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.