Posted in Family, Personal life

It’s Show Time! (Hawkesbury Horticultural Show, that is…)

This post was written for this month’s edition of the Hawkesbury Parish News, in anticipation of the Village Show at the end of this month. Looking back at the photos of our float last year, I am wishing hard that we’ll have such blue skies for this year’s show!

Photo of Pandamonium float with children dressed as pandas
Our float for last year’s Show (I was the Chinese Ambassador, Gordon was the Scottish zookeeper)

Close up of panda reading "Panda Baby Names" bookI hadn’t lived in Hawkesbury Upton very long before I realised the importance of the annual Horticultural Show in the village calendar. Since I moved here in 1991, I haven’t missed a single Show, and I always arrange my summer holidays to make sure I’m back in time to prepare for it.

I’ve put plenty of entries into the Show over the years and won a handful of prizes in categories as diverse as crochet, hen’s eggs, jam, wine and – my favourite prize of all – the oddly-shaped vegetable (sadly no longer in the schedule).

I’ve been on many floats, from Youth Club’s Global Warming in the 1990s (Arctic scene at one end, tropical island at the other) and St Trinian’s, to more recently The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe with After-School Club, and Edinburgh Zoo’s Giant Pandas with my daughter and her friends last year.

Close up of children in Pandamonium float

It’s always exciting to win a prize, even third in a category in which there are only two other entries, but you don’t need to win prizes to enjoy the Village Show. The most satisfaction comes simply from feeling like you’re part of a huge, traditional act of community.

It’s also rewarding to serve on the Committee, which I did for 13 years. I’ll never forget seeing at one meeting an elderly judge demonstrate his set of brass shallot-measuring rings, as used by his father before him. The Hawkesbury Show is living history.

But the most unexpected buzz relating to the show struck me only recently, when, at my daughter’s 11th birthday party, I was chatting to her friends’ mums in our garden. One of them, relatively new to the village, was taking photos of the children’s antics.

“You ought to enter that into the Village Show,” I remarked, admiring a particularly good one.

“Spoken like a true Hawkesbury villager!” said another mum, whose family has been in Hawkesbury for generations.

23 years after moving here, I’ve finally arrived.

Happy Show Day, everyone!

The 2014 Show will take place on Saturday 30th August. For more information, visit its website:

Pandomonium float seen from other side showing sign saying "all the way from Edinburgh"



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.

6 thoughts on “It’s Show Time! (Hawkesbury Horticultural Show, that is…)

  1. crazy and such fun! And when will the Scots laddies devise a nice smart top to go with their kilts? I’ve seen everything from old polo shirts to stripy work shirts with long sleeves (rolled down, not up) worn with the kilt at Ceilidhs! Is there a special shirt? Is there a prize for designing one?!!

    1. He does have a smart jacket and dress shirt for formal occasions, btw! I quite like them worn with a sturdy sweater too. Will have to dig out a wedding photo to show you. 🙂

      1. lovely! Funny isn;t it how they are either super-smart or ultra-scruffy sometimes? Are best kilt-wearing, dancing friend favours an old green polo shirt … I must try to access their wedding pic!

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