It has been a frenzied week of activity here in little Edensor, so apologies for no blogs lately!
To start with, we’ve just had our “Hidden gardens” event, with 16 gardens open to the public, an old fashioned garden fete on the green, and loads of traditional happenings. Jane has been poorly with a throat infection for several days before, and we both had a huge scramble to get the allotments into visitable order. I constructed some hanging labels for the various sections to show the varieties of vegetables and fruits in each border, which interested people. At least there were some crops to look at! The broadbeans and peas are ready for picking, and the strawberries looked organised, turning red in their little kilner jar protectors, (almost my own invention) which certainly saves the berries from some mouse, vole and slug munching, and turns them red more quickly. The beas swarmed on the morning of the show, which was a very interesting but slightly terrifying event, and Jane stayed on the allotment with some friends during the day to make sure they didn’t do it again. (well she could not stop them swarming of course, but if they did, she could get everyone off the plot quickly!)
Our gardens at the Vicarage were open as well, and a few hundred people trooped in and out of my little plastic greenhouse to seriously consider my ten tomato plants, one cucumber and one pepper! David wrote labels for the various poultry runs, so they all could see the hens and chicks as well. It has been the year of the cockerel here, with 80% of the hatched chicks being male. – bad news really.
In the event, the whole day was a great success. The weather was perfect, warm and sunny in the upper 70s, and the people just kept pouring through the gate! I had sent a press release to Radio Sheffield the week before and they did a live phone interview with me on Friday, which might have helped, but we had the signs up all around Chatsworth and beyond any way.
The day raised a stunning total of £8000, to be divided between our local C. of E. primary school, which needs to raise £17000 as 10% towards its new extension, (otherwise funded by the Diocese), and Church funds, focusing on the churchyard, which takes £4000 just to keep the grass cut. It’s St Peter’s tide, our patronal festival, which is why we always do this on July 2nd or thereabouts.
With Holymoorside silver band playing on the green, a hog roast , beer and Pimms tent, cream teas in the church – which made £800, hand bell ringers, a barrel organ man, Punch and Judy, and loads of stalls, it was a classic day out. I was running the plant stall with some good assistants, and we did a steady trade. The inevitable leftovers can easily be absorbed. The whole village and church congregation pulled together, (which does not happen automatically, as the estate people have a tradition of not attending the local church!), and loads of people worked really hard to make the day a success, notably Helen Marchant, DDDof D’s secretary, who is a stunning organiser.