Percy Baxter looked into the large tent that had been erected on the church green.
There were rows and rows of fruit and vegetables lined up on tables ready for the judges to pass their eyes over them and award the best in show. The village fete in Upper Shipton was well known for miles around, and this year the committee had extended their invitation to people living up to 5 miles away to show their produce.
There had been some dissatisfaction from the village at too much competition but it was going ahead anyway as a trial.
‘Looking at the competition then Percy.’ said a voice behind him. Percy turned to see Connor Reeves standing there. Connor was head gardener at the Manor House above the village.
‘Yes, just seeing what I’ve got to beat.’ said Percy.
‘You’ll be lucky.’ said Connor. ‘You will have a hard time beating the likes of me and
Johnny Prescott, over at Lower Barnet.’
Percy shrugged and walked away from the tent and went over to his wife who was talking with Hillary Jones, one of the judges.
‘Hello Mr Baxter, your wife has been telling me what a keen gardener you are. Out in all weathers, I hear.’ said Hillary.
‘Well if you want to win you have to be ahead of the competition, you know.’ said Percy.
When Hillary moved away Percy said to his wife, ‘That Connor thinks he knows it all, but we’ll see. I don’t think he will be winning any prizes today.’
‘What do you mean Percy? What have you done?’ said his wife with some suspicion that Percy had been up to no good.
‘Nothing spectacular my dear, just reducing the opposition a little.’ said Percy with a big grin on his face.
The Judges entered the tent and started their work of judging the entrants on the vegetable tables. When they got to Connors table, Hillary said to another judge, ‘Can you smell something bad William?’ William sniffed and said, ‘Yes a decidedly strong chemical smell. The judge’s quickly moved away to the next table which had Johnny Prescott’s rhubarb on display.
‘I can smell it again.’ Said Hillary, moving quickly on ‘Do you think these two entrants are using an illegal non organic compost.’ said Hillary.
‘The rules say everything must be grown with organic compost so it looks a bit suspicious.’ said William. ‘We had better mark these down on suspicion of using chemical compost.’
They got to Percy’s fruit and vegetables and gave them full marks.
At the Prize Giving Percy won the first Prize and Connor and |Johnny got nothing having been beaten by other entrants.
Connor came over afterwards and said to Percy. ‘I can’t understand it. I was sure I would win and Johnny would come second.’ ‘Never mind Connor, better luck next year; eh.’ said Percy.
Connor walked off shaking his head.
As Percy took the tables down he carefully removed and pocketed the Duck toilet cleaners he had stuck on the bottom of Connor’s and Johnny’s tables. He walked out and stacked the tables on the trailer outside the tent. He whistled as he went back to show his wife his first prize rosette.
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