Oh the stress of it all! It was my third year judging the photography classes at the village show. We usually get quite a few entries, but this time the display boards were practically empty. What to do when there’s only one photo which was, how can I put it, not a David Bailey, more like something taken after a bottle of Bailey’s?
Help was at hand from the judge in the in the cauliflower class, displayed nearby between the giant garlic and trimmed onions and within spitting distance of the novelty vegetables. There also was only one entry, and a sorry-looking cauli if was too. The judge there had his tape-measure, calipers and whiteness chart and clearly that one entry wasn’t a winner either.We exchanged sympathetic glances, cast aside the large red rosette for first and put a more modest certificate for second in its place on the photo and cauli respectively. We were the judges and that was our final decision.
Across in the flower-arranging room there was much tutting and shaking of well-coiffed blue rinses. Yes, the clever little display in the novice class was pretty and deserved the red rosette which was duly placed, though in doing so, the judge noticed the arrangement included a foreign object. Something that was not on the list of permitted flowers, foliage and nik-naks, something that looked very much like a berry and was most definitely not flower or foliage and outside the boundaries of nik-nak definition. Wars have been started on less, well maybe not wars, but minor skirmishes between flower arrangers who use berries and those who do not. The upshot was that while it could be grudgingly awarded first prize, it did not qualify to receive the cup which usually goes with the rosette. All because of a berry. Harsh, but again, the judges’ decision was final.
There was a similar debate over the strawberry jam which may have been tainted with apple. so its certificate was whisked away and the jam-maker ordered to get a new spoon and keep away from apples. A Victoria sponge was disqualified because it contained cream as well as jam, rules are rules and it’s up to the judges to make sure they are not messed with. Cream indeed.
This left me in fear for my other judging duties, the wine. The usual wine judge was indisposed and rumour had it that I was partial to a glass or two and wasn’t there to defend myself, so I got that job too, with a whisper in my ear that I shouldn’t expect fine vintage, or indeed any vintage.
To be fair, the wine wasn’t too bad, I had to take a few gulps of the finer wines, forgetting that I should spit it out or risk getting a little tipsy. I could even award first, second and third places, though the certificates were placed a little wonkily. I was told I did a good job and am in serious danger of being asked back again next year.