LAURA CARTLEDGE: I have a rhubarb named Barbara, but don’t send in the white coats

What do a rhubarb plant and a circus-inspired teapot have in common?

This is not the start to a strange joke.

Well, it could be.

But in any case the answer, and the punch line, is... me.

I came home with both at the weekend.

And while it might sound a little random, there is method behind my madness.

Or at least there is for the plant formerly named rhubarb – and now affectionately called Barbara.

Please don’t send the men in white coats just yet, I can explain...

We have raised beds in our garden at home and planning for this year’s yield has caused a bit of a divide.

In the corner for curly kale, and other boring vegetables – my dad.

Fighting for, well, anything we can put in puddings or cakes – my sister and I.

Rhubarb was high on our wish list, with our supporting case including crumble and custard of course.

I caught sight of Barbara at the Farmers’ Market in Emsworth last weekend.

Hidden behind a crowd of waterproof-wearing visitors, nestled between a rainbow array of chutney jars and baskets of baked temptation – not even the Belgian buns, some as big as my head, could distract me (for long.)

I should say she is not just any rhubarb, she is a classy ‘champagne rhubarb’, but to be honest I already knew I would be taking her home.

A beautiful bargain at just £1, and with a heap-full of helpful advice from the stall’s owner, I was one happy shopper.

In fact I still can’t work out if the strange looks I got in town were because of my grin or the plant I was cradling.

Anyway. To the circus teapot and hunting for treasures on the shelves of bric-a-brac at a local charity shop.
All I can say is this time I struck gold, among the treasure trove of fondue sets and cups with cats on.

If you saw it, you would understand.

It seems money can buy happiness – and in this case, it only cost £3.50.