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A few weeks ago I had never even heard of the Taunton Flower Show, held annually in Vivary Park – thank you Sam. I went to its opening day yesterday with a friend.

While it was interesting to see all the many commercial stalls, selling all sorts of things, most of them nothing to do with flowers (and indeed I bought a handbag), the highlights were the marquees. And perhaps another time, on reflection, I would wish to spend more time watching what was going on in the arena. But as neither of us had a sunhat with her – having believed the BBC’s local weather forecast that it would be overcast for much of the day – that was not really on. Anyway, there was a lot else to occupy our time.

The first ‘flowery’ exhibits were in the growers’ marquee. Here is a tiny selection of what we saw there.

I overheard someone saying that the plant nearest looked like a tarantula
I wasn’t the only one taking pictures
This is just part of the central stand in the marquee, by one of the main local nurseries, Monkton Elm Garden Centre

We moved on to the competition marquee. I have not been able to be so rigorous in my photo selection.

This won first prize in the ‘In a nutshell’ category. It was about 5 inches, about 13 centimetres, high.
This exquisite composition one first in the ‘Turkish Delight’ category.
Second in the ‘Nostalgia ‘ category
First in the same. I didn’t seek to take a photo without the observer, because I thought her dress went so well.
We both thought that this was by far the best in the ‘At the garden gate’ category, but sadly it was disqualified because of the use of artificial grass.
Likewise, we disagreed with the judges in the ‘Helter Skelter’ category. Of the five entries, only two included a coiled ‘slide’, but first and second prizes went to entries that were just vaguely lighthouse-shaped. This is the one we liked best.
This, like the following image, is of entries in the ‘Roots, Shoots and Leaves’ class.
We had no problem with the judging in the ‘Recycle’ category. Each contestant had been given an hour, a bottle, a tin, some string, some sticks, some fabric and some vegetation, to make their exhibit. This was definitely the best we thought – and so did the judges.
Couldn’t resist taken a ‘selfie’ in this exhibit from the mirrors category in the crafts section.
The snowy owl and the squirrel won second and third in their class.
I love begonias, and fuschias
Another photo op I couldn’t resist – a rather large gentlemen taking a photo of this rather large cabbage.
How do you judge Victoria sponges…
… or cottage loaves, for that matter?
This is one person’s entry for a variety of crafts. The top of the box is in a sort of felt bas relief. No doubt it has a name. Would that be stumpwork?
The mauve and white arrangement won first in its class
I was given a very small one of these as a houseplant many decade ago. I think it was from that that I acquired my love of begonias.

We walked around the arena, and stopped to watch for a short while the Combined Youth Bands of Barnstaple and Bideford, though this video is just of the Bideford lot. (And I really must remember that the camera stops the sound two seconds before I press the button.)

A bar in your garden?

This plant sales area seemed to be doing good trade.

We decided to look for a spot of lunch. On the way, I moved sideways to take a picture of a whole load of seagulls and ducks to our right in the Sherford Stream, a tributary of the River Tone which runs through Vivary Park. I made for the railing, and … Wham!

I hadn’t noticed there was a step down before the railing, and fell sideways. Desperate to protect the camera slung round my neck, I fell flat on my front along said step, and ended up neatly ranged full-length between the upper step and the railing. People rushed to my aid, wanting to haul me up, though I asked to lie there for a little while before they did so. When I eventually stood up, someone from the Tone FM (Taunton’s local internet radio) stand opposite had already placed a chair for me, and someone else had gone to get first aid. St John’s Ambulance volunteers, Eloise and Mel, soon arrived.

They spent a very long time ensuring that every last bit of grit had been washed out with saline, and patching me up.

Taken where we eventually had lunch. I think my bag also must have cushioned my fall.

The only seriously broken skin was along my left forearm, and I had/have swelling on my right knee, pulled muscles in my left shoulder, a small bump to the side of my right temple, and a few other tiny scrapes and bruises. Nothing broken. Well done St John’s Ambulance for a very good job! Apparently I was their fifth call that day, and the two women were due to return for the second (and final) day of the show today.

Eloise and Mel, the railing behind them

We had some lunch, one of the thinnest and nicest pizzas I have ever tasted, entertained first by a local ladies’ choir, and then by this jazz band.

We meandered a little more, I bought my handbag, and I decided to take those pesky seagulls and ducks, though from a completely different angle. (Even from the original one, it wouldn’t have been all that much of a picture anyway, and wouldn’t normally have survived the thinning for this post.)

As we made our way to the exit, we enjoyed the sight of this little girl dancing to the fairground organ.

A very pleasant day, lovely weather, nice atmosphere, and not too many crowds.