I feel a little queasy. I tasted everything, every entry in each class*. Some of them had to be tasted more than once, especially the cheese and onion quiches. By the time I got to the eighth, I’d rather forgotten which was which. The dozen or so chutneys was the same, and not so easy to eat by the spoonful. There were ten bread and butter puddings, two of them chocolate. Fortunately, there were only two entrants for the chocolate truffles but, as it was, I could hardly bring myself to taste the rows of pots of jellies and jams. The standard was really high though – fortunately, as I had to taste it whether it was nice or not. I had a helper, who fetched and carried and wrote down the winners, and she tasted her way round the table too. When it came to the elderflower cordial, she said she couldn’t say anything about them, as one of them was hers. There were five and all were good – I decided on the two fourth prizewinners (well…) and the third and then said it was between the other two. I was tasting again when my phone rang. It was the Sage.
I can’t remember whether I’ve mentioned our friend who has recently had a cochlear implant, but she found the whole thing a bit of an ordeal, not helped by having to be driven to Cambridge every week for weeks on end. But today, she telephoned and the Sage was so excited he had to tell me about it. For years we’ve had to email or phone a message service, where a clerk types out your message and it’s printed out by the phone (I am hazy here, as I haven’t actually seen it). Finally, she can hear well enough to have a telephone conversation.
After I put the phone down I had one last taste of the two yummiest cordials and made my decision. D didn’t say anything for a while, but when we were tasting the truffles, she told me that I’d given her drink first prize.
After all the judging, we had lunch – yes, I know, how could we indeed? I had some green salad and a piece of bread to remove the jamminess from my mouth. Then we took a stroll round the whole show.
As I was gazing at the potatoes, I realised that I was standing next to a celebrity. Not JonnyB, nor Dave, not even Murph. It was ‘im off The Archers. Neil Carter’s real self, who lives in the village. His potatoes had won second prize.
*except the raw eggs