Today’s picture shows the cover of the schedule for the Canonbie Flower Show of 2013, perhaps the most eagerly awaited horticultural event of the year so far.

Canonbie Show

I had to get up early as Sandy was coming to drive me down to put our photographs up at Canonbie Hall.  One of our most competitive local photographers had not entered the show this year, due to a disagreement with the organisers over whether it was allowable to print photographs with virtual frames.  This meant that there was plenty of space to display the photos and we were soon finished and on our way home again.

The weather was very gloomy and it seemed unlikely that there would be much to see outside the hall on the playing field in the afternoon so we agreed to return quite late to see how we had done.

This gave me plenty of time to stare out of the window at the usual competitive behaviour….

bird feeder arguments

…and admire the cut sweet peas that Mrs Tootlepedal had brought in….

sweet peas
She tells me that the sweet peas season is almost over.

…and to reflect that perhaps we should have put some of our home produce into the show along with the photos.

Home produce

In truth, the people who enter vegetables in these sorts of shows are wizards of growing and it is no surprise to see carrots two feet long and onions the size of pudding bowls.  Our broad and runner beans might have been competitive.

There wasn’t much chance of walking round the garden….

chaffinch in rain

…so I spent some time putting two editions of the newspaper index into the database and doing some constructive resting.

In the afternoon, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went to pick up Sandy and we drove down to Canonbie to see how we had fared.  In terms of winning trophies, we were trounced and our friend Linda won all three that were going.  Still we both managed to come up with some tickets and I got two firsts and five seconds from my fifteen entries which was a fair return.  As always, the judging is idiosyncratic and the picture that I thought was my best (it looked really crisp in print)….

Maryport Harbour

…didn’t get a prize at all and this one….

racing Canonbie entry

…got a first in quite a large class in spite of having poor contrast between the action and the background.  (It looks better on the computer than in print.)

My raspberry jam deserved nothing and got nothing in a keenly contested class.

Jam corner
Jam corner

If I am going to enter these classes, I must take things more seriously.  I like making jam so I think that I might get hold of some good quality fruit next year and have a real go at the jam classes as well as the photos.  I could do with thinking a bit more carefully about my photo entries too.  It’s no good putting in entries that amuse yourself when you know that the judge won’t like them.

There were plenty of great vegetables and stunning flowers to look at.


The work that goes into producing these blooms to this standard on a specific day regardless of the weather is mind boggling.

There was plenty of chat….

Sandy and Linda
Sandy with prize winner Linda

…a nice cup of tea with cakes and then a long wait while many trophies were given out and the raffle was drawn before it was time to take the pictures down and go home.

By the time we got home, the rain had stopped and Mrs Tootlepedal went out to dig up two plants from a bunch of a traditional/heritage main crop potatoes she has grown.  The first dig was very disappointing but the second  produced a reasonable amount.

Yetholm Gypsy
Yetholm Gypsy, a striking purple skinned variety.

I had that one with my mince for tea and it was very tasty.

I was able to catch a couple of perching sparrows before it got too dark.


I also took a picture of the first of some white flowers which are appearing on a couple of hosta plants just as the pink ones on the other plants have gone over.

White hosta

The garden has taken a bit of a battering from some very heavy showers over the last few days so we are hoping for a spell of better weather to let it recover a bit.

As a footnote, I took a couple of pictures yesterday of two plants which are doing well in spite of the weather and then I forgot to put them in the post so here they are a day late.

rampaging runner beans
Rampaging runner beans, well over head height.
A fairly indestructible clematis.

I just managed to catch a flying bird in all the gloom.




Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “Showdown

  1. Well done Mr H. The horseracing photo is my favourite, not surprised it won a prize,lizx

  2. Your broad beans look wonderful. A side benefit of perfecting your jam-making skills will be the opportunity to eat the trial runs!

  3. I like the horse racing photo too. Almost all of their feet are off the ground. Two firsts is pretty good, I’d say. It looks to me like you’ve got almost all you need for a good vegetable soup. Some white, late blooming hostas are very fragrant. A good one is “Fragrant Bouquet.”

  4. You may not have won a silver cup but I thought your pictures were very good. Splendid pictures too of your garden produce and that potato, I have never seen one like it. I could almost smell the sweet peas, what a delight.

  5. I agree with the judges and the commenters – the racing photo is excellent. I bet your jam is delicious, even if it isn’t award-winning.

  6. I enjoyed the beautiful sweet peas. Congratulations on doing so well in the photography competition.

  7. Well, I would say that in the grand scheme of life, you did very well. Those huge prize winning veggies seldom taste very good, and who cares what some judge thinks of your photos? I would say that you’re enjoying many tasty treats from the garden, and your photos do “amuse you” and the readers of your blog.

  8. Maryport looks a great place to visit. I love jam on toast, scones etc., really great after a pedal, so if you want to send some my way, I’m waiting, cheers and better luck next year.

  9. Congratulations on the wins you took, you deserve them and more. I think the crispness and clarity of the horse racing picture was part of what moved the judges to your win, it’s very impressive. Personally I think all your photos deserve a prize, they certainly win my admiration.

  10. The standard of photography must have been very high if you didn’t win. I always find your photographs beautiful. As for giant fruit and veg, I’m not sure I see the point, most is much tastier when it’s small after all.

    1. The point is the astonishing skill and patience needed to produce them. They look fantastic whatever they taste like. It is a form of art for people who don’t paint.

  11. The photo that did not win is well composed and painterly. I recall several stunning horse racing photos with the hooves impressively off the ground that you shared awhile ago. People do like action!

  12. Tom, your purple Gypsy potato is beautiful as are you photographs! Your tickets received will surly grow by next year with all the practice and time you put into your work. I think you have a winner in your future.

    I always see runner beans and think: “Those are beautiful” and “I should plant those!” Then in spring I don’t think. Hm…Maybe I should enter our local competition for largest vegetables next year. Heck, I can grow a world class zucchini with one hand tied behind my back! 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: