an easter in my house does not consist of a traditional (or otherwise) feast or religious ceremony, chocolate egg hunts, or lazing around in bed, nor does it involve the wearing of weird ‘bonnets’ (where does that one come from? i did win an easter hat parade once at school with my pink cardboard and crepe paper but i have no idea why we did it in the first place). anyway, what my easter DOES consist of is a parade of a different kind, involving 5am wake ups, an hour in the car and various attendant ceremonies of entering the annual 2 day flyball competition at the sydney royal easter show. oringally an agricultural show, meant to bring ‘the bush’ to the city, many of those elements are fading over time with the move to the new big venue out at the olympic park at homebush, and the huge amount of stalls and activities that have nothing to do with agriculture at all. but for those who say The Show is dying, let me tell you, many thousands of people passed through those gates over the last couple of days. i managed to get a few pictures, so i will let them do the talking.
here is the flyball arena at 630am, with the olympic stadium in the background:
and here is some flyball racing, from the back of the ring so you can see the dogs running,
and from the front of the ring:
that fountain in the background is made out of the ring that was the top of the olympic flame structure in 2000. they even had it alight on saturday morning, but i didnt get a picture of that. the flyball competition was one day on the friday and then two days on sat and sun, and our new team was in the two day comp and we did quite well, as in a lot of team improvement. we came third, and set a new best time, and had fun together, which is the most important thing, right?! we got to take ricco and he did some beginner training in the ring during the lunch breaks, and then we went back yesterday to be part of a dog spectacular, demonstrating a few different dog sports, and ricco had some more runs and did even better. it wont be long at all till he’s racing, and he had a great time. both he and possum are exhausted today. as am i, in the demo yesterday i ran someone else’s border collie for a few heats, it was great fun but surprisingly hard work and i nearly died of exhaustion by the time we got home. good lord, i’m getting old.
the other good thing about doing the flyball is you get tickets to get into the show, and when we were on a break i managed to walk around and take some pictures of other things at the show. for example, the crowds:
the fancy cars:
and plenty of ‘rural’ things, including fleeces that i really just wanted to drag out and roll around in:
this is the winner of the superfine merino section. mmmmsuperfine:
the fruit and vegie displays:
that one was the winner, but i preferred this one:
i found it ironic that a display about sustainable farming was beaten by one about farming feeding the future. i wonder which future some of our farmers think there will be if they dont start thinking sustainably soon? i spent my formative years on a sheep/wool farm and i know the environment is way down the list of concerns there!
then i got distracted by some pretty things and stopped worrying about the future. the pretty things were all the lovely knitted objects, so many of them made by people i know. some of them won prizes and some didnt, and some people were surely robbed. the debate about the relevance of show knitting competitions continues on ravelry and i have to say that overall, i think there was less knitting generally, but more really nice things. its just that the things i think are nice dont win prizes usually. some of them did this time, like a shawl:
and a cardigan:
and a jumper:
among other things. but the people who judge the toys are obviously insane. how can you bypass a magic pudding:
and an aggie bear:
in favour of those grinning clown monstronsities that look like something out of a stephen king movie. hideous and terrifying. i made up my mind while there to enter two shawls next year myself, one in the general lace category and one in the shetland lace category:
i am going to do some research on the shetland one and find a really traditional design and make it in cream 2 ply, mostly for the challenge. i have no illusions as to my ability to win anything, but i need a goal to keep me on track with my lace knitting. i dont wear the shawls myself, so it makes sense to approach them as a creative or aesthetic thing and to find an outlet for that. i dont think we should let show knitting die, not at all, it has lots of faults and problems but it was a big buzz to be able to see all those things with the familiar names on them and know that knitting is not a dying art, its alive and well and in very good hands!
and just in case you were worried i didnt get to enjoy any chocolate this easter, never fear, i stocked up well with my favourite rocky road:
until next year, happy easter.