All my good upbringing tells me that modesty is a quality to be desired and that talking about oneself is a social faux pas of the highest order. But, hey – when you get excited about some personal experience, you just have to say something.
So, forgive me, but I must tell you about Part 2 of the Denhams TV saga.
After the visit in the first week of November, when the camera crew came down to film me cooking in the kitchen, we got the call to go down to Denham’s studio in Plymouth to film on set. The studio turned out to be a new farm shop which had a built-in demonstration kitchen set up in one half of the shop. Novel, to say the least.
On hand were two of our TV celebrity chefs, an audience (mainly friends, relatives and employees of Denham Productions) and six ‘contestants’ – two doing a starter, two doing a main course and two doing a dessert. The idea was that the chefs actually made the dishes to the contestants’ recipes and then put them to a panel of five judges who voted on them. The most popular in each category was then earmarked for inclusion in a cookery book that will go with the series and will be published next year. Blushing to the tips of my ears, I have to confess that, out of the two starters, it is my recipe that went through. So watch this space and I will let you know about any further developments.
Close to where we were filming was a garden centre, fully kitted out in its Christmas regalia. I have to say that, although there was good stuff in there, nowhere have I seen a larger accumulation of Christmas tat than in here. There were so many awful, cheap ‘n’ nasty decorations, baubles and plastic Christmas trees, as well as the usual identity parade of blow-up santas and their ilk. But one thing stood out above all others – the Cattle-Pult.
This was a nasty cheap plastic toy (only £4.99, not suitable for children under 36 months) modelled on the catapults so popular with mediaeval sieges. Only this one didn’t chuck boulders at the castle walls. For a start off, it was a bit small (what do you expect for £4.99?). But for all that, it could reputedly hurl a cow for up to 15 feet. Pretty impressive. The cow in question was small, it has to be said, maybe about the size of a newly born dormouse (and about the same colour) and made of plastic, but nevertheless 15 feet is a pretty impressive distance in any front room.
I can just see the thing in action on Christmas morning during the frenzy of present opening. The whole family is in the room. Granny and Grandad are there, with Granny’s paper hat at a rakish angle over her right ear and Grandad’s teeth about to drop out as he snores off the effects of one too many slices of turkey and four glasses of cream sherry. Then all of a sudden – PING! – and a small pink plastic cow hurtles through the air and catches Grandad right on the end of his nose.
Hedging their bets as to which age group to aim at (so to speak) the manufacturers of this particularly offensive weapon have diversified into two other versions. Firstly, we have the one for the love-struck teens, the Love-Gun (fires cupids up to 15 feet!) and secondly, the one for those already old enough to have been in employment long enough to have it in for their employer. This one is called the Boss-Toss. Yes, you’ve guessed it – fires bosses up to 15 feet!
There’s not a lot more I can say really, except to register my amazement that anyone anywhere can actually come up with such things as a product of their imagination and then go through the actual process of designing, manufacturing, packaging and distributing them.
Still, it wasn’t all bad news – because they had a Santa’s grotto. This one was of particular appeal to those of a certain age, and I don’t mean six. At the foot of the poster advertising the grotto was the following statement:
“Unaccompanied Senior Citizens can visit Santa between 11am and 3pm on December weekdays from 1st – 15th for only £1.50 (exclude a present).”
Gosh! I can’t wait to be a pensioner!