :D



threeveg.jpg


I thought my raspberries were not going to be up to scratch for the 'Other Fruit' class so Juliet had brought some of her garden pears; but in the end, looking at the canes by sunrise, I decided they might, after all, just do:


rasps.jpg



There is always a class for Ugliest Vegetable, and when I saw these carrots cme out of the ground I thought they just fitted the bill nicely!


ugliest.jpg
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So ... now you'll be wondering about the results, right? :D

Well even if you aren't, here they are!

For once I wasn't too nervous for the results as we had entered (for us) a very small selection of classes, and had had little time to prepare, but there's always that one moment when you enter the tent (it was not a giant marquee this year, but the school sports hall) and look for your items and hope that the one you were particularly fond of was not entirely spurned by the gimlet-eyed Judge....

In my case, I was so proud last year when my asters won the Aster Cup, as I had never grown flowers for showing before, and we have some incredibly talented gardeners in winchcombe, of whom I am not one. So I had sneaky high hopes of winning it again.... dashed to pieces when Mr Merry messaged me in Woolwich on Sunday, in answer to my anxious query about 'whether the asters survived the rain storm' this enigmatic, but unfortunately clear, report:

"The asters have suffered, I'm afraid. Just enjoy your play now."

:eek Not just my hopes, but the actual asters, dashed to pieces by a cruel freak storm??!

On the morning of the show I realised that while they had suffered, they were not totally doomed, so I picked the only three which remained.... a rather vital petal had dropped out of one, and I pushed it back in place and hoped for the best, but as we laid it on the table at the show it dropped off again.... Juliet did her best to swivel them in the vase to conceal the gap but still, I doubt such trickery fools the keen eye of a Judge, so I felt pleased when I nervously approached the table to see...



asters.jpg
:D

[Ok they were only third, of three entries... so bottom.... but... I didn't tell the asters that and they looked pleased and happy with their Green Card.]
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Our ugly carrot got second! YAYYY! there were some very ugly vegetables in this class, so I am glad my little carrot got noticed. (I felt sorry for a huge purple spiky thing - just visible to top right - that sat there sadly with no award but surely deserved one!)



uglywinner.jpg


Raspberries! and to think I nearly withdrew these in favour of Juliet's rock-hard pears! :mrgreen:


raspssecond.jpg



Potatoes! thrilled with this, as there was a huge entry in the potato class


potssecond.jpg


And our Three Veg (notice the judge, or someone, has prudishly rearranged my setting to something less... fun)

threevegthird.jpg
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Having done better than expected in the fruit and veg section, we could not put off the Baking any longer:

Sausage Rolls - very pleased with these, and it was our only First of the show.


sausagers.jpg

Scones

scones.jpg


cookies.jpg
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Finally we skipped off to the Photography section, which is actually my favourite to enter, we all take pics all year in hopes of one or other of them being suitable for a category at one of the shows, but we were unprepared this year - I was still thrilled with these two results though:

The photograph of Battersea Power Station and the red balls in the centre of the board, with the blue Second card next to it, was taken by STPD and I was so thrilled this got an award as I think it is a lovely and interesting picture. The category was Structures:

stpd.jpg



And Juliet got a Third (out of 28 entries!) for her cannily snapped double rainbow over Toddington, in the category The Great Outdoors


rainbow.jpg
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If you've stayed with this post till the end, thank you! I hope some of you may be interested to see how a Cotswold Country Show goes about its business, and get some sense of the fun of involvement.

If any of you have anything similar in your neighbourhoods, do post and let me know! I'd be so interested!

This is the final picture of our tally of awards, and to bring down the bragging factor a little :D note we also had about as many UNsuccessful entries! Our garden apples, our one-flower-one-veg, poor noble Tom Tomato who had tried so hard, some of our photographs all went un-awarded. But still, in a rushed year, I am especially glad I managed to enter the things we have grown with such effort and a little love, and some of our photographs of happy, interesting times, and so on.

We had a super fun day! and supported our local show, which is very important if we don't want these things to die out


prizes.jpg
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Post by eccles »

Well done Merry and family. I especially like the rainbow photo.
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Post by Furby »

Do you get to take home for tea or do the judges eat them.

Well done the merries and let this be a lesson for future years dont work so hard bung some stuff in the freezer and run off to that london and still win prizes.

I picked the carrots as obvious winners.
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Furby wrote: Tue Aug 29, 2023 6:37 pm Do you get to take home for tea or do the judges eat them.

Well done the merries and let this be a lesson for future years dont work so hard bung some stuff in the freezer and run off to that london and still win prizes.

I picked the carrots as obvious winners.
#

You get to take them home :D most years this means piles and piles of CAKE, which JYM takes to his office and it disappears :up

Good spot on the carrots!

Thank you, Eccles. It was a lucky catch. I have never managed to capture a rainbow successfully so wd Juliet.

Here it is in the original:


Joriginalrainbow test.jpg
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Post by Wildrover »

Loved the ugly carrot - MYF's mum brought some heritage carrots up to the Lakes and they were delicious - and so different from shop bought carrots. In fact they almost tasted like a cross between a carrot and a parsnip. That rainbow photo is lovely but I also like the Battersea Power Station one - it's really well thought out. There was also a little schadenfreude moment when II saw that mine is not the onlly kitchen that looks like a war zone after I've been cooking in it :blush
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Post by merry »

There was also a little schadenfreude moment when II saw that mine is not the onlly kitchen that looks like a war zone after I've been cooking in it
:lol :lol happy to oblige!

We ate the golden heritage carrots the day before yesterday, with home made chicken pie (using the left over rough puff pastry) and they were absolutely delicious, as were the new potatoes. We don't have room, time or inclination to supply ourselves regularly with home-grown veg, they are just a little treat for the occasional meal, but they really DO taste different to supermarket ones.

I'm glad you liked STPD's picture, WR! :hugs You saying so gives me the excuse to post a larger version. I thought it had 'winner' on it when I first saw it.

batterseasmaller.jpg
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Post by dianakc »

Well done merry! What a lot of entries! And all at the last minute. My favourite was the potato with the smiley face 😊
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Thank you, Di! :hugs It is really such a lot of fun. Do you have any where you live? You could enter some of your beautiful crafts!

This was a small amount of entries compared to usual years - we started in about 2007 with one Victoria sponge and nothing else.... and it just grew from there! I get the whole family at it! I got Mr Merry and Juliet to enter the Handwriting one year - they are both crap at it but managed ok and I think Mr M even got a third place or something for copying out his sonnet without any mistakes. Juliet (sometimes) enters the card-making, and once won it . Even JYM's Mum was prevailed upon once to enter the Gift-Wrapped Parcel class one year!

Fruit and veg and flowers is a new venture for me - it's less last-minute (no 4am baking!) but more nail-biting as it's impossible to get your fruit and veg to understand the urgency of the situation and ripen in time, or indeed, to hold them back if they are eagerly flourishing six weeks early!

Speaking of which I noticed one perfect Aster has arisen today. Too late. The bastard.
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Post by dianakc »

Not that I'm aware of. Naughty aster 🤣
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Post by eccles »

Merry has fallen flat on her aster. :eek
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Post by merry »

:rofl :rofl :rofl

Here's the naughty little chap. Four days late. An obvious Cup-winner.

aster.jpg


Laughing at me.
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