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NVS AGM & Credit Crunch Christmas

We had our National Vegetable Society Christmas party last night, which was great fun. All the regulars turn up with something, a plate of sandwiches or some cakes or some really nice two-bite mini quiches, which I only had four of, honest.

It’s held in the Hop Pole pub in town where we have most of our meetings. They’re really nice and accommodating to us, despite us not being what you’d call a hard drinking bunch. The Christmas spirit was about though, for a start Larry got us a drink. He had a bit of a problem when he came to pay as apparently the white five pound note is no longer legal tender. I expect he’ll recover in time.

Susi Mitchell had donated a brilliant Christmas cake she had made for the raffle, wonderfully decorated and she brought some mince pies as well. If the cake tastes half as good as her mince pies then the winner is going to be happy.

Sadly it’s not all fun and games. We had our formal AGM as well and despite my attempts to get someone else to take it on, I was re-elected secretary for another year. I don’t mind doing the job, it’s hardly a lot of work, but I would just as happy to see someone else take it on. Still, you don’t get something for nothing in life and I get a lot out of our meetings.

Our chairman, John Carver, was part of the team (as he modestly puts it) that put on the NVS stand at Tatton, which won an RHS gold medal. Since he built the stand, devastated his garden for produce and got the educational display organised that clinched the medal, part of the team seems a modest statement indeed.

Regular member John Bebbington was there as well, he won the national NVS championship this year with his cauliflowers. They were a good size, but no bigger than ones I have seen in the shops. But you couldn’t find a fault on them, well if the NVS judges can’t find a fault on a vegetable there isn’t one.

The great thing with the NVS is that you tap into a network of growers who will all help you. I can pick up the phone and ring an expert whenever I have a problem. Not to mention what you pick up from just chatting. Growing vegetables is an art in many ways and there’s more than one way of getting to the same place. So hearing how others do it can be immensely useful.

I’m not into show growing myself, I’ve enough competition in my life, but you can’t half pick up some good information from the show growing experts.

The other big news of our week has to be forum member Grannie Annie being on Newsnight. If you missed it, they did a feature on Credit Crunch Christmas – don’t the press love alliteration? The team travelled all the way from London to Lincolnshire, which must have been a culture shock for them. “Where does one hail a cab in Boston?” Spent about two hours filming and 5 minutes or so made it to the screen.

What struck me was the contrast between Ann tramping through the mud to her turkeys, which seemed to terrify the reporter, and the discussion bit at the end of the program where the very rich discussed frugal Christmas.

I’m sorry, but what can a multi-millionaire dot com founder and some fashionista know about the reality of ordinary people facing Christmas with final demands to hang on the tree? Kids brainwashed into demanding the latest game where they pretend to be a murdering car thief or mercenary. Parents bombarded with offers of debt.

I know we’ve got a credit crunch but I still got a phone call last week offering me £10,000 interest free for six months. I was tempted to answer “That’s great! Since I was made redundant last week and I can’t pay the bills I already have, please transfer the money” Just to see what the gentleman in Mumbai would say. Luckily I’m not in that position and I don’t want to be in debt, thanks. Been there, done that and got the T shirt.

Back to allotmenting, boy it’s cold! As one old boy put it, “if it’s bad before Christmas, it’s going to be awful after”  Now he didn’t have the benefit of statistical records or a super computer programmed with the latest climate model, but 80 years experience. I know who I’m betting on.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
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