Tuesday, 6 July 2010

BBC Good Food/Gardener's World live show Birmingham


I didn't mean to make this a post about plants, seriously. I have loved food festivals/fairs all my life, even more since working in events, and specifically now that I can claim visiting them is skill enhancement for my job ;-P Plus, in spite of the gourmetness of the situation, there are usually lots and lots of vegan free samples. With my current gardening obsession, it was only natural that I got myself a ticket for the BBC Summer Good Food/Gardener's World show in B'ham last month.

Sadly, it was quite a disappointment. It all started with Birmingham being Birmingham, especially Digbeth (the area around the coach station). Bleurgh. I do love me a Brummie accent and the locals are wonderful, but I can't begin liking this city.

Then, not only did the driver not tell me where to get off the bus as I had asked, so I took an impromptu trip to Coventry where I was rescued by an incredibly nice Irish lady... who told me how she worked in Selfridges in the 1950s selling underwear, and also that the next pope must be a paddy (no, I do not make up these stories about crazy old ladies I meet in random places. They just always appear, like the one who showed us the way into the woods at last year's Beltane festival).

When I finally arrived at the venue... after a long time... I cursed the NEC just for the sake of the NEC and many things that are wrong with it, or at least were done wrong by BBC this time. Seriously, burying the show guides in giant bins with no signs on them whatsoever?! I won't go into further details, but it was an event organiser's nightmare.

Next big disappointment: the food. There were about 12 sausage stalls, 25 pastry stalls, and 80something cheese and salami stalls. To be able to try some of the wine/drink samples, you had to first buy a special 'show tester glass' (crappy plastic champagne flute) for 4 quid.

I cannot speak for the cooking demonstrations - I didn't book any tickets as TV chefs are not too famous for their vegan food, anyway, maybe they made up for all of this. But meh.

The ticket also included entry to the Gardener's World show. While plants were mostly ridiculously overpriced, I managed to get a few quite rare seeds (Japanese herbs! Purple beans! Wohoo!). And then I went to the flower parlour and then outdoor area... and yes, I am aware I sound like I am at least 65, but the displays were gorgeous, especially the show vegetable patches. They caused major courgette envy in me (as I am writing this, 3 weeks later, the plants in my garden are showing the first tiny blossoms)! And ohhhh, it was so pretty! See for yourself:

There was a garden theme competition that was truly amazing. There was an Alice in Wonderland garden that I was looking forward to more than anything else. When I got there, it turned out that some schoolkids had designed the thing and it looked like utter chaos, but not in a Lewis Carrol kind of way :( So I didn't take any pictures. But I loved this Indian garden:

"Salad bar garden", very Islington.

The supposedly Swiss garden - it was a Ricola marketing thing, not a good one. I was deeply saddened that the promoters were Midlanders, not Helvetic :(

"The wild classroom" - I loved this, especially the screens... I have many more pictures but couldn't be bothered to upload them onto my computer yet.

Last but not least... a Japanese inspired garden. Not bad for one designed by a Westerner, if you ignore the middle aged people and weird wooden boards... and yay, Japan. I'm leaving for Osaka in 5 days, I've never been so ready for a holiday!!!

1 comment:

Sal said...

I used to work on those shows!! But they took the drawing inspections back in-house! :-(

The gardens outside are lovely aren't they.

Birmingham has more to it, the city centre's a fun place to go out and I'm pretty sure there's a few veg friendly places there, but I've never really gone out to eat.

I work at the NEC a lot and the place itself and the hotels around it are all terrible un vegan friendly!