Take one Ruby with ideas of grandeur, one Lilly suffering heat exhaustion, one Aussie Giveaway and six hundred and seventy four entries and what have you got?
A production that is worthy of a Baz Luhrmann extravaganza minus the big budget, Nicole Kidman and an enviable wardrobe.
My big thought for today was how to draw January's Giveaway winner? After all, everyone is getting so hi-tech these days. Take a look at Nikkicrumpet with her ingenious Crumpet Strumpet Wheel.
What was I to do?
I consulted the neighbourhood guru, five year old Ruby.
Yes, I am on speaking terms with her again after she insulted me months ago by asking me if I was normal (you can read it here if you need the background).
Ruby felt that a Giveaway of this magnitude deserved some careful thought. She held the belief that we should slowly whittle down the entries until a winner was selected.
She announced some big plans including outdoor locations and some outlandish ideas for on set catering involving frosting and sprinkles. I was in no fit state to argue. I needed all the direction she was willing to give.
First, we had to cut up the entries into neat strips. Well there was less of the we, and more Ruby than me. Did you know that children who are musical do damn fine work with a pair of scissors? There's a rhythm to using scissors, a coordination of the fine motor skills, the thumb and pointing finger, working together, yet separately. I just lay on the couch watching her work.
Gotta love a girl who likes to cut out tiny pieces of paper for hours on end! She was a little disturbed by some of your names though. "Why would their mummy and daddy call them such funny names?" "That's easy, Ruby", I replied, "they arent normal." She understood.
I eventually got off the couch to attend to the catering demands of the little Director. Cupcakes. In pastels.
After we finished 'cutting', we put all the names in Des' Aussie hat and asked him to do the honours of drawing out 30 names. Now I don't want to hear any complaints about favouritism because as Des says, he is nearly blind. Couldn't see a thing. Besides, he was a bit upset that he didn't draw out Barbara and Ugich and he wanted a redraw. Ruby pulled him into line. It's so hard to get good help these days.
The 30 entrants who progressed to the second stage drawing were -Peggy, Queenie Jeanie, Matt, Dee from Downunder, Yellowdog Granny, Eric S, Alyson (New England Living), Wheres My Angels, Sandi, Robin Easton, Shelia, Saundra, Mike Smith, For Myself, Joanie, Surharita Sarka, McAllen, Teri, CarmenSinCity, Christine, Judy, Darsden, Rocksnowhite, Julie, Braja, Mmm, Tashabud, June, Riyan and Simplicity.
Ruby then demanded in no uncertain terms that the names be laminated before we moved on. She had some serious ideas and was dreaming up some rugged outdoor pursuits to find a worthy winner. This girl has been watching some serious reality television.
It was at this point that I found out that musically gifted children aren't so clever at laminating. She kind of lost it when the laminating machine tried to eat the entries. She spat the dummy, I got the blame and she demanded a cupcake break. "Right Ruby, you little one trick pony - off you go and leave me in the lurch. I know you will be back when you see it all taking shape", said I as she stormed off. What was a girl to do but keep going......even when the Director walked off in a huff to stuff her face with pink confection.
Next, the production moved outdoors to the sands, for the sand gropers leg of the contest. I buried the 30 chosen ones in the wet sand pie that Ruby had made. All the time wondering how my life had come to this. I too used to like mud pies....... when I was five. Ruby finally got her act together after a hit of sugar and came back in time to unearth 20 of you from the soggy sand.
The 20 she unearthed to make it to the next leg of the contest were, Queenie Jeanie, Matt, Yellowdog Granny, Eric S, Alyson (New England Living), Wheres My Angels, Robin Easton, Shelia, Saundra, Mike Smith, Joanie, Surharita Sarka, McAllen, Teri, Judy, Rocksnowhite, Julie, Mmm, Tashabud and Joanie.The third leg of the contest involved water. This was the most fun as today was sweltering! Entrants had to swim from one end of the pond to the next. The first five that made it to the finish line progressed to the final leg of the competition. I have to say that Eric S and Sucharita Sarkar sank straight away so I am not sure if you guys are really into water sports.
There was a bit of intense tusseling to get to the front but the first to finish were Matt, Rocksnowhite, Robin Easton, Yellowdog Granny and Mike Smith. Two Texans, one New Mexican, one Scotsman, and one Romanian. And my question is, where were the Aussies?? Yes, don't tell me, too much Pavlova on Australia Day, because you all faltered at the first leg of the contest.
The final five then moved to the most difficult test of all. A test that provided an unbelievably sticky and somewhat heated finish. A test that would see one winner rise to the top in triumph.
The final five were cooked in a traditional Aussie damper.
When the damper was cooked and broken open, the first competitor found was declared the winner. (This should not be attempted at home. And even though Ruby protested, and chucked another dummy spit, this time with tears and flaying arms and legs, the damper has to be thrown away afterwards).
After a huge effort, and after having to face unparalleled challenges, the WINNER of the Giveaway is.................
Rocksnowhite from Romania (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with an address so I can send you your prize ).
Here is what you win Rocksnowhite.
Pack includes: Emily Kame Kngwarreye black bag (aboriginal artist), Aussie slang tea towel (slang words and their meanings), Aboriginal boomerang magnet, aboriginal art postcard, Waltzing Matilda bookmark, Steve Parish Wild Australia note pad, red leather kangaroo keyring, BBQ Aussie apron, No flies on Me Australia t-shirt, Aussie Homesick Pack containing a recipe card for pavlova, Australian tea bag, gum leaves, koala sticker, vegemite sample. Australian flag. All products come from Australia's National Museum.
Thanks Ruby, you little treasure. You are a genius even if a temperamental one at times. You creative types are all the same! The cheque is in the mail and you can take the cupcakes home with you. When Mummy asks you what you've been doing just tell her you're going to be Australia's next Nicole Kidman. Without all that botox of course!