Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Not bad for a first timer.

Well, i finally managed to sleep in a bit longer today. i still woke at 6am but managed to turn over and get another half hour. So now i can see the screen and what i'm typing properly, i can write a full account of yesterday's events.
We packed up a picnic and left at about 12.15pm, the show opened at 12.30pm and we'd decided that if we left it until after lunch we probably wouldn't end up getting there until 3pm. It was clear blue sky when mum and i were first awake but by 9am the clouds were over and the wind was picking up a bit, so our picnic on the grass in a sunny spot wasn't looking so hopeful. But we knew it was going to work better timing wise and we could always just sit in the car and have lunch.
When we got there, i think we arrived at the right time because the queue to get in wasn't too long yet, unlike last year when we arrived later and started queuing a lot further back. Of course i knew when i was going first when we arrived - straight to the horticultural marquee! Mum left me to go i first on my own, with my exhibitor pass, before she and D paid to come in. I think she was letting me go in alone just in case it was a major disappointment across all my classes, because she knows how badly i can take things sometimes, especially when i'm stressed and not on top form.
I start by checking on the carrots:

Is bigger always better? I mean why would you want huge carrots anyway? surely they'd be to tough to eat? Anyway, onto the beetroot:

I'm not sure what they look for really to be honest, but i do know one of mine had a mark on the skin. Next, "any other vegetable/salad item", my chard:

Kind of not surprised i got nothing here, i had seen the patty pan when i dropped my stuff off, but even that only came 3rd. 3 purple aubergines got first prize. Then i walked back past the carrots and beetroot to the cherry tomatoes:
Again, the competition here was one where i couldn't see too much difference in some of them. But i think we knew mine weren't as ripe as i would have liked them to be. So then onto the baking and straight ahead of me was my bakewell tart:

On top of which was sitting i beautiful blue rosette!! A huge grin appeared on my face and i think i may have even jumped up and down on the spot, i know i went straight to the door to tell mum, who's first question was "out of how many?" of course that bit hadn't bothered me but i went back and counted and the total in that class was 11. To my left was the scone bake:
12 entries, mine is the plate above the WHOLE tray bake (someone didn't read the schedule properly!) Looking at the ones that one, i think they were a bit drier than mine. I don't think mine were undercooked, just a little less cooked maybe but also i guess the flavour and moisture depends on the type of cheddar you use and the fat content in it for example. I mean there are so many types of mature cheddar and if you chose a low fat version it wouldn't melt as much etc. But mum really liked these and was dismayed when she realised i'd put ALL the cakes up for sale, including these. So we ended up collecting these at the same time as the veg and crafts - Guess what mum's got for lunch this week? Oh and a couple of pieces went in the freezer.
Ahead of me on the next table was the cherry cake and i could see there was nothing on mine - its the one to the left of 3rd place (the one with yellow rosette).

but again i'm not suprised by this result out of 13 entries. Since mine turned into an "errupting" cherry cake. To the left of that was the tea bread:

No rosette but i guess you could call this 4th place maybe out of 10? It was amusing when we collecting things and i was talking to a lady about the amount of honey in the tea bread recipe and the scone bake, she said the rest of the scone bake went to the birds, as you had to make a whole tray bake and then only prepare 4 square for judging. As we were talking another lady, who got 1st, came to pick her scones up. She asked if we thought the mixture was too sticky and moist to roll out, but looked at mum and directed the question towards mum! Who promptly made the point to the woman that it was me who made them! I love the fact that people don't expect a 22 year old to be doing this kind of thing, and are then suprised when mum directs the towards me when asking questions. It was the same with one of D's work collegue when we bumped into her at another show.Then i realised i missed the cookies, and its a good job i remembered them!

Another 2nd! Out of 14 entries. These again, despite putting them up for sale, came home with us and have been taken to work my D, so he can now tell his collegues they are prize winning cookies! I then walked round to the photos, i didn't taken picture as i would have had to stand a mile away even with my wide angle lens. There must have been 30 to 40 entries per class for the photography. Well, its a bit of an easy class really isn't it? Next on the route around the marquee was "any other craft"

First prize went to a stunning piece of encaustic art (painting with melted wax and an iron basically), which is such a skill and takes such practice. I've tried it and it's not something you can get the hang of after even 10 goes! Needless to say my keyring didn't get anything, but maybe they don't like modern things? Then came my cross stitch:

Another rosette, again not red and i guess not quite as good a result, since there were only 4 entries in total! Finally, the lacework/crochet:
Not sure what was wrong with it, but they obviously didn't like it. In fact they didn't even award a 3rd prize in this class!

So all in all a nice afternoon. We wondered round all the stalls, had a drink, saw the Rolls Royce exhibition ("When i win the lottery....." was the phase you'd use there!) and then collected my exhibits i wasn't selling. I wanted to hang around during the produce sale to see a) if my cakes sold and b) how much they sold for. It was chaos - there was no organisation whatsoever. They brought the flowers out first, and were asking for suggestions in cost/prices, then suggesting what i would think are ridiculous prices - £6 for about 6 medium/large dahlias. mum had her eye on some but only had £1.50 in change in her pocket, which the woman said ok to in the end. I saw my cherry cake sell, they were selling the cakes for £3 each in the end i think. Someone was looking at the bakewell tart but as the woman turned it over to transfer it to a paper plate, she revealed a secret.... a tiny patch of pastry that hadn't cooked through! The judges obiously didn't slice through that bit when they tried it. Whether it was that or whether the couple really didn't want such a huge (9") tart, i'll never know, but they didn't buy it in the end. We then decided it was time to go as we were stopping off at a local beer festival on the way home, so i didn't see the tea bread or bakewell sell, but there were so many people queuing and hanging around that i'm sure they probably did.

So, for a first attempt 3 prizes and a highly commended isn't bad at all. Especially as when we watched the prize giving for the cups and trophies it was clearly the same people who won year after year and one man won about 5 trophies alone. It's given me the courage to try again next year, and hasn't put me off at least.


Pikaboo said...

Congrats on your ribbons!

Jenny said...

Thank you peekaboo. They are now pinned proudly to my notice board, in my room. I made sure i pinned them to my bag as i walked back to the car after collecting my bits to take home!! :)

han_ysic said...

I say bring on more 20-30's showing off our produce and wares. I'm already planning my entries for our local show next year, can't wait.