Last night, I drank beer rather than wine. I was cooking a fish curry and lager seemed appropriate. I checked the label: 1.8 units. That is a really quite annoying level of alcohol – one is not enough and two is too much. So tonight I’m drinking red wine, a proper drink.
The Domestic part of the show schedule read – Lemon Drizzle Cake, 3 Cup Cakes, decorated, 5 Choc Chip Cookies, 5 White Bread Rolls, 5 Cheese Scones, Jar of Jam, Jar of Marmalade, Jar of Chutney, Jar of Pickles, 6 Eggs, A Jug of Summer Drink (non-alcoholic) and Gentlemen’s Class – Fruit Crumble.
I shall repeat that list with, as far as I remember, the number of entries.
Lemon Drizzle Cake (10), 3 Cup Cakes, decorated (0 – I know darlings, none, its not that sort of village, evidently), 5 Choc Chip Cookies (5), 5 White Bread Rolls (2), 5 Cheese Scones (about 8), Jar of Jam (8), Jar of Marmalade (5), Jar of Chutney (11), Jar of Pickles (1), 6 Eggs (1, unusually. Usually it’s a popular class), A Jug of Summer Drink (non-alcoholic) (3) and Gentlemen’s Class – Fruit Crumble (9).
Marie and I sampled every one, except the eggs, one of which we cracked into a saucer and examined for quality – there may have been only one in the class, but it still has to be worthy of first prize, which it was. Perfect, new-laid and lovely colour, inside and out. In almost every class, we had to sample several of them at least two times before we were sure we had made the best choice. With the jams, we couldn’t decide between two good damson jams and gave them equal third place. We also gave an additional prize somewhere else, can’t remember where, think it was two equal seconds.
At some point, when we were earnestly debating the merits of different examples, I said “This would be a damn silly way of earning a living, if we were actually being paid! But of course, that it’s all for fun doesn’t make it not important. There was only one entry in the pickle class, but we tasted it anyway, and it was excellent, a lovely cucumber pickle that I took a second spoonful of because it was so good. The chutneys were hard going. We left them to last, there were a lot of them and there wasn’t that much to choose between them, all nice but none exceptional, and we were tired of tasting and the jam had taken its toll. After all decisions were made, of course, it was time for lunch. I didn’t eat much.
Al will be on a different postal round next week, because the person whose round it really is has returned from long-term sick leave. He will be on a bike. In town, new round to learn, different day off. His van needs a new exhaust, so he’s borrowing my car on Monday. It’s rather bigger than he’s used to (an elderly Mercedes estate car) so we will take a spin round the village tomorrow to get him used to it.
P.S. A query about how we judge the eggs, which is on appearance only – The eggs are fresh, raw and in their shells. We don’t eat them, we look at them to see if they match well in colour or size (if all from the same breed, they don’t have to be), then crack one onto a plate and look at it again. A really fresh egg has the yolk sitting well up on the white, which isn’t watery. Ideally, there are no white spots or red streaks on the yolk, but there’s a bit of luck involved there, one might crack the only egg with an imperfect yolk. Oh, and the shell has to be strong and crack neatly.