View from the Whitehouse

Maggy Whitehouse
Maggy Whitehouse

This year, I’ll be holding South Zeal Flower Show on our front porch and judging my own garden produce.

Obviously, given this whole crazy year, the real thing has been cancelled but that doesn’t mean we can’t all still be properly chuffed with what we’ve managed to grow and, even more, what we managed to save from the August weather.

The show is one of the highlights of my year and I love my crazy competitive spirit, entering as many of the baking, growing
and jam-making classes as I can.

I’m a founder-member of the Tastes Great: Looks Like Something The Cat Brought In school of cookery so it’s not unexpected when I don’t reap a 30p prize in return for my 10p entrance fee.

However, last year, I was thrilled to win a first in Sparkling Alcoholic Drink having made my first ever elderflower champagne. The fact that no one else actually entered that class may have had something to do with it.

I’m instigating some new categories this year and am confident that I’ll do well in the How Many Tomato Plants Can You Stick Back Together With Sellotape? section after the mid-August winds and I’m a shoo-in for What’s The Most Pathetic Onion You Can Grow?

With the dearth of my normal work in the form of church services, weddings, Christenings and workshops this year, I should have made a brilliant success of the garden fruits and vegetables but I’d forgotten the after effects of no longer having a cat.

The local wildlife has had a field day munching on strawberries, peas, beans, blueberries and carrots and I’m considering a How Fat Are Your Rodents? class with contestants presented in humane traps before being released to waddle free in the countryside away from houses.

Because so many of us panic-bought packets of vegetable seeds in our local garden centres just before the start of lockdown in March, I had to rely on three seeds that a friend kindly posted to me for any courgettes at all.

His plants were all the normal courgette shape, but mine, from the same packet, were spherical. That caused some concern given that the ridiculousness of 2020 has included poisonous courgettes (who knew that they naturally caused stomach upsets but that we had bred that out of them?). Ours were fine, just magnificently rotund. They might have won, dammit!

Everyone knows about Humorous Vegetable classes and this year’s carrots have excelled themselves in extra legs (ahem!) and even what looks like enough boobs to feed a litter of pigs. So a How Similar To The Corona Virus Molecule Is Your Carrot? class is on the cards too.

One of the most popular regular photographic classes is of A Family so that’ll have to be a panorama image this year with everyone suitably socially-distanced or, just maybe, a picture of my husband and me with a pile of dogs, chickens, bent tomato plants and very fat mice is finally in with a chance. Excuse me, I’m off to make my rosettes.

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