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The idea of forcing rhubarb is to exclude light from the emerging shoots so that they are more tender, less acidic and thus sweeter tasting. It's done in large sheds, lit only by candles, in an area of Yorkshire, and can be done in pots like those pictured, where you take the lid off to pic individual stalks and then replace it to force the others. It is also done with seakale and with chicory.
I'm told that Punch and Judy shows are strictly regulated; they have to stick to the story line. Thank God! Imagine if the PC police got hold of that. We saw a show in Bournemouth Gardens last year and the adults were as enthralled as the children. Wonderful stuff. Don't forget the crocodile.