A country show differs from a flower show, for it deals with a wide range of country pursuits,such as farming, crafts and general good fun.Poynton is a show with a long tradition behind it, dating from the nineteenth century when Poynton was still a country village rather than the expensive suburb that it now is.However, it maintains its traditions of friendliness and hospitality to exhibitors. Exhibiting there was a pleasant experience.
A Day at the Poynton Show
Poynton is a well-established Country Show that provides a good day out for visitors.
Take a look at the picture of the display, and you will see a butterfly made from tomatoes,bits of cauliflower, beans, potatoes and tomatoes,floral art using vegetables, quite simple really, but it required some delicacy of touch. My role? Well,this time I helped make the display. An artistic work! My first ever, but don't be too impressed, I was helping someone else; and I had dark visions that when we lifted the display the tomatoes would fall off. They didn't. But the small,yellow kumquats were the tricky bit.Tiny and soft,the cocktail sticks used to affix them to the polystyrene base kept on coming through the top and having to be tapped back. But all's well that ends well, and this ended well.
Well, I had a role in growing the display this year. After last year's show Noelle, the show secretary, set me a target of two pumpkins.There you see them, sitting by the butterfly. OK, here's an admission, they were helping to prop up the butterfly, but that's just an extra function. They are smaller than I wanted, but growing conditions in Britain have been poor this year, so we need to be thankful for small mercies.I have a larger one in the greenhouse, but it would not make a matched pair with one of the others,so I couldn't use it. Anyway,my culinarily enthusiastic second son has claimed that one.
How do you get leeks so long, I was asked by visitors? The technique is to grow in tubes so that the root goes down a long way, then make sure that they are very well fed and watered. To get them so white so far up the stem wrap them in dark fabric all the way up to the point where the leaves commence. Release the fabric immediately prior to picking. This blanches the leeks.
You might ask about the giant onions.What do they taste like. Probably the same as other onions, but I have never eaten them, as the grower keeps them for seed. .
Many visitors ask about the cucamelons, bottom left. About the size of a large grape,it is a hybrid of cucumber and melon. Apparently, it is a good flavouring in gin or certain other drinks.You can get cucamelon seeds, but not everyone has success with them, and so I advised would-be growers to propagate them from cuttings, a process that is a kind of vegetative propagation.
The horticulture marquee had a fine display of gladioli, and it seems that certain growers make Poynton their own show. Sadly, my camera failed and so I have no pictures of them, but I like gladioli, as they remind me of my parents' garden when I was a child.
The poultry and rabbit marquee was noisy, with chickens clucking and crowing loudly. I paid a brief visit, which was tinged with sadness.I had a good friend, a poultry expert who used to be a judge there, but we lost him to cancer eight years ago, aged sixty. Too young.
I then entered the hobbies marquee, which was a delightful place. Crafts folk of all kinds were displaying their wares. I made a beeline for the wine stall,where a friendly fellow was displaying his products, all home made wines. I was not allowed to purchase as the stall has no alcohol licence, but the man was allowed to give me a free sample to taste. He proffered me a rhubarb wine and I gratefully accepted.It was delicious. I have not made wine for some time, but he kindly gave me some advice on getting the best results,and I moved on contentedly.
Next came the bread and cake display, see below, where a delightful array of the baker's art was spread.I grew up in a home where baking was a major part of life,and my mother was into home made food, so I was happy to gaze on such delicacies. Products go for sale at 16:30 but I was too busy to come back and buy.Just the experience was enough.
There was an excellent stall with preserves. Jams, marmalade, pickle and chutneys all were spread across a table, see below, awaiting sale at the show's end.
Outside the tent there were other displays. There are many pony owners in the area, and a number of young ladies in riding attire were visible as they waited to enter the pony competitions.I saw one horse with its mane well groomed and ribboned being led to the ring. Displays of cattle, sheep and pigs are part of the agricultural traditions of the show, and some rare breeds are usually on display.
Every year there is a display of dry stone walling, which is a technique used in Northern England in which walls are constructed without mortar and held together by weight and balance. It is quite a skill, and it has helped shape the landscape of parts of Britain.
I do three shows a year and this was the last of them. The next is in July 2020 when I hope to do Tatton, God willing. This year I had to cope with medical problems that limited my ability to carry tables around, especially as the society, ever solicitous for my health, has forbidden me from lifting weights. They are good people. But I got encouragement from people that I met.One show official was nearly ninety and still going strong, and he was not the only hale and hearty older person whom I met that day.
The hospitality of the show is great. Each marquee has its own exhibitor section where a bountiful buffet is laid on;, with sandwiches, pies, sausages and cakes; and the drinks include beer and wine. I had the latter, and it was good quality wine as well!
This was my second Poynton show and I worked with old friends and gained new ones.When I was leaving one of them, Helen, gave me a hug and said that she was coming to the show next year,in 2020 and that she hoped to see me better.I felt encouraged.
Jams and Preserves