I accidentally went to the Royal Adelaide Show today. I didn't mean to, but I'd been out to Flinders to sing for my supper and that went well, so on the way home I saw the ferris wheel above the traffic and decided I had earned myself a treat and a few hours off, and slung a right off Anzac Highway instead of zooming straight on down West Terrace.
The whim thing meant of course no camera so I will attempt to do it justice minus pics.
First thing I see after I get through the gate is a ride whose name I have forgotten: two giant poles with a dirty big rubber band slung between them, in the middle of which four people in a flimsy-looking sort of chair thingy are being flung high into the air at speed. I high-tail it out of there and steer down Sideshow Alley to what is always my favourite part of the Show: Handicrafts Hall.
The First Prize winner in the Bread Sculpture section has done an entire Noah's Ark. All the female animals are considerably smaller than the male ones, which is good for two minutes of psychoanalytic interpretation, always a fruitful approach to a work of art. It's bloody clever, actually, with one elephant on the ground watching the procession up the gangplank and another elephant already on board and trumpeting; one giraffe looking up at the sky and the other one looking down at one of the hippos; one parrot flying and the other one balancing on the clothesline. They may all be two by two but none of them are side by side. The guy has really thought about it. (I know it's a guy, otherwise all the females wouldn't be so puny.)
Second Prize in the Open Honey has been won, says the card, by Elizabeth Taylor. I'm glad to see that she's found something productive and industrious to do in her later years.
I'm also glad to see that primary school children have taken to making passionfruit butter.
And that home-made finger buns look like the proper finger buns of yore.
I don't think the First Prize winner in the Smocking, a confected pink affair in nasty synthetic material, is a patch on the winner of Second Prize, which is a champagne silk christening outfit with some truly amazing, intricate, microscopic smocking. Of course one would not let an actual baby near it in a fit.
None of the alpacas spit at me.
The Anglo-Nubian goats have little silky ears and spooky barred eyes. There's a bunch of black-and-white baby goats with a sign over their heads saying 'We're three days old.'
I buy a three-dollar fluffy-black-and-silver tiara to wear at any future Adelaide grogblog with ThirdCat at it.
I buy two irises, called Imagine Me (pale brown and honey-cream) and Secret Melody (lavender and shell-pink), and get instructions from the nice iris man about soaking them in Seasol and so on. In the Hall of Irises (as I like to think of it) there is a man on the podium playing a bouzouki, the only instrument on the planet guaranteed always to bring actual tears to my eyes every God-damned time. The bouzouki music reminds me of the very first time I ever went to the show without a parent or grandparent in attendance: I went with my first-ever boyfriend, a beautiful, slender, black-and-gold Greek boy of fifteen with a James Dean sneer, and I don't remember a single thing about it except that I was with him.
I buy, from a gorgeous gypsy-looking girl wearing a fluffy pink halo not unlike my new tiara, a little bottle of bubble-blowing detergent with a special bubble-blowing attachment for the amusement of the cats.
'Cats', I think, and trudge up the ramp to see the show cats. There's a glorious Seal Point Siamese with a blue ribbon draped over the top of his cage. 'Hello, Gorgeous,' I say to him. 'Did you win?' The cat opens his lobelia eyes wide and turns them on me like headlights. 'Rheaaaowwrrk,' he replies.
There's a sleeping Maine Coon the size of a not particularly small dog, with paws like dinner plates, and an extraordinarily beautiful black and white Norwegian Forest Cat, also with paws like dinner plates.
I see no ferrets, and am disappointed.
Much fuss is being made this year about a Show delicacy called a Dagwood Dog. In the interests of science, I buy and eat one. It appears to be a form of fat, dipped in some kind of fat, and then deep fried, imaginatively, in fat. I calculate that it will take me eleven and a half days on the treadmill at the gym to work it off.
In one of the pavilions, the Christadelphians are catty-corner to the Army Reserve recruiting stall. I wonder if there's a connection, and, if so, what it is.
I have come at the absolutely wrong time of day for seeing the diving pigs.
UPDATE: Separated at birth ...