The Ekka is the Queensland Exhibition – the state show, culmination of all the local shows. Cattle and horses and parades and pavilions, dagwood dogs, fairy floss, strawberries and cream, rides (I went the swinging chairs, which was fun but a bit lonely). My favourite parts are the cattle pavilion, which is always sweet-smelling and somnolent, and the dog trials, and the food.

As no-one wanted to come along with me (even though I had a spare pass), I took my sketchbook and managed to get a little drawing in. Maybe more next year. You can see larger versions of these by clicking on a picture to go to its Flickr page, and then clicking on “all sizes” above the picture.

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I started sketching at the woodcut arena (right-hand page above). It was a windy day (the Ekka Winds come every August), so between the sawdust blowing in my eyes and the fact that in the speed chainsaw event the men split a log into seven posts in about a minute, I’m surprised I caught as much as I did.

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Top left: There is always lots of free food in the Woolworths pavilion – exotic dips and spreads, olives, cordials, dessert wines, yoghurts and fudge – but most of it tastes so good I end up paying and taking it home. In the handcrafts pavilion (bottom left) there was a demonstration of cake decorating, with a mirror above the presenter so you could see what her hands were doing. The dog show (right) is a lot of fun. I would have liked to have spent more time there in a better seat – the dachshunds were hard to see.

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The horses (bottom left) were far enough away that the horses were about the same size as the dachshunds, but it spared me having to capture too much detail. Middle left: there are always fabulous wigs from show bags (also, chocolate). Bottom right is a large and faintly iridiscent plush kangaroo that regarded me unblinkingly from over a seat in the train on the way home.

The gold ink and red bleed-through on the right-hand page are from using the last page of my sketchbook for tests when buying pens – which is an indication that I’ve finally finished scanning this sketchbook in. It’s all up at Flickr here: Sketchbook 05/08 – 08/08.