The show was held on the weekend of August 19/20 at Rathbone Allotments. The change this year to Saturday staging and Sunday judging turned out well, giving more time to get things sorted out. Work on Sunday started at 8.30am, which allowed enough time before the judging started at 10.30am for final preparations. The decision to allow exhibits to be staged first thing on the Sunday morning, provided they had been registered the day before, worked well. In addition, as a bonus, the weather was fine.
There were entries from 47 people this year, 15 more than last year, from 12 societies. The number of class entries was also up, except for the domestic division. Even with the change to the schedule to try and encourage men to enter domestic produce, and novices and children to enter the other divisions, only two children took part, and one man entered a bottle of home-made wine!
There were two society displays this year – one from Friern Barnet Central Allotment Holders Association set up by Felicity Ford and the other from Brook Farm Horticultural Society set up by Collette McMenamin and Janice Codling – they were wonderful.
The recording of the results, the calculation of prizes and the printing of certificates was done on computer for the first time; while there were a couple of hiccups, generally it worked well.
Following the judging, the show was open to all-comers to look at and admire the exhibits, with non-participants paying a modest entry fee. During this time refreshments were on sale. The day ended with an auction of the produce that participants did not wish to take home followed by the prizegiving.
The auction was conducted with great panache by Cherstyn Hurley, aided by her daughter Eve, and they raised nearly £100.
The prizes were presented by Kirstie Burgin, the BAF chair.
Thanks are due to many people, including Rathbone members who had all the tables set up in advance. Robert and Elizabeth Newton were as invaluable as ever, with Robert quietly shuffling and tweaking the displays and Elizabeth judging the domestic division – huge thanks go to them both. And finally thanks to Nicholas Angelo who once again was our RHS judge.
Above all, the success of the day was due to the time and effort put in by the organising team of BAF committee members: Liz Hall, Belinda Constable, Afsaneh N Gia led by Isobel Exell and supported by Robert Newton.