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!

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