The Tale of an Enormous Cabbage

In September, Brockwell Park hosted one of my favourite events of the year – the Lambeth Country Show. Imagine a funfair combined with live music, sheep shearing, goat milking, petting zoo and an amazingly diverse food market, and you have an idea – but that’s not even half of it.

Cake display

All the cakes!

The show is usually held in July, and I’d missed the previous two as I’d been on holiday (and was seriously considering planning my holidays more carefully in 2012 so that I didn’t miss it a third year in a row, it’s that good!), but this year Lambeth Council announced thanks to a lack of security staff and portaloos, due to the Olympics (yes, because there were LOADS of security staff and portaloos there…), the show would be cancelled.

Following protests from the local community, the council relented, and in a improbably gracious and considerate decision, announced that the show would be held in September instead.

I applaud the move to early autumn for two reasons and hope Lambeth keep it in September from now on – selfishly so that it doesn’t clash with my holidays again, but more importantly, the show becomes in effect a Harvest Festival, and means fruit, flowers and vegetables can be shown off at their very best.

My highlight of the weekend, apart from admiring Vauxhall City Farm’s guinea pigs, was the visit to the marquee which contains all the traditional Country Show goodies – jars of jam, perfectly round onions, cakes, crocheted loo-roll dollies (yes, they still exist…) and flower displays.

Loo roll crochet dolly

The 70s called, it wants its loo roll dolly back…

By the time I went round, the prizes had already been awarded, so cakes were missing slices and some of the wares were a little past their best, but there was still plenty to admire, including these simple and attractive displays of fresh herbs in vases…

Herbs in vases

Herbs in vases

…alongside these rather more dramatic flower arrangements – again, the change of season meant autumnal colours and Michaelmas daisies could be incorporated to pleasing effect.

Autumnal flowers

Autumnal flowers

This vase of wheatfield flowers, including ox-eye daisies and cornflowers was perhaps my favourite piece, although the worthies had only awarded it second prize.

Wheatfield flowers

Wheatfield flowers

Finally, the most impressive thing of all – the most enormous cabbage you’ve ever seen, outside a fairy tale. Lovely.


The most enormous cabbage!

I was pleased to see the show was as big as I’ve ever seen it, and very busy – I do hope, budget cuts notwithstanding, Lambeth keep the show going and consider holding it permanently in September from now on, and next year I will make a point of not going on holiday that weekend.


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