Last week at pre-school gardening club we were channelling Pete Beale. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that this was not Peter Beales - world famous rose grower and horticulturalist. No - rather it was Pete Beale - Eastenders greengrocer and market trader circa 1985.
You see, having done our usual picking and pulling of veg, fruit and even herbs from the pre-school garden, I spotted a toy wooden market stall sitting in the corridor. So instead of sharing our harvest between the children to take home as usual, we filled the trays and pots full of tomatoes, perpetual spinach, beetroot, rosemary, curry plant, raspberries and carrots.
I then fetched a few baskets plus the ubiquitous plastic toy till, and the children proceeded to spend the rest of the session flogging each other the same produce again and again (except the raspberries which soon turned out to be a little delicate to withstand the constant handling... and treading).
I will admit the pricing was somewhat erratic - five pounds for a small carrot is a bit steep in anyone's books - but in general it was the perfect way to get the children identifying and touching lots of different garden produce. What's more they even learnt a few choice market trader phrases - with added East End accent - which was lovely jubbly.