That was Bantry Show.
I don't know quite what to write and frankly I don't feel like writing anything, but I'd better get it over and done with.
I didn't get a first with that Elann lace crop cardi. Neither did I get a second, a third or even a fourth. Out of all the garments on display at the show, my lovely little jacket didn't get a mention.
Now please please don't think I'm one of those mean-minded bad losers. If I'd been pipped to the post by something even more spectacular I would have thought well done, and studied the opposition closely, to learn from it. But I didn't even have that small consolation.
I was too gutted to do anything but stare. DH took this picture of my entry next to the item that won first place in the section for which I'd entered the Elann.
It was a shapeless plain sweater on big needles in acrylic multicoloured yarn. No pattern, no design, no special detail. Second place went to quite a well made Aran sweater. They didn't see fit to award third and fourth in this category on this occasion, although it's usual. I would somehow have felt better if the Aran had beaten me - at least I could have muttered about tradition winning out over new ideas. Hell, I'd have felt much better if I'd been beaten by something worth being beaten by.
It didn't help either that people were stopped in their tracks by the Elann, pointing, taking pictures, openly admiring it and wondering how it was made. Nor that several of the officials congratulated me on it, assuming I'd won a first (evidently they hadn't noticed it was missing the essential credit).
I know it sounds like sour grapes. But I felt like someone had kicked me in the solar plexus. That lace crop is the best thing I've ever made and the original pattern was a work of genius. I know it's fit to take a prize anywhere. And it wasn't even considered worthy of a third or fourth place? They didn't even bother awarding these categories this time round?
I was pretty half-hearted about going to look for the socks, but DH insisted. I'd tied the sockblockers together with a crocheted string of the same yarn as the socks but someone had taken the trouble to untie that and turn them right around so that the blank insides of both sockblockers were outwards, and the painted Celtic motifs hidden on the inside. Then they'd been replaced on the display.
Well, the plain socks were better made and probably deserved first prize. I didn't mind losing out to them. But why do that to the Celtic motifs? What had they done to deserve such bitchiness? Funnily enough, it was only as I was going out of the tent in a daze that I remembered Angeluna's query on my last posting about there being any local politics to beware of.
OK, OK, that's finished. Over. Done with. Experience, as I think Oscar Wilde once observed, is usually what you find when you're looking for something else. It took a bit of joy out of the day but there was still the rest of the fair to look at. Everybody was dressed up in Cork colours because of the hurling final.
As soon as the match started, the bar tent was packed to the roof, everybody cheering and shouting for the Cork team. DH (who's used to this sort of thing) slid in front and crouched down right underneath the huge television screen so he could capture the euphoria when Cork scored a goal.
Sadly, we lost by three points to Kilkenny. Gloom descended, but lifted almost immediately as everyone shrugged philosophically and headed out into the afternoon sunshine to enjoy the remainder of the day. There were horse and pony classes, superb examples of cattle, sideshows, set dancing on a platform. ..
Even the little ferryboat was busy, buzzing back and forth across the bay from Bantry town bringing visitors in by water. It was a lovely idea and a great way to arrive at the show.
On the way home we called in at Gougane Barra to photograph my latest Celtic Memory yarn in a suitable setting so that I can list it on eBay tomorrow. This time I've created one based on probably our best-loved legend, The Children of Lir. It's a beautiful story if a very sad one - in fact it's one of the Three Sorrows of Storytelling which every shanachie worth his or her salt must master effectively before being recognised as a true recounter of the old stories.
When we'd finally managed to wake up the resident swan to pose in the background (he'd had a hard day posing for visitors and wasn't in the mood for us at all), Breda came down from the hotel to invite us in for dinner. She has such a charmingly relaxed and genuine way with her that she made us feel we were doing them the favour not the other way round, so we accepted.
There can be few places more beautiful to dine than in the hotel at Gougane Barra, looking out over the lake at evening. It's a hauntingly lovely place, made even more so by the fact that it is utterly unspoiled and the family intend to keep it that way.
I don't intend to appal you with an account of what (or indeed how much) I enjoyed , but suffice it to say that the choleresterol level has probably gone up several points. Who cares. I needed the comfort. DH gave a good account of himself too (he's half French and always enjoys his food). Then we drove peacefully back through the gathering dusk and released the dogs who were not best pleased at being left alone since lunchtime. It was good to be home. And I hung up the Elann in a place of honour, laid the socks ceremoniously on a polished table, and told them both they had done credit to the household.