September 2021 - Rector's Ramblings

Andrew Doye portrait pictureThis past weekend I visited the Westbourne Horticultural Show outside my garden gate and inside the Parish Hall. The highlight is for me the display of produce, vying for the judges’ approval and a moment’s glory in the sun. The Hall was wonderfully filled with an eye-catching display of cakes and carrots, preserves and potatoes, fruit and flowers.   

Some of the grown items defy all expectation, as to size and colour, and leave the lesser gardeners among us wondering if this is really even the same species of plant that we have tried so unsuccessfully to grow.

Hats off, to the winners that day.  Some of these as near to perfection as could be imagined; .. or were they?

It all reminded me of a conversation in which our supermarkets were involved in past years. The subject: ‘wonky fruits’. 

At least one of our major chains, probably more, told us that they required the fruit and veg upon their shelves to be of a precise and unblemished specification. An acceptable roundness; an appropriate ratio of length to girth; a lack of speckle or striation. We were told that, otherwise, the items simply ‘did not sell’. The discerning shopper demanded perfection, if they were to part with their money.

Wonky fruit adapted Things have, to my pleasure, turned around in the years since then. Some chains actually rejoice in selling us now, fruit and veg that is a bit off-centre, a bit mis-shapen, a bit ‘wonky’. And good for them. For if items previously did not meet the sight test, one fears they were thrown away regardless of their taste and goodness. Only the beautiful get a second look.

We are all a bit more concerned about waste and wastefulness than we were then; aren’t we?

Sadly, a similar disregard can be shown towards human beings, even today, who seem not to fit the photo frame.   

… Those with their own blemishes, or ‘disfigurements’; those whose body shapes are not celebrated; those whose beauty is ‘only’ internal; those made differently; equipped differently; those we pass by, as unbefitting of our basket.

Beauty is a subtler thing than that. Worth is universal. It’s not just the pretty ones who matter. And we have wasted a great deal more than foodstuff if we do not come to recognise this deeper truth.

Praise God for wonky fruits. For surely, am I one.


Andrew Doye               

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