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A fete worse than...

So, last Saturday I went to take part in the Birdsedge Village festival again, along with Helen and Vikki.. Birdsedge is a teeny village out in the Pennines of West YorkshireIn the afternoon, we run a couple of stalls at the fete in the school fields, and in the evening there's a folk concert in a marquee.

Well, the weather looked distinctly unsettled, so we loaded the boot of Helen's car with folding chairs, umbrellas, raincoats, jumpers, suntan cream, cushions, hats, cameras and bags of Stuff. As usual, we were running the Hook A Duck and Ring A Frog stalls, which meant finding a source of water to fill the paddling pools. Vikki sweettalked someone whose house bordered the school field into letting us use his hose. Then we let loose the floating plastic ducks and frogs and settled in. Our rule is that everyone gets a prize for their 50p, no matter whether or not they get a ring over a frog, or how long it takes them to get a duck (or how much help they have)

You hear a lot on TV about modern children being materialistic, and demanding designer goods and toys that need batteries. The young children of Birdsedge still like being able to choose tennis balls, toy cars, whoopee cushions, and big punchbag balloons as their prizes. The fete is a real family event, and it's nice to see kids or 6 or 7 helping toddler siblings to hook the ducks. Sometimes the older children will pick prizes for much younger brothers or sisters, instead of taking something for themselves. On a really hot day, you can guarantee that some kids just enjoy splashing in the water for it's own sake, and more than once we've had dogs taking a quick drink from the paddling pools.

Lunch was bought from the WI tea tent, and included an excellent date slice. The stall next to us was from a local farm which made it's own ice-cream. I had a strawberry milkshake, which made blended in front of me from their own milk, their own vanilla ice cream and a handful of fresh strawberries. Mmmmm. I didn't get anything from the barbeque this year, but their burgers and sausages are locally produced too, and very good.

There were plenty of other stalls to look at - tombolas, a plant stall, bric-a-brac, plants, home-made jams and cakes, books, pick-a-bottle etc. Helen managed to win bath salts and a really pretty glass jar on one stall: I got a novelty Xmas mug. There was an excellent jewellery stall to lust over, and one selling bags containing 7 lovely Belgian chocolates for  £1 a time. 

When the fete, with its displays and childrens' fancy dress etc, had wound down, we dismantled the stall, packed everything away for next yeart, counted our takings (approx £140), and headed off to a nearby pub for a hot meal and a rest. The pub is 'The Sovereign', I think, and has a sign depicting either King George III being mad, or a leprachaun - we couldn't decide which it was meant to be. It does good pub food, and has lovely views.

Back to Birdsedge for the concert in the evening. This year they had real ales in kegs at the bar, and some real cider, as well as ordinary booze, fizzy drinks and Fentiman's Ginger beer. There was also tea and coffee available, as well as leftover sandwiches and cakes from the WI tent. One of the WI members makes terrific caramel shortbread, I can tell you ! If you wanted hot food, you could book a burger to be ready for you at the interval. They do things very well at Birdsedge.

The concert was as good as ever. Plenty of good music and lots of laughter. Some folk musicians are very good stand-up comedians too. Helen and I were amused by the Swedish fiddler player in one act, She was a very slender young woman, who wore a turquiose blue stretch fabric dress, that was essentially strapless, apart from a shoelace halterneck fastening. That really didn't offer much support, and she was clearly anxious that she was about to have a wardrobe malfunction. When she wasn't playing her fiddle, she kept her arms clamped to her sides, and she hitched the dress up after every number. After about five tunes, she gave up and put her little black cardie on again, to give herself more secure coverage. Still, they were a very good act (called Outside Track) and the lead singer had a wonderful voice. 

It turned chilly during the evening, so Helen went to get some fleecy blankets from her car. It turns out  that BMW estates have smuggling compartments built into the boot, where you can store all kinds of stuff. Cool !


Helen drove us home afterwards, and I was tired, but very satisfied with my very English day out.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
vilakins
17th Jul, 2007 20:28 (UTC)
What a lovely day! I've always wanted to go to a village fete.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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