Tomorrow, get up bright and early. Car needs to be valet cleaned, then it's off to pick up the exhibition trees. The EBA display plan is for 3 chuuhin-sized trees and about 5 shohins. And the accompanying display tables and either accent plants or - if we can find any in scale - some nice suiseki to break up the landscape, so to speak.
Robert has been kind enough to lend a couple of really good Japanese hardwood display tables. We have identified enough accent plants to take with us. I'm not sure how much space is allocated to each country display - I have a feeling we're going to find out when we get there. Which could become a very emotional experience, depending on how many trees each country brings and how tired and snarky people are by the time they get there. Ideally an approximation of space is given out to the exhibitors; whether or not this has been done, I haven't asked. I'm just the grunt here, OK?
Still some last-minute potting up needs to be fitted in during the day. Spring has sproinged with a vengeance and a whole load of alpines are now rearing their little green heads out of their pots. While I am very happy to see they have survived our usual wet winter, they could have been more obliging and waited a week or so.
I'll miss our local club meeting as we will just be driving back from Spain that same evening. We are having a new speaker at the club, so I'm sorry to be missing his talk on beeches. Mike is coming over tomorrow to pick up pots that had been made during one of our club evenings last week, so the guys in our club can have new personalised pots for the 2009 re-potting season. Thank you Mike, that's a load off my dining room table.
Just in case anyone is wondering:
The EBA supporters from the UK wishing to display their trees have to make it over there on their own steam and off their own finances. For the shorter distances, each exhibitor would arrange his own transport. Spain being a tricky one, we had offered to use our vehicle and drive down with the exhibition trees. We don't mind the long drives; during the times we were transporting only our own trees, we broke the journey at friends' places across the Continent.
This trip, we had wanted to hire a courier van so that we could take some of the big trees, but the rental guys wanted megabucks for us to take the van out of the country. So we're going to make like sardines for 2 days there and 2 days back. Like us, all the other UK representatives to EBA are going to have to pay their own way to get there, attend the convention, feed themselves and make their own way back. It's been that way for years. We all do it because we love showing our trees, we love the ritual of display, and we love meeting up with friends that we have made across borders and who we only see once a year. We may not agree with how the awards are handed out, we may abhor the hotel we have wound up in, the politics may drive us mad (Bob's sumo-sized chick with a chip on her shoulder is my pet peeve) - but we will do it all again next year because we love bonsai and because we want to keep British bonsai clubs up there in the European scene.