The Flower Show

Tuesday, July 31, 2007 0:03 | Filed in Life, Local Interest, The Pickards

We had somewhat of a family outing this weekend, and as I’d recently re-located my digital camera, I’ve been flickr’ing about again. If you don’t like diary style posts, then you’ll probably want to make your excuses and leave now.

Still here?

Let’s get started then.

We had something of a family outing on Sunday: me, the GLW, the boys BTP and SWP, and GLW’s parents. We all went to the Gateshead Summer Flower Show 2007, which is just along the road from us.

Chelsea flower show entry

I didn’t know what to expect from a flower show, having never attended one in the past, but I was expecting something with a faintly botanical theme. In that, I wasn’t disappointed. There were various pretty flowers, floral arrangements, enormous vegetables — seriously — leeks as big as your thigh, that sort of thing. Although disappointingly there didn’t appear to be a section for ‘vegetables that look like genitalia’.

…and there was cake-baking competitions, and jam tarts on plates, and a tea tent, and all the sorts of things that have never, ever, appealed to me in any shape or form and I’ve always associated with Flower Shows.

That wasn’t all there was.

Oh no.

BTP driving a tractor

For a start, one of the first things that we saw as we arrived were four pieces of agricultural machinery next to each other. I’m not entirely sure what they were: they looked like some kind of cross between a petrol-driven lawn mower and a tractor, but I’m sure I’m not doing them justice.

Anyway, just as I was telling little BTP that I bet he wished he could have a go on them, that the person stood beside them leaned forward, said “does he want a go? just sit the little fella on the seat then, and we’ll strap him in…”.

Of course, he wasn’t given the keys, so untold havoc and mayhem didn’t then ensue, but we did get a very happy three year old bouncing up and down on the tractor having an awful lot of fun.

SWP with ice-cream smeared over his face

Of course, standing about watching children leap about on dangerous agricultural machinery gets a bit boring after a while, so we decided to go and obtain some cups of coffee (frankly awful), a cup of tea (allegedly ‘very nice’) and a couple of ice-creams for the kids to eat. Well, for BTP to eat: SWP seemed to think that the thing to do with ice-cream is to eat approximately 60% of it, whilst simulataneously coating every available surface area within 10 yards with the rest.

Kids, eh?

We then went for a wander about, walking through the stalls at the Continental market (where I picked up some very nice olives, only realising later that I’d paid about 40% more than I would have done for precisely the same thing at the local supermarket), and generally thinking “ooh, that looks nice”, “mmm, that smells nice” or “I’m hungry now”.

And then we bumped into some heavenly bodies.

A Gliding Angel

Of course, when I say ‘heavenly bodies’, I’m not referring to astronomical objects. Nor indeed, for those of a somewhat different order of thought (dirty boy!) was I referring to young ladies with large … anyway, what I meant was that the heavenly bodies were celestial beings.

Angels. Gliding Angels in fact, gliding slowly around on what presumes was some form of wheeled device. It must also be said that they did not fill you with a sense of peace and serenity. Not one bit. They were out and out creepy, and somewhat reminiscent of the ‘Weeping Angels’ from the Dr. Who episode Blink.

Then of course there were the strange farmer people, who wandered around with plastic vegetable props and burst onto the scene. I was interviewed with what I can only describe as a leek microphone whilst being asked my preferences between George or Rose Bush, Osmobrother or osmosis — you know the sort of thing.

the Flowerbed Men

Oh, and we’d do well to remember Bill and Ben. Well, they weren’t flowerpot men, but they certainly seemed to be flowerbed men. They were dressed in green, with fairy wings on their backs, dotted liberally with flowers and insects and more or less walked on all fours, except that their hands and feet were all obviously on some stilt-like contraptions, putting them two or three foot taller than everyone else.

Again, kids were fascinated by these two. Again, I was wondering why they were fascinated as opposed to, say, terrified, but that’s kids for you.

We had picked up some tickets to go and see shadow puppets performing A Midsummer Nights Dream (free), but as we had some time to kill before that started, we headed over to the face painting area.

BTP with Spiderman Face Paint

Unfortunately, we lost BTP after that, and despite searching high and low for him we were unable to find him. Instead, Spiderman joined us for the rest of the afternoon.

Me and Spidey sat at the front for A Midsummer Nights Dream, and I was impressed with him for being well-behaved throughout (still, I suppose he was a superhero at the time). The puppetry performance itself was somewhat different: they’d decided to set A Midsummer Nights Dream somewhere local — in this case Kibblesworth Woods — and so it was therefore necessary that all of the characters spoke with broad Geordie accents.

How, Lysander, I really fancy yee, like

The kids obviously didn’t notice anything unusual about this, but one or two of the adults had a guffaw or two at the comedic juxtaposition of the supposedly high-brow Shakespearan prose contrasting with the purportedly low-brow broad Geordie accent. Aye, and it was funny, like, an’ aal.

And after that, there was a bit of a wander back through the markets again, pausing only to wonder how in the name of blue blazes did I manage to be handed quite so many leaflets when I was walking through the area with market stalls; wondering exactly how many things I signed up to, and whether or not I did remember to tick all the boxes saying “please don’t send me shite through the post” when I’d been sending off for free things.

I did get an energy-saving lightbulb though. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the heart to tell them that it wouldn’t actually go in any of our light fittings and what I had approached the stall to ask for was did they know anywhere where I could get littler energy saving bulbs.

Squirty flower hosepipe thing

We sent off for some free RSPB books, and I entered a competition to try and win tickets for next year. Oh, and I got a free pen. Well, I say free. I filled in some competition on one of the stalls and realised later that I still had their pen. Sorry!

And that was about it really. There was just time to walk back through the flower show, past the strange hosepipe, in a box, shaped like a flower, that was squirting water everywhere and fascinated BTP who wanted to take the glass sides off the box and let the water squirt out everywhere.

Even I have to admit, that would have been fun.

I suppose the big question is, it was your first Flower Show. Would you go again?

Well, the reason it was my first flower show was because — and I’ll be clear about this, because it’s important — I don’t give a toss about gardening. That’s a fairly big negative on that side of the equation. On the other hand, it was entertaining (although by the time you’d added up all the bits and bobs, not cheap). It was good for the kiddies. It was a nice afternoon out.

Would I go again? At £7 each for adults, no: I’d have almost as much fun taking the kids to Saltwell Park for nowt. But if I win free tickets for next year, then I’d be delighted to go again…

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