That’s what I got this week. And as I was thinking that to myself, I wondered what a salutary lesson is, and is there another kind? I consulted the net to find the definition and origin of salutary, and apparently it means beneficial, coming from the Latin ‘salutaris’. Before anybody takes me up on that, I did only a quick search, and that’s close enough for this purpose. So a salutary lesson is a beneficial one, and I think there isn’t any other kind, surely all lessons are beneficial to some degree? However, I think there is a general feeling that a salutary lesson is one which is beneficial, but not particularly pleasant, a little like medicine, which has to taste awful to have any effect.

My lesson, which really I ought to have learned by now, was not to leave things until the last minute. I had entered my Fremantle limestone embroidery in the Sydney Easter show, having been successful with it in Perth, and having seen an ad for the Sydney show in a magazine. The embroidery was made, obviously, since I had entered it in Perth in October last year, all I had to do was pack it up and send it off. In my defence, not quite so easy, since I had to find a box just the right size, and in the end I couldn’t and had to construct one out of two other boxes. However, I did that, and took it off to the Post Office with what I thought was just enough time. Fifty dollars for return postage, and that was that, or so I thought.

Then on the weekend a phone message from the Show organisers. Please ring back. I did so, but the person I needed to speak to wasn’t there on the first attempt, or even on the second, so it was several days before I got to find out what the message was about. My entry hadn’t arrived until after the judging closed! Sorry, but there you are.

So, a salutary lesson indeed, including in the sense of not being very pleasant. I’m now a bit worried whether my entry for the Cotton Expo arrived in time, since I also posted that, albeit Express Post. Fingers crossed. And in future, I will make sure to send any similar things off in good time, to allow for the abysmal performance of Australia Post. Don’t get me started!