It’s been two years since we entered anything into the local Autumn Show in the next village. Our last experience of this Very Important Event had been heady and we had set the bar high. We weren’t daunted though, in fact, after poring over the categories we decided that FIVE entries were going to be made from the Mitchell household this year. The pressure was on. We needed to limber up.
I was playing it safe and had plumped for the posy (good previous form) and mixed herb categories but eldest was ambitious and was charting new territory: miniature garden and decorated egg. Littlest was keen to reprise her success with vegetable animals. The Mr was disgruntled. His 2010 tomatoes had won Best in Show in a blaze of glory, but a disastrous 2012 tomato season meant that he had to settle for being Littlest’s creative assistant.
Eldest’s miniature garden plans were inspired by our own. She wanted a shed. She hacked at a biscuit box and broke out the lollysticks. She eyed a pot of houseleeks for possible miniature cabbage lookalikes. We distracted the Sylvanian families whilst she raided their flower stall for accessories. Littlest muses are usually porcine. She decided to express this inspiration using the medium of potatoes and tomatoes and carrots (with broccoli grass).
As ever, on the morning of the show a hush descended on the house, broken only by cross exclamations when a tomato leg fell off or a miniature shed roof wobbled.
It was time to take our entries to the village hall. This is always nerve-wracking. We had taken it to the wire and there was only 10 minutes left until the show closed for judging – no time to nip home for extra cosmos or miniature plastic carrots. The die was cast. After gaining special permission to take a photograph of the secret judging process (jams and preserves) we went home for lunch.
We returned to the village hall with trepidation, only to find (small drum roll) that we’d won four out of five golds (& one bronze)! Truly, we were thrilled beyond words. Not only that, our gold medals were made of chocolate, a bouncy castle had been inflated during the lunchbreak and all the entrants and their families stayed on for afternoon tea. To top it all there was an auction of the entries and despite fierce bidding I won a bottle of damson gin and a jar of lemon curd (both gold medal-winning, both beyond delicious). At the very end of the day a centurys-old and slightly unseasonal game of egg tossing (2 person team version) was played. It wasn’t pretty (egg on Liberty print is not a good look) but the Mr and I came second.
The Swaffham Prior Vegetable Olympics 2012 are over. It was as exciting to us as that other medal-winning business happening sixty or so miles away.