The Royal Norfolk Show

It’s fair to say, that in the short time we’ve been living ‘The Good Life’, so much has happened. There have been some great highs, and a few lows. But this week, I was presented with a whole new challenge.

I’d been invited to The Royal Norfolk Show, not only to give a gardening talk on our ‘Good Life’ journey, but also to host proceedings on their horticultural stage. From cooking demonstrations to gardening talks, yours truly was on hand to ask the questions, whip the audience up into a frenzy, and effortlessly drop in the odd gag to keep spirits jolly… it was time to brush up on the Des O’Connor routine!

Although Soph wasn’t on stage for this event, she was working behind the scenes on the laptop, handling  the  presentation-side  of  things.I’m not sure how the audience felt about me being their MC for the day, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s funny, I’ve always got a big buzz about being thrown into the deep-end, and quickly having to come up with something to get myself out of trouble. In my younger days, I was an actor and a stand-up comedian on the London circuit. Thankfully, those days are long behind me, but on occasion, it’s nice to step back into the limelight.

This was our first-time at this prestigious event, and boy what a show it was. Despite it being primarily an agricultural show, there’s a large area devoted solely to horticulture; a show within a show.

On entering the area, you’re brought to a standstill with beautiful show gardens. Gardens that feel they’ve been created to be used, worked and enjoyed. Not to be admired from a distance, from behind a line, like some of the other garden shows. Here, you can touch these designs, and smell their blooms. The other thing that immediately struck me, like Woburn Abbey Garden Show, were the unique plant stalls from small local companies, giving a fresh take on the market. Clearly, a lot of thought has gone in to make this a special event, and an important person behind the organisation is Agents of Field’s pal, Ellen Mary. Ellen has been working on these shows for a couple of years now, and she’s done wonders. Sometimes, I feel when you go to certain garden shows, they can be a little stuffy, with the ‘old boys school brigade’ holding court. What Ellen and her team have done here, is thought about where horticulture is at the moment, shown various avenues people can explore, and brought a  real sense of enjoyment to the proceedings. The show also embraces the garden blogging community, firmly acknowledging we’re here to stay, and are part of horticulture’s future.

So, it was a thrill to be sharing the stage with other chums, and bloggers, Michael Perry and Kirsty Ward. Both coming at horticulture from different angles, both with a great deal of talent, and a lot of heart. I also spent a lot of the day getting to know the technical crew working their socks off behind the scenes, particularly a fella called Rai. He told me so much about his life and we both really hit it off. At the end of the day, he presented me with two beautiful bags of his spice mixes. Rai is passionate about cooking, and he has developed a total of twenty-one different spice fusions. I was so touched by his gesture, and I can’t wait to try these East African flavours. What a talented chap he is…  check-out his Twitter feed, people!

So thank you Royal Norfolk Show, not only for giving me the opportunity to spread my love for all things homegrown, but for introducing me to some wonderful people.



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