National Vegetable Society Meeting with Medwyn Williams

National Vegetable Society Meeting

Between work and weather I’ve not had chance to get onto the plot for ages and it’s no use going after dark, so tonight it was great to go to our NVS meeting.

We were fortunate in getting Medwyn Williams, MBE, FNVS to come and give a talk.

He’s won 10 RHS gold medals in a row exhibiting at the Chelsea Flower Show and so we can say he really “knows his onions”. It was a fascinating insight into his world and life. He lives in Anglesey near Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch which means “St Mary’s church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool and the church of St Tysilio of the red cave”.

Apparently the name confuses tourists for some reason! He grows in greenhouses at Bangor university where they are developing the Sarpo and other new blight-resistant potato varieties. As Medwyn said (I paraphrase), the farmers use systemic sprays to save their valuable potato crop from blight but what goes into the edible tubers must go into people. So developing resistant crops enables farmers and gardeners to be productive whilst preventing chemical pollution of our food chain.

He’s met a host of famous people from Chelsea including the Royal family, TV chefs, pop stars and actors. Not so bad from a boy brought up in a cottage without electricity, running water and a toilet.

Thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

Allotment Troubles and Successes

Larry told me that United Utilities had visited the site to undertake some work on the electricity pylon that crosses the site. Apparently they just cut the padlock off the gate to gain entry. Contacting the site rep being a bit complex for them, I suppose.

A new padlock has been provided by the council, I suppose from our budget.

Nicki and Gary West were at the meeting. They run the Ford Lane site in Crewe – see this article on Allotment Regeneration ? and the good news is that they have let many of the vacant plots. Gary reckoned the article on this site has helped, which I’m really pleased to hear.

The bad news is the troubles he has suffered because of his unpaid job as site rep. Stopping builders using plots as waste dumps and kids from vandalising has resulted in him being attacked, having his own house and garden vandalised and dog excrement thrown at him.

The police have been as useful as a chocolate fireguard. Apparently they don’t come out to kids causing criminal damage, even when those ‘kids’ are equipped with baseball bats. Neither do they consider someone actually in possession of stolen equipment sufficient proof to commit an arrest.

However, taking the law into your own hands will result in arrest. Well those poor dears in the police do have to consider meeting their quotas and targets and be careful not to upset criminals by violating their rights, best they stick to counting the revenue from their speed cameras.

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