We were anxious to get inside, behind those concertina doors screening off the judges. It was past one o'clock - clearly punctuality is only mandatory for entrants. The show secretary did pop her head through the doors to acknowledge our arrival as we were the first ever metropolitan exhibitors, but she very quickly snapped them shut. The judges tardiness allowed us to take advantage of the two course luncheon: corned beef, mustard sauce and a selection of vegetables (not necessarily different) and apple pie.
The concertina doors finally parted to reveal the show. The displays were so genuinely breathtaking it took us a while to get to our own creation. After getting sucked in by the bearded irises for a while we did away with politeness and pushed our way through to the Worst Arrangement section. We looked everywhere for our names but as the eyesight of the stewards was bad, the decision had been made to mark us down as 'P. Blanket.' Reece and his staff at Mooroopna Florists did follow our instructions: make it look like shit, wrap it in newspaper and attach the filthiest card you have in the shop.
Their choice of card was magnificent - a torn piece of an envelope with a scribbled missive. Our proxy stager also showed independence with her creativity, choosing to remove most of the petals of the only actual flower and housing our arrangement in the previous evening's Butter Chicken container, label still in tact with lingering aroma.
As bad as it was, it was not worse than reigning champ, Noreen.
Noreen was obviously sure of herself in this category. We learnt on the way down she had suggested the show secretary relax the NO LATE ENTRIES rule for us city folk and had offered to secret our entry through the back door. She didn't see us as a threat. And we weren't, because she won.
We didn't even come second. The Mooroopna Garden Club has not seen the last of P. Blanket.