Wednesday, 1 June 2016

hot chelsea takeaways

I took the tube to Chelsea. Not the London tube, the Oxford Tube; the bus that likes to pretend we are just another suburb of Magis Londinium. We rolled off the Tube at Victoria and straight onto the Chelsea bus. a vintage double decker that instantly has you wondering if visitors have been being bussed to the flowers like this since it started (1913). Probably.

It's not huge, Chelsea. You don't need walking boots like you do for some of the other shows (Malvern, I'm looking at you). You're seldom more than five minutes walk from a bar. There are queues, and these are full of people complaining about the judges in chummy voices. But it took someone coming up to me and starting a conversation assuming I was an aspiring garden designer for me to realise just to what extent everyone knew everyone else.

I've been to lots of conventions in my time (comics and science fiction mainly)  and it was amusing to map across the types - the super-fans, the workshop leaders, the eager kids, the grand muffs and the great old ones, the despised and the darlings. There's even a type for us, of course; curious outsiders.

I did enjoy it, and if my partner-in-plants is keen, fully intend to attend next year. But I think I might set myself a task beforehand. With so many people there in the business, working, ligging or shmoozing, I felt a proper slacker for simply attending.

I'll be back with more detail and photographs, but for now, five things I learned at Chelsea:
Plus an insight into my personality; I find greenhouses more interesting than trains, and even if it is a glorious, mint-condition, antique 60-ft Pullman First Class Carriage and dining car stuffed full of marquetry, antiques and mosaics, I will still peevishly mutter that they could have put some plants in it....

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