It’s high summer and the Wolds are alive with village fetes, fairs and horticultural shows - the vitality of a community is intimately tied up with such events.
I recently judged the veg at a local Wolds Show and thoroughly enjoyed my visit but shock horror it had a herb class and I don’t know anything about Rosemary! Well not the herb anyway! I do however have fond memories of Rosemary from my student days, but that’s another story!
I’m a veg man and know my tomatoes and my cauliflowers better than most - my father had a fruit and veg shop built on the slogan of ‘quality at reasonable prices.’
I also was awarded Best Veg Garden for 2016 in Caistor in the annual ‘In Bloom’ honours list.
The veg I judged at the show was equally as good as my dad’s all those years ago, and so it should be, for it seems to me this is a vintage year, particularly for home grown early potatoes, greens and tomatoes.
There are some killjoys about who mock the shows, unfairly in my opinion, and presumably they are the type who spend all day on their computer.
I felt the atmosphere of the real show ‘love in’ as I shuffled around the hall with my fellow judges.
Entries were up in baking, jams, wine, flowers, even the vicar entered with his pickle.
In Caistor, the vicar still makes marmalade to sell at the church fete or even after Evensong. ‘Parson’s Preserve’ I believe he calls it! He does not enter shows though, he would have an unfair advantage with help available from on high.
There is so much to celebrate about our shows but I can tell a tale from a village show across the great Humber divide in Yorkshire, where feelings were running high after the squire cleaned up one year with brassicas.
Many of the present day Lincolnshire village shows began life as a village feast day for the saint of their parish church.
There are so many customs up here on the Wolds - did you know ‘grudge day’ was the last full day at school before the summer break when grudges against someone or something were written down on paper and then burnt in the yard by the children.
At village shows, as at the fetes, local grudges and disharmonies are forgotten.
Walt does win very year with his onions at an August Wolds show I frequent - but why shouldn’t he? His onions are the best and nobody minds.
What Walt won’t tell me is his secret to those giant sized specimens.
Long live the village show! It matters not who runs it - WI, church, horticultural society or village hall committee.
It seems to me in our Wolds most shows are thriving. The one I judged is and I give special thanks for the bottle of whisky received as my honorarium - much appreciated ladies!