The schedules were out for the Annual Village Flower Show and I was eagerly looking through deciding which categories to enter - I circled several before spotting the one I really thought I would enjoy, "The Heaviest Pumpkin".
The seeds were selected and planted, of the 10 seeds in the packet just over half grew; these were all lovingly nurtured and as the flowers grew, got fertilised and pumpkins began growing their progress was checked daily. I talked to my would-be prize winners a lot and after about a month I selected my favourite and gave her a name, "Patti". Patti responded to my chats and feeds by growing bigger and bigger - my family began to complain that I paid more attention to the growth of the pumpkin than I did about them....I discovered who else had entered the competition and through the course of the next few weeks we teased each other about the feeds we were giving our would-be prize winners, joked about the wheel barrows we need to transport our pumpkins to the show in but we didn't dare go to visit each others vegetable plots, for fear of having the label "spy" or "saboteur" attached to us!
Two days before the village show I went out to check on Patti and noticed a little damp spot on her side. I cut her that night and bought her into the kitchen. I cleaned her and imagined her with the winning rossette next to her - I patted her goodnight and went up to bed. The next morning when I came into the kitchen the first thing I did was to check Patti. Was it my imagination or had the damp patch grown overnight? The rest of the day was spent preparing the village green for the village day - I barely had time to think about Patti as I made sure my bread, cakes and biscuits were baked for the Cookery classes I had entered; last minute tweeks were made to the hanging baskets I was entering and the selection and measuring of my runner beans for the Longest Bean category. At about 9 o'clock that evening I went to check on Patti, the pumpkin I had lovingly tended all those months sat on the table in the larder, from a distance she looked a little lob-sided - I went to straighten her up......
The family rushed in when they heard my scream. There on the table before us all sat Patti - at my touch she had imploded! My family stared at me open-mouthed and saw tears rolling down my cheeks.....tears of laughter, the stupid pumpkin had imploded two days too soon!
The next morning I carried across all my entries to the show, including Patti. I placed her on the spot reserved for her and next to her I stuck "An Ode to Vain Lady called Jane", a short poem my daughter had written about a woman who allowed her love of a pumpkin to over-ride all else. My daughter won first prize for her poem.