Sunday, 21 August 2016
Little Bunting Village Show
Stage a Village Show in just four weeks? Could it be done? Would we be able to find judges at such short notice? Would people set aside their natural apathy and make the effort to enter? Would anyone have anything left growing in their gardens which would be worth entering?
People did the event proud.
The Produce and Flower categories were filled with entries, competition was hot. Giant marrows, lovely leeks and rosy rhubarb sat cheek by jowl with giant onions, crinkly lettuce and fresh brown eggs, on the faux grass matting.
At the far end of the hall the shelves were groaning under the floral displays, pink and pretty posies, velvet roses and vases full of garden flowers sat alongside more vases filled with dried grasses and wild flowers.
Big bunches, dainty vases, single flowers, jam jars filled with fresh herbs.
All combined to scent the air in
the most wonderful way.
It was better than an
upmarket florists shop.
This stunning floral display
was created by a 90 year old
woman from Dovecot Dell.
She used flowers cut from her
It was impressive when viewed from any angle. Years of
experience have definitely been
put to good use here.
Difficult to believe that such small villages - tiny villages - which even combined have fewer than a hundred households, can throw together a show like this.
A brisk trade was done on refreshments with teas, filter coffee and home baked cakes.
Raffle tickets sold like hotcakes.
Talking of hotcakes - the Cookery section is always hotly contested. Artisan bread loaves, plum bread, Victoria Sponge Sandwich cakes and Traybakes sat alongside Jams, Lemon Curd, Chutneys and Biscuits. The Vegetarian Flans were amazingly beautiful and varied.
People often bemoan that the judging is done to WI standards but this year the Cookery was judged in a completely fresh way. My beautiful daughter in law, Poppy, was asked to step into the breach, despite the fact that she has only been in the country a little over four weeks.
Poppy is Chinese, a trained chef, and has an excellent palate.
Normally I bake for almost all the Cookery classes but this year I didn't enter any of them because I didn't want to risk any chance that cries of "Unfair" or "It's a fix" should be heard. After all, the competitive streak runs strongly through these small communities.
I had the genuine pleasure of writing the notes and filling in the results cards as Poppy tasted, contemplated, and passed judgement on the entries. It was fascinating to watch her at work.
Once her decision had been made I ferried the results to the wonderful Rosamund, who spent about two hours carefully writing out all the certificates.
Poppy didn't need any lunch after that marathon session of nibbling and sampling.
Photographing the entries was difficult, there was a sea of clingfilm and food covers obscuring the bakes and cakes.
After the judging everyone flooded in to celebrate or commiserate and to await the prize presentations.
The main event is the auction and the hall filled rapidly as those seated at the tables outside came indoors to try to secure a particularly scrumptious cake or flan.
Bidding was brisk and we all bought far too many calorific cakes and then salved our consciences by bidding heartily for the boxes of produce and flowers.
Well done to everyone who worked so hard to pull this off.
It was quite an achievement.