A week ago we were attending the Autumn Gardening & Food Show at the showground of the Three Counties Agricultural Society. Notes on our journey to Malvern are already in my Journaling blog; here I will share some of the Show highlights.
I come to these events with such anticipation, not sure whether I will be enthralled or disappointed. You never know what you will find or discover – but that’s what I love about reviewing: the atmosphere, the unexpected, the need to meld what I see into a cohesive whole whilst following the briefs of the magazine editors for whom I will be writing. This year was no exception; I was captivated from the moment we arrived (a day in advance for photography purposes).
What transpired will appear in two forthcoming articles in the December issues of ‘Grow it!’ and ‘Kitchen Garden’. What follows here are my personal observations that are not relevant to the features already on their way to the magazines concerned. For ease of working, we stay on site, alongside other exhibitors, in tent or caravan or motorhome. There is a camaraderie … late nights by candlelit barbecues in a field below the idyllic Malvern Hills. We do not participate: we work late and start early (on the pre-show evening Raymond already has over 100 photos manipulated and printed. We eat well in our motorhome on my pre-prepared beef stew, drink a 1986 Grand Cru Classe ‘Cos Labori’ from the Medoc (France), chat, plan my articles … and fall asleep still writing.
The next morning (Sat 26th Sept), we arrive early in the Press Room and I am instantly asked if I will help judge the Commercial fruit Juice Competition – they need a journalist on the panel. Nonplussed but honoured – I’ve never done anything like this before – I agree and am soon being initiated into juice colour, ‘nose’ (aroma), taste, homogeneity and clarity. Three classes and around 40 entries, each to be assessed and tasted! Three hours later, nine winners have been selected, I am way behind with my planned schedule and feel as if I am literally floating in fruit juice.
Throughout the weekend I interview various lovely people whose work I admire and chat to others about their participation at the show. It is incredibly busy with a perpetual buzz of excitement, particularly within the 'edible garden' marquee.
Raymond takes ‘proper’ pics for my articles (over 500 during the weekend), whilst I snapshot those needed for my blog. I cannot resist old nostalgic artefacts and vegetables, fruit and berries for shape, colour and texture, thinking of the nature journaling that I will do come winter. I make a few personal purchases: yet more paper napkins (I am an obsessive collector of these), some lovely cream-coloured hessian potato sacks to cut up for journal pages, a basket lined with lace-edged linen to hold my sewing, crochet or knitting, and a realistic pear-shaped candle and wooden coaster to light our m’home supper.