I had a go at showing a few of my veg at the local Horticultural Society's summer show at the weekend. I have, to put it politely, a long way to go before I pose any kind of threat to the regulars.
I tried potatoes and broad beans, since they're my best crops at the moment, and since my pea crop isn't much this year I didn't have much of an option. Off I trotted on Saturday morning to pick the best of my Green Windsor - the second planting, which is just hitting maturity now as the Aquadulce Claudia have finished. The timing of this successional planting couldn't have been better this year - definitely one to repeat again.
Anyway; then I dug up some lovely egg-sized Red Duke of Yorks and lovingly wiped the mud off them to bring up that ruby sheen. It all looked pretty good until I got to the hall and started "staging" (putting it on plates to show it off to best advantage).
The summer show - unlike the spring and autumn shows - is fiercely competitive, a fact I only appreciated once I was elbowing plates of perfect beans to one side in order to squeeze in my little offering. And oh dear - those broad bean pods which looked so perfect on the allotment; how tragic they looked next to those platefuls of perfectly straight, perfectly uniform, perfectly enormous models of What a Broad Bean Should Be. Mine suddenly turned out to be wonky, not the same length at all, and all stubbornly twisting in different directions.
It wasn't much better with the potatoes: I thought they were all roughly the same size, but roughly isn't good enough. Everyone else's were exactly the same size, to the millimetre, and mine stuck out like a sore thumb with three chicken's egg-sized and one big turkey's egg-sized in the corner like an uninvited guest.
All very hopeless, and I had to suffer the ignominy of being one of those who didn't even get a "highly commended". Instead of doing the sensible thing, though, and retreating with my tail between my legs never to darken the doors of the village hall again, it's actually got my blood up. You just wait till the Autumn Show. They won't know what's hit 'em.