This year's Royal Adelaide Show was hamstrung by the enforced ban on horses in the wake of the equine-influenza outbreak. No blacksmithery and farrier displays; no horses in the Grand Parade; none of the obsessive, cult-like manifestations of the subculture that is show jumping.
Show jumping is something I knew a great deal about when I was a little kid and devoured all available pony-club and show-jumping books (I was never allowed to have a pony on the farm, partly because my father had and still occasionally does have nightmares about being expected to lead his uncle Ross's prizewinning Clydesdales
around backwards when he was a very small child and has stayed well away from horses ever since).
Even my own adoration of these beautiful, powerful, graceful and intelligent animals took a bit of a beating in 1988 when one particularly unprepossessing specimen executed a tricky simultaneous gait-changing and direction-changing manoeuvre at a canter through a steep creek bed somewhere hilly north of Melbourne and dumped me on some rocks, but I'm still very sad there weren't any at the Show. The alpacas nearly made up for them, but not quite.
This little black alpaca was knackered.
Other animals I would have liked photos of: the gigantic bulls, peacefully lying in the straw with their hooves tucked under their chests like cats and the farmer's little kids climbing all over them. (Camera out of batteries by then.) The racing and diving pigs (didn't have enough energy left to wait, much less walk, around for another 20 minutes till the next race). The strange-looking people trotting their dogs around the dog-showing ring, straight out of Best in Show (batteries again).
This was supposed to be a photo of the upside-down roaring tigers, but it seems to have turned into one of those pictures of festively primary colours that look like children's doona designs.
Again with the violent colours. I liked all this raffish sideshow dazzle and noise with the soft colours and contours and the stillness of the Adelaide Hills in the distance.
This hi-tech ferris wheel is definitely not the same one I remember breaking down in 1963 with me and my sisters and my Scottish grandma up at the very top of the ride.
Meanwhile, in the handcraft hall and bakery section, someone named Susan Rabbitt had won first prize for these fabulous-looking passionfruit and lemon butters.
Shrek wedding cake, considerably more tasteful than some of the wedding cakes I've seen.
Fascinators are back, if they ever went away.
Young Elyse (this is the Primary School division) definitely deserved this blue ribbon: these are the best Chocolate Crackles on display by a very long way. No icing, coloured sprinkles or cutesy printed paper patty case thingies, just lots of chocolate and no mucking about.
And the thing I'm saddest I didn't get a photo of? Legendary Adelaide broadcaster and columnist Peter Goers, whose OTT-quirky gift for radio I have never heard equalled, striding along the path to the ABC tent clutching a gigantic Dagwood Dog dripping in sauce.