Posted in Personal life

Hawkesbury Show and Tell

photo of the field on Hawkesbury Show Day
Can we have weather like this, please?

Last night I had a terrible nightmare. I was in the marquee at the Hawkesbury Horticultural Show when I realised I’d forgotten to put in any entries. There I was in a tent full of exhibits and none of them bore my exhibitor number.

Speaking as a past prize winner, this dilemma doesn’t bear thinking about. Okay, so most of my prizes have been in dubious categories such as the odd-shaped vegetable (it was a tomato – don’t ask!) Our hen’s egg entry was also interesting. In our first year of poultry keeping, we assumed that eggs were judged only on size and colour. For weeks we saved our hens’ biggest and brownest. We didn’t realise they’d be cracking them open. Six week old eggs and a hot show tent are not a good combination.

Bad eggs aside, our village show – one of the oldest of its kind in the country – demonstrates our community at its best, bringing together old and young alike.

Red onions
The Show judges know their onions. I mean, they REALLY know their onions.  (Photo: Wikipedia)

And I mean at its best. Judges of unparalleled skill and experience ensure the high quality is maintained. A few years ago, when I was on the Show Committee, I attended a meeting at which the onion judge was present. He’d travelled from afar to share his knowledge. He produced from his pocket a set of silver rings, specifically made to check the size of onions. They’d been passed to him from his father. As he was well into retirement, I reckon the rings had been in use for nearly a century. We were in awe.

But don’t let the judges’ high standards put you off submitting an entry. The ultimate prize is not the individual’s red rosette, but one we can all share: a tent full of produce and crafts, representing just about everyone in the village. So not like my nightmare at all, then.

Happy Show Day, everyone!

Red rosette for first prize winners at Haweskbury Horticultural Show
A prize day out for all the family

Hawkesbury Horticultural Show takes place on the last Saturday in August in the Cotswold village of Hawkesbury Upton, Gloucestershire. For more information, visit the Show’s official website.

And in case you want to know more about the poultry-keeping, here’s a post about how we ended up Recharging Battery Chickens.

This post was originally written for the Hawkesbury Parish News (August 2012).


English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

3 thoughts on “Hawkesbury Show and Tell

  1. Sounds like a really fun day. Not at all like our local horticultural show where the judges recently refused to give some children a third for their home grown but very miss-shapen potataoes even though there were only three entrees!

    1. Thanks, it is a fab event! Mind you, the judges can be sticklers for detail if entries don’t conform to the specifcation in the schedule – they’ve been know to pointedly not award a prize when there are three or fewer entries in a class, as they’re not prepared to compromise on their high standards. But they do all say that we’re they’re favourite show, so we mustn’t grumble!

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