I’ve often thought that the opportunity of meeting our neighbouring club members and seeing their work is the enjoyable part of these competitions. To me at least, who wins is of secondary importance.

This view was bourne out last night when the judge, Peter Siviter DPAGB EFIAP, didn’t manage to make it. We still had an enjoyable and interesting evening. I can think of two occasions when this has happened at big comp[etitions and there has been another judge in the audience who was independent and could take over. Last night there were two judges present, Ian Whiston and myself, but we were clearly partisan. Chris Middleton and John Field, Whitchurch’s organisers, quickly┬ásuggested a way of involving us; they would have three judges; John Field from Whitchurch, Ian Whiston from MCCC and myself, Crewe and we would mark the work of the each others clubs. I asked the audience whether they would like comments and, lead by a lady at the front who said she was a beginner and wanted to learn (bless her!), they said, yes.

I was very impressed with Whitchurch’s work. MCCC’s was equally so, but with four of them also members at Crewe and having judged there this year I had seen at lot of their work before. In the end Whitchurch “won” and that may have been the result if we had had a “proper” judge but certainly a potentially disappointing evening was turned into an interesting one.

That brings me full circle, because we did meet our neighbouring club members and we did see their work (and study it). This could be a plan for the future when fuel becomes expensive again; save the judges expenses and just get together with a collection of work and show it.