I finished printing my photos, I got my cakes dusted with icing sugar, sliced when they should be sliced, and delivered to the tent in one piece, and remembered to bring all of my entries for the handiwork classes. And the judging began.
There is something inescapably English about a village horticultural society show and something 'village' about it as well; I think that people who grew up in a village community with a village day or a Hort & Sport every year somehow imbibe the mindset that makes competitive baking with your friends and neighbours a perfectly natural thing to do. It always reminds me of my favourite quote from the film Calendar Girls, on their village day:
"If more people did WI there'd be less need for hallucinogenic drugs!"
H, who grew up in what is classed as a village but might as well be suburb of a big city, finds the whole thing baffling. me, well let's just say that the competitive urge has been unleashed.
Going into the tent after the judging was almost as bad as waiting for my A-level results; even though I knew that there were only three entries in the cross stitch class so the very worst I could do was a third.
It's a little bit like results day in some respects, everyone rushes round to see how they're exhibits did and then has to go back later to have a proper look at some of the entries.
The photography was nearest the door and despite my oh so careful choosing, none of my pictures were placed. Each class had 15-20 entries, and the standards were high so the judges had a hard time choosing.
Next up, the baking. You can see the table on the far left hand side of the photo above, groaning under the weight of cakes, shortbread, sausage rolls and jams and jellies.
H was right about the ladies of the village being out in force for the honour of the WI cup. My honey fruit cake (to strict recipe) didn't place, but as it had to be presented uncut and I'd never made it before I was just glad to see that it had cooked well and it taste's pretty good. The lemon drizzle and the shortbread were also not placed but the 4 slices of ginger cake:
Ta da! a third on the first trip out of the gates for baking.
I knew that my forte was always going to be the handicrafts - smaller fields for one thing - but it was a surprise to find that everything placed apart from my 'wild card'
- the handspun in the 3D category which lost out to a metal work duck, a glass plate and something else that I can't remember.
This was the needlecrafts table:
My Holidazed socks came first and my Mystery Stole Swan Lake stole came third. The socks got; "An exquisite piece of work. Well done"; and the shawl got: "A delightful piece of work. Take care that your tension is accurate throughout"
I suspect that the judge knew her knitting!
Second place went to the white horseshoe in the background which was covered with blue and white lace.
My cross stitch placed second ("A peaceful scene- well worked and framed"), and to my very great surprise, the bead bracelet that I made at the beginning of July with H's sister placed third in the handmade jewellery category ("Gorgeous colours. Delightful set of jewellery")
All of which adds up to:
8 points and the very great sum of £1.50 prize money! On my hurried maths I think that I came second overall in the handicrafts category. Next year, I've got my sights on the handicrafts shield!
To get anywhere near I will have to take on a lady of considerable talents who swept the board in the handmade cards and won the cross stitch class. She also made my favourite flower arrangement of the day - with the theme 'On the Ocean Wave'
Isn't that just ingenious and delightful to look at - I love the sails.
It has been a brilliant day and far more fun than you ever thought possibly with fruitcake.
Now I'm off to practice my card making, painting and creating things out of recycled materials for next year.