Friday, 6 July 2012

Hampton Court Flower Show 2012

I raced home from work with a bag full of scrummy Paul delights for our posh picnic. A quick change of clothes and back to the station to hop two stops to Hampton Court. As we got off the train it started to drizzle. And boy, was it wet. After a comedy moment following our picnic wheelbarrow to the picnic creche, we retraced our steps to look at the larger gardens. The succulent coral reef (top left, row two) was beautiful as was the butterfly garden highlighting a plight. The Renault garden was somewhat out of sorts, and the OBS garden an odd charity to highlight - the pink thoughts made me think of a well known cancer charity. The smaller gardens were pretty but there was definitely an 'in-season' planting mix - salvia, alchemilla mollis, achillea, delphinium, eryngium, birch (always), agapanthus and grass - all with a white or blue hue. Dry ice was out in force, lending a Harry Potter-esque touch to some of the gardens. My favourite (the smallest and cheapest at £7k) was ever so slightly ruined by the naff frog.

After wading through the outdoor exhibits we retrieved our picnic from the creche and made our way to the band stand area. Now, I must confess to feeling quite smug about our homemade posh picnic. Miniature bottles of fizz and Pinot Grigio, nibbles, butternut squash falafel, two types of quiche, green salad, fougasse bread, coleslaw, gooseberry fool complete with said homemade meringue and Paul choquettes. We could hardly move post feeding frenzy. However...posh it was not compared to our neighbours wares. I kid you not, they produced their 1920s style picnic thermos from a bundle of bubble wrap which, when the lids were lifted, revealed steaming mash, vegetables and boeuf bourginon. Seriously. It was a sight to behold. Topped with a beautiful fruit cake, completely with stonking icing and sparklers. Hats off to our fellow picnickers who clearly were well ahead of our posh nosh.

We then mooched around the Country Living marquee (bought a very nice ring from Rr), fled the foody area (too stuffed) and ended up in the flower pavilion as the rain lashed down. I discovered that all the midges were hanging out at the posh loos. We concluded that, with 40 minutes to go until the fireworks, we could do with warming up, so made our way across the water to a coffee tent. Following a Faulty Towers serving, we eventually had cups of putrid coffee to warm our chilly fingers as we contemplated the best spot to watch the fireworks. The globe lights lining the long water, whilst beautiful from afar, had become a mecca for the mosquitoes of Hampton, so we loitered by the champagne tent under our golf brolly, amusing ourselves by watching the slightly squiffy women in heels schlepping across the grass. The fireworks were lovely, but the screaming children (note - we paid an extortionate amount of money for tickets for an evening where children under the age of 18 were not allowed - we remain puzzled) somewhat niggled. With the final ooo, there was a comedy moment of stillness before the crowd realised that it was time to stampede to the exit, and carriages home. We managed to grab a dodgy cab home, which was an absolute blessing considering trench foot and food coma were both starting to set in.

It was a lovely five hours - and most enjoyable for the lack of crowds and those damn ankle crashing plastic boxes with wheels. We had a right, rollicking good time. Having not been for two years, it was lovely to meander and gather ideas. Alas, my impatience doth grow, being between houses and gardens, I can't wait for us to be in, so that we can start planning our cottage front garden - it's east facing so we can grow things that flower and bloom and buzz. My grandmother would have been proud.

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