Monday, 7 September 2009


Firstly, the committee would like to tender its apologies for some slowness this week in processing show entries. This was due entirely on people, the public, you out there, being far too keen on entering the show. If only you had taken less trouble to publicise the show and to enter your thoughtful and good-hearted entries, our lives would have been so much easier. Please bear that in mind next year! 

Secondly, congratulations to all involved for the high standards of submission. Even Cleve's blight was strangely alluring. (Though Mr Alexander-Sinclair as always lowered the tone, this time by submitting a pumpkin he claims resembles Kerry Katona. I include a Google link for Miss Katona here, not to encourage Mr Alexander-Sinclair further but merely to help our American and Limburgese colleagues who may not be familiar with Miss Katona's body of work.)

Finally, we look forward to judging the entries. If there is anyone who feels they would have liked to enter but hasn't quite got round to it, I'm sure that the committee is now so exhausted from its nine-hour uploading marathon today that probably not much judging is going to get done for a few days. If there's one last thing you're itching to enter, please feel free. Unless your name is VP in which case you've already entered everything and you must be dreaming. 

With many best wishes to all the competitors,

The Committee. 

In particular the Committee are happy to receive any last minute entries for a hastily invented category of flower arrangements for Rachella de Thame's slutty evil sister, as requested. 

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


After unbearable pressure was put on the committee (silent phone calls, threatening letters, horse's heads in our beds) we felt that it would only be  fair and proper to immediately institute  a new category, "Flower Arrangement for Rachel de Thame's Slutty Evil Twin Sister." Just for like, our own peace of mind. 

For legal reasons we'd like to make clear that this slutty evil twin sister is of course, imaginary, and that if Rachel de Thame does indeed have a twin sister, or indeed a sister of any kind, we cast no aspersions on her presumably immaculate character. 

The first absolutely gorg flowers here are from Karen "an Artist's Garden," who said, "This arrangement is for the evil sister of Rachella ....I picked the darkest and most sinister things that I could find in the garden. Included in the arrangement are the seed pods from a phormium, canna, a dark hebe, angelica, a small velvet queen sunflower, rudbeckia cherry brandy and dahlia Arabian night. The foliage is physocarpus diablo, and cordaline and I think the resulting bouquet is suitably sinister!"

The second is from Helen at Patient Gardener. I really like this, it has a kind of in-your-faceness that's quite outrageous. 

And finally, Lia Leendertz sent this, wowsas I love it and it makes me sick she can grow vegetables and flowers. I particularly like the opium poppy seed heads, they are groovy, although i do imagine Rachel's evil sister being more of a Ketamine person herself. But that's just me! 

Friday, 14 August 2009


After last year's exhausting outing (plus the continuing problem over the missing silver cow creamer), the Emsworth Committee had rather thought of taking a year off organising and instead taking themselves to Tobago for a week or so (which apparently would have been allowed for within the generous terms of the Show's covenant, regarded as legitimate entertainment expenses). 

However at the last moment they have bowed to public pressure and are therefore steeling themselves to spend the next month mired in jappy pegs or whatever you call 'em. 

As always, though, the first step is to email ME, Miss Emma Townshend, of Little Piddle Cottage, Field Lane, Emsworth, on: anicegreenleaf then a DOT then hotmail then a DOT then com, with pics, and a note to let me know what you want to enter.  Despite the apparent private jokiness, this is a public show and all categories are open to all. Please DO enter. 

Good luck to all, 

the Committee


What could trump the winning photo from last year of Matthew Wilson sickeningly doollally over a hedgehog? My friends, it's all to play for. 

Amanda Hill with an amazingly cute first entry here. She says: "These are the star-nosed moles that I found underneath my compost heap in the spring. (Story here)".

VP sent this.... Ahhhhhhhh

She says "Tilly, an adorable 10-week old labradoodle joined our next door neighbours' family today. She's all wag, running and enthusiasm at the moment :)" Ha ha. Just wait till she starts chewing your penstemons, then you'll be sorry.

29th August update

Jane sends this, which is absolutely disgusting and shouldn't be allowed. She writes, "Here's my entry in the cute baby animals category. Eric Carle was right - caterpillars deserve some love!" Hmm. 


This is from Claire Potter, 
who says it's Mabel, "our border terrier cross with a wonky jaw." Awww.

And these from Venetia, who writes, "Oh, also for sweet baby animals how about some piglets, not mine, but could you look a bacon sandwich in the face right after seeing them?".


The committee have decided that under the allotment show rules, any animal resident in the garden can count as a chicken. 

This is from Amanda Hill again. Her "amazing vanishing hen"! 

And this shot from Emma Cooper is of course, "Princess Layer, the world's most beautiful and superior chicken." I don't know if you all know but she has a book out. Emma I mean, not the hen. 

I'm loving this super macro chicken shot, from Steel Phoenix. As always click to enlarge! 

The Otter Farm Chicken, a superb beast. Actually I'm sure there's more than one, but this is a good one. 

24th August update 

Frugilegius writes: " Dear Esteemed Judges,

Please find attached an entry for the Emsworth Village Show 2009 in the
category Livestock 1: Best Chicken.

I was delighted to read that, under allotment show rules, any animal
resident in the garden can count as a chicken, as I have an extremely
large and healthy flock of 'chickens', that love scratching around
amongst the vegetables. The attached image features one of my smaller
birds, but I hope you'll agree, still a fine specimen - affectionately
known as /Little Clucker///.

Best wishes,

PS. No 'chickens' were harmed in the making of this chicken."

Hmmm there's something funny about that chicken I can't quite make it out

Update, 29th August

James sent this, with the following email: "Being so young and innocent you were perhaps unaware that - in the same as babies are found under gooseberry bushes** - chickens come not from eggs but from cabbages. Attached is a photograph of the miracle of life unfolding.

**I have often wondered why Gooseberries? They are awfully prickly and, unless the baby was extremely cute, it wouldn't really be worth getting all scratched up retrieving it."

And VP sends this, with the following addendum: "Here's my Emsworth entry for best chicken ;) Readers of Emsworth Show 2008 may remember the animals at VP Gardens are a very talented bunch. Last year I entered my time telling frog: for 2009 I'm proud to reveal my equally fantastic chicken who tells us which way the wind's blowing. As you can see the surrounding plants have got rather jealous of her, so the Clematis tangutica is holding her back a little and the Rosa 'Rambling Rector' is on standby to add reinforcements if needed."


Claire writes, " best chicken - well two actually - maddy and morzine - our lovely Araucana girls." Fluffy!

Frances from Faire Gardens sent this, which I think you'll find perfectly qualifies under the rules, "an Eastern box turtle eating a fallen peach from a purple leaf peach tree in my backyard."

As does this, which Esther sent with the following note: "Dear Emma, This is a chicken."

James A-S was more cautious, appending "Am I allowed to enter my peripatetic peacock (name of Pilogenes) in the domestic animal category?". Frankly, if you can roast it with potatoes, you can enter it.


Ahhhh! That is a large pig. Emma Cooper sent this picture, with the crypto-cheaty appendage, "Am I allowed to enter a pig that doesn't live in my garden for LIVESTOCK 2: BIGGEST FATTEST PIG? I am attaching a photo of Rodney, who lives on a local open farm." Yes, Emma, even the briefest of readings of PG Wodehouse suggests that for the giant pig category, all kinds of cheating and underhand skullduggery should be permitted. Speaking of books, have I mentioned that Emma has just published one?

Hmmm, update, Monday 17th Aug. 

Jane Owen just sent me this photo, along with a cryptic email suggesting she is not taking this competition entirely seriously. I hope that I have misread the tone. She says, "The flower and produce 007 hybrids as developed by William Boot and Jane Owen. These outstanding intelligence gatherers have already proved their worth. The latest 007 hybrid cross-border dossier includes information about fat pig feeding techniques as used by breeders in neighbouring Wooster. The Wooster fat pigs can be fuelled and herded into Emsworth in 3.6 seconds." I can hardly refrain from interpreting this as some sort of threat to my own prize pig, Esmerald, the Queen of the Suburbs. Sickening. Here are some of the images of intelligence gathering hybrids:

If you see any of these spy fruit in your own garden, beware! Jane Owen is a formidable enemy! Do not approach them, but report them at once to Emsworth HQ!

VP is using snaps of the same pigs that she was on about last year, so I'm tempted to disqualify on those grounds.... Hmm..... But anyway, she says, "There's more pigs than you can shake a stick at, so that makes them pretty heavyweight porkers in my view. This is just a fraction of all the 100+ pigs which were to be found in the streets of Bath last year. As you can see, they all got together for a very big party in the park last October."


Claire sent this pig... as she admits, "well sort of fat, but mostly ceramic".


I have changed some of the categories since last year, but this one, I'm afraid, is such a firm favourite that it is staying exactly the same. However, extra points will be awarded for representing topical celebrity scenes (Peter and Jordan's divorce, Cheryl Tweedy smoking, Alys and Toby coming to blows over the palm tree planting etc). 

A lovely first entry here from Mr Alexander-Sinclair, it's Donatella Versace. 

Another from Mr A-S, it's "Alfred Hitchcock wearing a bobble hat." He is definitely going for it with the tomato portraits this year. Very smart stair edgins, that's what I can't help noticing. 

Yet another tomato portrait! This one from Amanda, she says "I am unsure whether to enter this as a celebrity portrait or as a mis-shapen vegetable. Unfortunately I am sadly uneducated in the identification of celebrity derrières..." I feel that we should help her on this by posing suggestions. Mine is Beyoncé.

Helen the Patient Gardener finally manages a celebrity that isn't a tomato! "Vegetable Celebrity lookalikey - here is Carol Klein with her spiky hair, big smile and bright top."

And then Lottie sent this, which is so cute, saying "From left to right, Toby, Alys and Joe! It's not easy taking a photo without my glasses on! :o)."

29th August update

This one is definitely going to earn some extra points, because it's just so funny. Karen from An Artist's Garden writes: "As I don’t read “Hello” or anything similar, and we don’t get Gardeners World (often) my knowledge of celebs is rather sketchy.
So I have sent you a picture of “Some Beans” .... I am not sure that I got the nose exactly right, but I hope that Happy Mouffetard will forgive me this, as Some Beans is so elusive when it comes to having a photograph taken." 
Teee heeee!

6th Sept Final Update

James De Blackpitts sent me this, labelled "Kerry Kantona". I don't know how he can be so cruel to lovely warm-hearted Kerry.

And I absolutely LOVE this one, from Claire, "I am proud to present - Bob Marley the beetroot - dreads and all." 

And this is the Strictly Come Dancing judging committee as reconfigured for 2009 sans Arlene Phillips, but expressed in plums. The level of sophistication involved in the creation of this work should already have told you that it could only have come from the hand of one single maker, Mr James Alexander-Sinclair.


We might as well call this the Arabella Sock challenge cup, but I leave it open to all so that we can enjoy the fruits of your many communal hours spent stalking gardening faves round Chelsea etc. Rather than actually, er, looking at plants. 

The Emma Townshend photobanks are depressingly poor in paparazzi shots, I have really let myself down this year. The only one I could find is this one of an out-of-focus Joe Swift chatting up a moose. Hopefully it will inspire you to do better.

Emma Cooper did slightly better with this shot of James Wong at Kew's day in celebration of ethnobotany. She added, "And I'm now wishing I took a photo of Alys while I was at the Master Composter conference ;)". She is so dedicated. Have I mentioned she's written a book? 

A brilliant entry now from Rachel, aka Rothschild Orchid from Wisteria and Cow Parsley.
This is actually titled "Wong Tickle" which I think is just RO trying to name her pic appropriately, but it made me laugh! Perhaps we should have a separate James Wong category, I'm starting to think...

And her other one, as she says, is "that wonderful man in a hat". Ahhh.

And now an entry from the man in the hat himself, entitled, I think quite rightly, "Cleve West: the Dark Side." I think there had been some disagreement about who'd already said allium. 

This one is entitled "Carol Klein and Jelly from CBeebies". I would like to know how Mr Alexander-Sinclair even knows about Jelly from CBeebies, but I guess he must be getting up to something in his office, it doesn't take all day to design gardens. 

Ms Sock's entry, as you might have guessed from the Beardshaw slant... Tee hee. 

Another from the Sock camp; Ha ha, I am suddenly having visions of James-as-Simon-Cowell ha ha ha ha

Friday 21st, update
As usual, this category is proving to be a firm favourite. Today, two from Ms B, one of James A-S looking "thoughtful" (I'm sure that can't really happen in real life) and one of Joe and Rachella de Ville. 

And finally there's this one which claims to be a photo of none other than me (on the right)! Here is the blurb, from James A-S: 'Could it be?
No, surely not... not her. Not shaking her booty to disco dance music. Not up after the News at Ten......
Yes, I do believe it is Miss Emma Townshend herself.
The Parish of Emsworth's much admired parish councillor, dog warden, postmistress, church warden, stalwart of the flower arranging and organ polishing committees, meals-on-wheels operative, soup maker to the workhouse, leader of the folk dancing group and bellringer.
Whatever next? the vicar in a crack den? Mr Plumpton the parish clerk cottaging? or Miss Fieldmouse the washerwoman in bed with Pete Doherty?
Shouldn't be allowed'
Claiming to be me? I very much doubt it. Though that does look significantly like Mrs Joe Swift on the left. I admit to going with that illustrious woman a few weeks ago for tea and scones at Blackpitts... then I believe there was a suggestion of going for a nice country walk, and I can't remember very much after that, but I doubt Mrs Swift would have taken advantage of my post-tea haze to invite me to go raving. Would she? 

Update, 24th August

Mr Alexander-Sinclair has come up with an explanation. He writes, " 
Phew. I've just realised that Miss Townshend was only there in her capacity as tireless St John's Ambulance volunteer. Here she is preparing to perform the Heimlich Manoeuvre on Ann-Marie Powell."

Then there's one from Happy Mouffetard. As she says, "Finally (for today at least), an entry for the Paparazzi class - I don't know why News of the World didn't snap me up years ago. (It's Joe Swift, in case you can't tell.)"

And now four from Victoria: 
One, she says, for the Sock:

One, she says, 'For Zoe":  (so thoughtful)

I like to think this one is for me:

Joe and Alan look like they are ushers at a wedding. They have that super smart / lounging about vibe.  

But I am afraid the judging committee is going to look rather askance at all these pictures of me, I don't understand how anyone can possibly think they are of interest to anyone except in recording the annual waxing and waning of the Townshend arse. Let me reiterate: Best Paparazzi Shot of Matthew Wilson or Similar. Not Emma Townshend or Similar. Harumph. 

29th August update

What a treat! James A-S thoughtfully sent this which has cheered me up no end. He writes, "I thought you better have at least one photo of Matthew Wilson. The Landscape Man dreaming of wild moorland and pliant ovines. (with the gorgeous Nina from the Malvern Show)."  

And this one made me laugh and laugh because it's EXACTLY the kind of photo I take. From New Shoot, in her words: "My next is a combination of categories - the pap snap and the artistic licence… which is my way of saying I'm rubbish at taking 'quick-on-the-draw' photos. Alan Titchmarsh, Beth Chatto and a very rude lysichiton."

Some more Sockeration! 

This one is tactfully entitled "Alys gurning" :-)

And these two, my dears, speak for themselves. She is a very, very BAD sock!!!


another snap with full Sockability, this one from VP. Thank goodness they put that little screen there for him so he doesn't have to remember what to say and have to try and walk at the same time.