Whether the weather be fine, Or whether the weather be not, Whether the weather be cold, Or whether the weather be hot, We'll weather the weather Whatever the weather, Whether we like it or not!
The forecast has been dire for today, Bank Holiday Monday, which didn’t bode well for the village show I was booked to judge. As I walked over to the marquee, the black clouds were gathering overhead and everyone was scurrying about, trying to avoid their lovely entries getting blown away.
Once inside, it was a different story. Safe from the elements, the results of a season in the garden, a day in the kitchen or a few week’s busy fingers were there to see. I couldn’t wait to get started!
We got off to an excellent start with the most exquisite piece of knitting I’ve seen for a while. Using a traditional Norwegian pattern, the exhibitor had knitted this beautiful cardigan and must have held her breath to do the steeking. It’s rare to see such lovely work in a village show and I was thrilled to think the visitors would be able to admire it later.
There was more. Not just one piece of lovely lace, but two with the same entrant id number. Someone had been busy and I wondered it there had been a wedding in the family? Along from a delightful little Elizabethan style bag with appliqued lace motifs was this tiara. Sadly, each of them lost a half mark because they weren’t as pristine as might have been hoped, but my goodness, what beautiful lacemaking!
Then, just as I was running out of superlatives I began judging the Men’s class. Now, last year, I’d written them a serious letter because even though the schedule said that everything had to be made in the last 12 months, some of the items were dated a long while earlier than that. Things were tired, dusty and far from show standard and I issued them a challenge to come up with some things we could really admire. Perhaps they took notice, because this time I had two “perfect” entries and the hardest decision – which one will win? The beautifully made cross for the local parish church was so well-balanced, had lovely contrasting woods and every last detail had been considered. But I awarded the cup to the macrame sampler keyrings, each one made to a different pattern and finished with a turks head knot. Beautiful – and far from easy.
It’s a long time since I saw such a wealth of crafts in a show: woodwork, marquetry, willow weaving, stained glass, knitting, patchwork, macrame, needlepoint, canvaswork…and the delight of a little stitch sampler in the children’s class from a 7 year old. Who cared what the weather was doing outside? What better way to spend a dreary Bank Holiday?
My chauffeur was waiting for me outside and we went off for some lunch, to the highly recommended Royal Oak at nearby Gretton. We arrived as the GWSR steam train puffed by at the bottom of the garden and spent a happy couple of hours overlooking the beautiful landscape.
Not the brightest and most settled of August days, so far we’d avoided getting wet and we were counting ourselves lucky as we explored a little of the garden before we left.
I was especially intrigued by the huge growth of mistletoe on this very small tree. See the clump on the stem, just beneath the canopy?
And since my hero is currently taking care of our friends’ chickens whilst they’re on holiday, the curious design of this wonderful hen house struck a chord too.
Watching the train steam by one last time, we decided it was time for home and pulled into the drive as the heavens opened.
Timed that one well!