And the winner is......? June 07 2018
If you've ever been to a wedding, 21st Birthday party, or generally any celebration bash held up north, ( I stress Up North and mainly farmers ) , then no doubt you will have heard the following...
Normally said in a male, slightly slurred Yorkshire accent, with a heavy emphasis on the U vowels...
"And I'd just like to thank the caterers for a luvelee spread ..."
( for anyone not acquainted to northern speak, its an acknowledgement of the food preparation and the hard working catering staff)
I think those few chosen words have always resonated with me and my family in a slightly tongue in cheek, half mocking sort of way, really by a lack of imagination of saying a 'thank you' after a few ales or glasses of bubbly.
Its a bit like when they open the envelope at the Oscars..... (long pause for effect)
"And the winner is..........?"
Well yes, and no, not exactly.
Yes, we did WIN yesterday at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show.
And no we didn't win outright, as the stars are marked out of 5 and then there is a best of show.
But we did WIN a 3 star Trade stand award for our 'creative talents' of making our stand look like a garden shed.
And are we chuffed? You bet we are!! We are really pleased.
Many stands don't get recognised at all and some stands might get a letter of caution, could do better, or even unsatisfactory. So to get an award that recognises our efforts, is really quite a big deal. Especially from the RHS.
Every year we exhibit at RHS flower shows, normally within the Country Living marquee and this is the first year we are at Chatsworth as a separate stand.
Setting up the shows is always so tiring with a huge set up on our part normally in preparation weeks ahead. Packing cards, buying new stock, preparing props and then some very long and intense days putting it all up on site.
Its usually me on my own doing the set up part on site , while Samantha runs the stand on the trading days; she's better at that side of it than me!
So lots of different types of work from both us, but all combined it comes together on the stand, with of course lots of support from the RHS.
And that is where I come to the part of mentioning the RHS itself.
Founded by John Wedgwood and formed originally as the Horticultural Society of London in 1804, it is now a registered charity that promotes gardening and horticulture throughout the U.K. Their membership is ever increasing with around a half a million members that put on amazing events like Chelsea, Hampton Court, Tatton Park and now in its second year, Chatsworth.
The RHS is in my opinion what makes a Great British summer ever so special.
I see the organisation as the ultimate vehicle for public awareness, which promotes learning, modern and traditional techniques and of course gardening skills. Most of all it allows its members and exhibitors to reach their full creative potential and in so doing it creates a stunning visual extravaganza for all of us.
All this run with total professional military precision.
To be on site days before the event goes live is to witness something very special indeed.
It is like watching a little town or community literally 'growing' out of the ground.
Everyone doing their own little bit. It makes me feel proud to be a part of it.
I am sure they must have a time lapse camera set up somewhere and if they don't , they certainly should. There is everything built on site .
From the temporary roads, drains, loos, staff catering, (yes of course caterers), electricians, joiners, tents, security, communications, traffic management, press offices, have I forgotten to mention anyone?
Well yes I'm sure I've forgotten loads of different trades and people that all contribute to this terrific event behind the scenes. They all make these amazing things happen each year.
A bit like growing plants or vegetables, the RHS, does just literally 'spring' out of the ground and provide something truly wonderful each year. Then as the show draws to a close, just like flowers being picked or vegetables harvested, so then the show goes slowly back downwards to the earth from which it came. And soon you'd never know it was there in the first place.
So for my 'Oscars style acceptance speech' ( Ha Ha ) to the RHS , I'd like to thank all those amazing people behind the scenes, that make it all possible.
I can't name them all as I'd be thrown off my homemade stage, so i'll just thank Sam Toro in particular who is our Trade stand coordinator and very capable, calm and professional ( and who gets a constant barrage of texts, emails and calls from me and deals with it all patiently ) and hope that she can pass on the message to all the 'behind the scenes' workers at the RHS.
Of course to the RHS judges, a big thank you.
I have to say we all had a glass of bubbly , or three last night to celebrate . I then stood up, nearly fell over after dinner, and pinged my glass for the family to quieten down, (that's hard in itself ) before I said in a slightly slurred very South Yorkshire accent.......
" And I'd just like to thank the caterers.... (no you silly billy, its not that speech again, my imagination has failed ME this time ...talking to myself) .... ahem (clearing my throat)
"I'd just like to thank the RHS for our very wonderful 3 star Trade stand award. It really does mean a whole lot to us and is very special, thank you.
Stand No. L72
3 Star Trade stand Award
RHS Chatsworth Flower Show 2018
Here's some pictures taken from my ipad.