Wednesday, 16 September 2015

While all the politicking was

going on in Canberra yesterday your non-resident cat was doing something rather more interesting but absolutely exhausting. 
I was at the Show grounds dismantling the art and craft displays and making sure that the items were matched up with and returned to their owners.
This is always an interesting experience. Those of us who work there before the Show begins are really the only people with any idea of how much work it is to set it all up. Other people just wander in and hand their precious work over to us and then go away. They may go to the Show while it is on and gaze at, hopefully, their work with a prize ribbon on it. They come at the end and pick their things up again. They never see much of what happens.
 There are some people who never see any of it at all. Every year I have helped, and long before that, a woman has posted a box of entries in the knitting section. She lives in a neighbouring state. We know nothing about her except that we believe she may be elderly and possibly housebound. 
Her work is exquisite. It is incredibly fine. It is always extraordinarily well packed. There is never much space in the box she uses.
Among her prizes this year there was some knitting wool and two slim pattern books donated by a yarn company. It came in boxes and there was no way we were going to fit the boxes into the box. Her return postage would not cover the cost of posting the boxes separately.
"Do you think she would mind if she didn't get the boxes?" someone asked me.
"Not in the least."
"You seem very sure," she said to me.
And I was. You can sense something about people from what they create.
We packed the yarn on top of the baby clothes and around the little baby doll with the miniature layette. One of the men added it to his little trolley load and took it off the place where things to be posted were waiting.
I talked to the woman who had won best in show in the knitting section. Her son-in-law brought her in to meet me. She was still stunned by win and said again, "I didn't think it would be good enough."
I told her, "Put something in again next year please."
And another woman came. She looked very shy and very nervous and held out the form which allows people to collect their things.
Could she have her cardigan please? 
I went to get it. There was a prize ribbon it. She went to take it from me and then said, "That's not mine."
I had checked the ticket and it had matched her form.
"I'm sorry..." I started and she said, "The ribbon - it's not mine."
"Yes it is," I told her. I was very, very sure of that. I remember the judge's comments as she looked at it. I told her this and told her what the judge had said.
She looked at me and started to cry.
"I've never won anything before. Everyone said it wasn't good enough and I thought it was stupid to do it but I didn't want to waste the entry fee."
"You didn't waste the entry fee," I told her. I watched her go. She was looking down at the blue ribbon and nearly walked into someone coming in the other direction. 
I wonder what sort of  home life she has? Are people always putting her down? 
No, that entry fee wasn't wasted. I hope she tries again next year.

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