If you’re anything like me, you love going to historically important sites, staffed by passionate volunteers, and being a snarky cow about their desolate autumnal rhubarb patches.
Nothing makes me feel more connected to my heritage than walking around the grounds of a stately home, or enjoying the sunlight dappling through the canopy of a well-maintained forest, then slagging off some shit rhubarb before getting in the car and going home.
“Has anyone seen the state of this rhubarb?” I’ll huff in scandalised disbelief, my hands pressed into my back as I try to bend myself in a shape that better reflects my horror. “It’s bollocks.”
Here, I have documented my recent trip to The Workhouse in Southwell, which historically used its gardens as a source of food and medicine for the residents. Get a load of this garbage rhubarb!
Have you ever walked into a room because there’s two dogs making an uncanny noise in there, and you can’t imagine what they’re doing to create that noise?
And when you open the door, they’ve already stopped, and are just staring at you?
And the look in their eyes isn’t guilt, but fear? And for a moment, you feel offended that your beloved dogs might feel fear towards you, their doting owner. Then, in a yawning revelation, you realise it’s not fear of you. Yes, they depend on you for food and shelter, but this isn’t about that.
This is a fear of failing a hard-wired higher duty to keep certain bone-chilling dog secrets from humanity. So you retreat from the room and your brain, in a subconscious and primal act of self-defense, files the whole incident under “Do Not Investigate”.
Well, that’s what this scene reminded me of, albeit with a couple of differences.
- First, it’s pretty obvious that all the rhubarb was just flapping its big leaves around and fucking until it died from all the aforementioned fucking
- Secondly, there’s no fear here, this rhubarb does not and never did give a shit
On one level I’d like to regress far enough into my evolutionary past to become as liberated as this rhubarb. But then I look at this picture of partied-out detritus and quite honestly I pity it.
Victoria came to the throne in 1837. With her came Albert, who immediately put on a crown, transforming him into Britain’s beloved nightcrawler, Royal Albert.
In those days, everyone was poor, so using coins and notes wasn’t considered an effective way to create royal “brand recognition” like they are today. Instead, people would ask each other if they’d had any of the new royal rhubarb that had just come out.
I would suggest that in his hurry to have a rhubarb named after him Albert chose unwisely, because what the fuck is that patch of twat meant to look like?
Albert died in 1861 at the age of 42, of rhubarb embarrassment and typhoid fever.
Mitchell’s Early Albert
According to Brandy Carr Nurseries, Early Albert was developed in the 1840s, and features a prolific crop of fleshy stalks. This is in stark contrast to the rhubarb above, which is visually turds on toast.
Early Albert is an excellent choice for “forced rhubarb” – a process for growing out-of-season rhubarb that was developed in 1870s Yorkshire, in coal-heated sheds. The only thing I would force this rhubarb to do is get the fuck out of my crumble, because we’ve made an emergency pivot to apples, on account of how shit the rhubarb is.
Mitchell’s Royal Albert
Oh my God Mitchell why are you so keen to get your name on all the rhubarbs? It’s genuinely embarrassing. It’s like a spoiled aristocratic child walking through a museum of razor-sharp mechanical abominations, touching the exhibits with his tongue and hissing “mine now” as his thin high-born blood leaks fatally out of him. Yes, that’s exactly what it’s like, it is a good simile. Good Day, sir. I said Good Day.
I’ll tell you what. If I had a “pair o’ guns”, I’d use them both to shoot this rhubarb, right in the stalks. Not because I’m angry at it, but because it would be the kindest option. And then, once I realised how much I enjoyed shooting rhubarb, I would go on a God-damn spree.
When they caught me, I would stand in the courtroom without apology. And after my crimes have been described to me, I would turn to the jury, drag my finger across my throat and whisper “You’re next. You’re all next.” That is the self-destructive fury that this rhubarb inspires in me. Paragon, indeed! Have some humility, you wretched vegetable.
Pictured here in the immediate aftermath of his run-in with David.
Oh. hello. My lord. I didn’t see you there. Excuse me, my shirt collar feels a little tight. Phew.
You didn’t hear what i was saying about the other rhubarbs, did you? I just… I just, well, I just want you know that I wasn’t talking about you. You’re not like them. And if they’re your friends, well, obviously it was just a bit of rhubarb banter. You must get it all the time. People showing off, insulting the rhubarb to impress their jock buddies.
Look, I was clearly being silly. Who actually feels anything towards rhubarb? Oh, erm, aside from an abiding love and respect for its place in British history, of course. Look. I can’t go back and give them all higher star ratings, that would undermine my integrity as a rhubarb journalist. But I will give you five stars if you agree to let me have a little nibble on you.
Oh my God I can’t wait to tell the guys in the locker room I nibbled a chard