This morning, I lost my car key. I parked the car, took some carrier bags to Al, who demands that his customers use their own bags or else recycle supermarket ones, went to the cashpoint and the butcher, then back to Al for some calabrese and, while I was about it, served a customer with a chilli pepper, two limes, a bunch of spring onions and a head of garlic, which cost £1.53 (this last to demonstrate that, while I may be scatty, I do have some sort of a memory). While I was doing this, I lost the key. I turned my bag out twice – Sarah and Amy were particularly bemused by the gavel – and retraced my footsteps. I am in despair.
I expect you think I am the sort of woman who has no idea where her spare key is, but I know what a fool I am and so make provision for it, and I was able to phone the Sage, direct him to the key and Dilly came in to deliver it.
I went to judge the Domestic classes at the next-door village Autumn Show. This was most enjoyable and allowed the bossy and decisive part of my nature full rein (I am, normally, sweet and biddable of course). Of course, one has to taste everything. The classes were Fruit Cake, Shortbread, Apple Pie, Bread Rolls, Canapés, Marmalade, Mint Sauce, Chutney, Pickles, Eggs (these, being au naturel, I did not taste, but I cracked one of each on to a plate to judge the quality), non-alcoholic Summer Drink and the gentleman’s class, a Lemon Drizzle Cake. Men were not, of course, excluded from any of the other classes.
I ate a bit of everything. Including nine different chutneys. The standard was very high and it was hard to choose. Afterwards, I was given lunch. Of course I ate it – it was Denton, where the food is fantastic.
However good it all is, though, there is usually one outstanding item, which demands first place. It’s the later places that are harder to evaluate. The chutneys were all so different and it was hard to judge one against another so I had to go through them all again. The best of all were a courgette chutney and a mango chutney with sultanas and almonds and I liked them both equally. I gave first prize to the courgette, as it used local ingredients, gave a splendid flavour to a not-very-flavourful base and helpfully used something that comes in a glut at this time of the year. The lemon cakes were gorgeous and the two best were outstanding. Far better than any cake I make. I did the drink last, by which time four people were standing watching me. One, who had been helping with the labels, stood back as her drink was among the entrants. I tried them all, twice (including the one I didn’t much like, in case it was hers). Then I tried some of them again. I picked an elderflower cordial, a lemonade and an iced mint tea (this was actual tea flavoured with mint, not a herb tisane). I tasted them for a fourth time. Everyone was vastly impressed by my rigour. I gave the elderflower first prize, the tea second and the lemonade third. After the cards had gone on, my helper beamed. Hers had been the elderflower…
I’ll prepare supper tonight, as the children, all seven of them, have gone to Southwold. We’ll eat next door with Al and Dilly though, so that they won’t have to leave to put the children to bed. El trotted out in her lunch hour yesterday and bought smoked trout, hare and goose terrines from Fortnum & Mason, so we’ll start the meal with those. She also bought some kudu biltong, just to give me something I’ve never eaten before. I feel quite shockingly decadent, to be sampling a South African antelope, but it is very tasty.