Wednesday, 31 July 2013


Prince Charles

Bernard Tuck

 Somehow I thought it wouldn't be long before a blog follower would dish up a little digital magic in response to my challenge to imprint Prince Charles on the gooseberry named to celebrate his birth, Peter Goode's winning fruit at Goostrey Gooseberry Show. I have to thank Bernard Tuck from Cobweb Cottage, Jodrell Bank, for his prompt response and, as you can see, I think a great picture of his Royal Highness with an expression on his face that can only say "Camilla, they are going to turn me into a gooseberry tart.." Hope HRH doesn't take offence and send his men down to the village with orders to "...orf with their heads!"  Bernard worked in publishing until early retirement six years ago and he has since freelanced in marketing, brochure design and photography for clients including the owners of the Crown and The Dog, Over Peover. I have to confess in all the excitement about the week-end gooseberry show I failed to mention two of the youngest entrants, Abigail Burgess, nine, and 13-year-old Georgina Turner who both won places with berries. My thanks again to Bernard for sending me the Prince Charles image and to Peter Goode's father-in-law, Alan Perrin for suggesting the idea, a thought worthy of any newspaper picture desk on a "Royal" day!

Abigail Burgess
Georgina Turner

Sunday, 28 July 2013


Peter Goode celebrates with his Prince Charles

   I shouldn't say this of course but I thought hard-nosed gooseberry growers would prefer to pluck a large luscious fruit from their bushes than raise a glass or two in welcoming the Royal birth. Yet in a village like Goostrey you can never tell what drama the annual Gooseberry Show will produce on a day fraught with not a little tension after months of nurturing and raising the prized fruit. So it was at the week-end at the appropriately called Crown Inn that Royalty dashed the hopes of many would be champions. Just when all thought was on the Battle of the Berries with traditional titles, Peter Goode, somewhat of a dark horse but a consistent grower all the same, produced a Royal heavyweight to clinch the award for the premier berry at the century-old show. His Prince Charles fruit raised on his allotment in Allostock weighed in at 29 pennyweights and seven grains to win the trophy. It was not lost in all the excitement the berry was named  to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Wales almost 65 years ago - and, yes to boot, in the same week his first grandson, Prince George, was born. Peter, a model for James Bond on the gooseberry show's float in the village's recent Rose Queen festival, could be described as shaken if not stirred (but I guess secretly he knew he was in with a chance!) He said himself  he was a little gobsmacked when the berry was weighed as he thought it might have tipped the scales at more than 30 pennyweights but in the event it was more than ample to win the show - even if a little slimmer than winners of previous years! Peter, a plumber lives in Holmes Chapel, but his family has strong farming links with Goostrey. He has grown gooseberries for something like 24 years but this was his first award of the premier prize. Angela Kirk, the show's official weigher, did a quick dig into the records to see how the Prince Charles has fared in the past. It appears never to have won a premier award - certainly in Goostrey, or elsewhere as far as she could see, but as she said it had given the village show a real Royal theme this year. Perhaps if one of the members produces a seedling and needs to give it a name Prince George would be the most appropriate! Peter's father-in-law,Alan Perrin, along with my friend Dave Burnham stalwart members of the local University of the Third Age (U3A), made a worthy suggestion that perhaps I should imprint an image of Prince Charles on the winning berry, but I'm afraid it is something beyond my technical skills. Anyone want a go please be my guest! I'm afraid gooseberry fans will have to wait this week for the Sandbach Chronicle and Knutsford Guardian for the full results and pictures from  the show and other village events.(I don't like to steal the thunder from my hard-working colleagues on the weeklies). But if rumour has it right it appears local world champion Kelvin Archer is ahead of the field with his berry named Ann Archer of 32 pennyweights 01 grains at the Lower Withington Show. Although a modest size by Kelvin's standards, given this year's seriously weather-hit growing season - apart from July - it is possibly the leading contender for the Mid-Cheshire shows top prize.
Peter's berry gets the Crown!

Friday, 26 July 2013


Last year's Gooseberry Show winner, Tom McCartney
Work on laying the tarmac in Blackden Lane

  I returned to Goostrey this week  from RandR at my friends Maurice and Patsy in Surrey in time for our annual Gooseberry Show bash and what a surprise! No, nothing to do with the size of the berries - at long last Blackden Lane and Church Bank had men from the "Blackstuff" crawling over it like an army of ants laying a carpet of tarmac! I've been banging on for years about the state of the road, pitted, potted, pretty terrifying for traffic and pedestrians alike.Our humble cottage, some 400 years old, was feeling it too as passing traffic caused it to shake like something in the final stages of a horror movie. Now even the oldest banger sounds like a Rolls Royce travelling down the lane. And better still (possibly!) the earth has stopped moving for me every time a vehicle passes the door. I have sent my thanks to the council for a job well done in three days (should have been two but a machine broke down) and also met up with our immediate neighbour Paul Chaisty QC whose meaningful on-site discussion with the council I am sure did more than this old newshound to get the tarmac rolling! The roadworks no doubt caused a great deal of  mumble-grumble from the regular rat runners  forced to take a detour, and  now  I can only pray they will take note of the freshly-painted "slow" signs on the road. The work coincided with the final days in the run up to the battle of the gooseberries tomorrow (Saturday) at The Crown Inn where it has been traditionally hosted for some years. It was all looking a little fraught for the growers until July suddenly burst into summer to put a smile on their faces - sadly most are of an age when only a big berry among the bushes can raise a smile! - but it is different now. Even at BH where it was all doom and gloom several weeks ago modest success at the show is on the menu. But growers generally are playing it - as always - very close to their chests. I hear one or two of the favourites have some "nice" berries to put on the scales. But you can guess they will have a tension-torn night after today's pickings are boxed and sealed for the berry battle! Visitors are most welcome to the afternoon event, as seen on TV earlier this year,  and to sample the Crown's splendid offering of ale, wines and eats.
*For a taste of the village event look up last year's show blog.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013


Members of Goostrey Gooseberry Society were inspired by James Bond  for their float at the village's Rose Day festival but now they are hanging their heads in shame - not only were they savaged by the scout's Viking ship entry but they lost the Crown's hat stand!
The stand with 007s trilby was borrowed from the inn as part of  the set for Miss Moneypenny's  office on their ambitious float.
But in the rush to the pub to drown their sorrows after losing the contest to the scouts for  the best float the old fashioned wooden stand was forgotten.
Now after learning the stand was smashed on the road when it toppled off the trailer as it was returned to the owner, members are appealing for help in locating another - as a donation if possible!
A member of the society said: "We would love to hear from anyone who has a wooden hat stand so we can replace the one we borrowed from the Crown."
*Any offers please contact by email at

Monday, 1 July 2013


Rose Queen Anna


Sue Mottershead  at the opening
     I guess some gremlin got into the works so most of the pictures from the main blog from the Rose Day festivities got lost in space, goodness knows where. But all is well that ends well, I hope, and I can now play catch-up blog and include a selection - sadly my only picture of the new Rose Queen is a few seconds of video (another mistake pressing the wrong button!) but  Lynton Weeks kindly responded to my plea for help and emailed an image for publication!
*Click on the images to enlarge
The winning Viking float                                                                   

Nick Hassall tried a disguise as 007 ready for take- off
May look like 1905 but this is 2013 outside the Crown Inn!

Terry Price ? No, it is Jaws!
The church entry was a heavenly float

The Queen gathers with her court on the royal field