Sow time with Levi
Published 18/08/2015 | 00:00
Fist pump. Yessssss! Wave cheerily to supporters. Big hug for Hermione, her eyes full of admiration and tears. And finally, assume wry smile and turn to offer suitably humble handshake to vanquished rival. Yessssss!...
It is not often that I win something, so Sunday was special.
My late father used to win all around him, a gifted sportsman whose medals from the 1940s and 50s turn up at the back of cupboards or around the attic, in little silk lined jeweller's presentation cases with fiddly clasps.
The genes were not passed on to me. My one Junior B hurling medal - a very proud possession - was achieved as a squad member never actually called into the action on championship match days.
So Sunday of the Castlebridge Show really was special.
Sleep was fitful in advance of the big event in the big tent, it can now be confessed. I went to bed with the encouraging words of well-wishers still fresh in the ears but rose early realising that from here on I was on my own.
The contest ahead was a venture into the unknown and at a standard far above my status as the rawest of raw beginners. The teenaged tennis ace Boris Becker must have felt similarly nervous as he embarked on his first Wimbledon winning campaign.
At least the pre-competition homework was all done and, in Levi, I had the raw material to make an impression, perhaps even a winning impression.
Levi? Who is Levi, you ask.
Levi was the product of the most glorious of flukes. The original plan was to put the cucumber plants in the shelter of the greenhouse and cultivate all the marrow/courgettes out of doors in the vegetable garden.
But one of the specimens out in the open always looked wanly different while one of the alleged cucumber plants in the greenhouse took off, starting to grow, and grow, and grow.
Though it was soon taking up more room than originally allowed for, the interloper began to produce nice yellow flowers and tasty courgettes, so it was permitted to stay.
And then one day, whilst poking around amongst the immense leaves, I discovered Levi, grown unobserved to a size far greater than any mere courgette.
Awesome. We had a marrow on our hands. It was time to begin dosing with extra plant food and reach for the entry form to the Castlebridge Show.
Already supersized, Levi continued to swell, though he was so deeply ensconced in his parent plant that no one could determine exactly how large he had become. It was not until the morning of the show that he was finally cut loose from his moorings and hauled out into full view, the moment captured by Hermione on smart phone camera for the family album.
We put him on the bathroom scales and he weighed in at precisely seven kilos, heftier than any new born baby, more than two feet long. I wondered whether it might be a good idea to dickey Levi up for public exhibition, perhaps with a gold crown from a Christmas cracker. In the end, however, we just wrapped him in a towel and brought him to Castlebridge unadorned.
I expected that the competition would be of similar girth. I fretted that, with his smooth dark green skin, he might be of the wrong variety. I was concerned some little blemish on that lovely glossy hide of his would exile him to the rank of also ran.
I need not have worried. Levi was twice or three times the size of all other comers, a giant among pygmies on the trestle table in Castlebridge Hall. The rest were knocked for six and the coveted red 'first prize' label was duly slapped on the table in front of Levi.
Fist pump. Yessssss!
To make the day even sweeter, the adjudicator also awarded Hermione's loganberry jam a red label. We have found our field of dreams and it is less stressful, more leisured than any hockey pitch or hurling arena.
We will be back next year to enjoy more of this 75 year old tradition. I do not expect to have another Levi but will be happy to resume my accustomed role as support player.