Monday, 23 June 2008

From the Village Pump......

Dressed for the weather

You know what time of year this is don't you? In England at any rate - it's the Village Show season. Yes come rain or shine (usually rain) the show goes on. They're all pretty much the same and yet every one is different - if you follow?

There's a poor, sad little pony in there somewhere

In the show ring there will usually be something like the Pony Club where young riders will show off their skills, the dog training club will have the crowd in stitches when their proteges show no sense of occasion. A local shepherd will put his dogs through their paces. There'll be a novelty Dog Show (dogs always draw the crowds) - waggiest tail, smilingest face, silliest grin, best catcher. If you're lucky there will be a police dogs display, motorbike display team, a parade of tractors through the decades, Morris Dancers.

Look at that sky - it was hailstones 5 minutes before!

Outside of the show ring, you find stalls of all kinds and rarely are they commercial. They are usually for the benefit of, for example, Cats' Protection, RSPCA, Church Roof Fund, Playing Field Upkeep, Village Hall Improvement fund.........and so on. They have such ingenious ideas for the money raising stalls too: Rat-up-a-Drainpipe (or, if you're a very graphic 10-year-old, Splat the Rat - method on application!), Tombola, Raffles, Coconut shy, Hook the Duck, the Village stocks (that's where local dignitaries get their comeuppance - the Vicar or Headmaster or Doctor goes in the stocks and folk pay to throw wet sponges at them!). It's all good, clean (very clean if you're the Vicar), harmless fun.

The Church Ladies' cake stall never lasts the whole afternoon. They're always sold out very quickly. Church Ladies and Mr. Kipling have this much in common: they both make exceedingly good cakes!

The pall of smoke in one corner and the antics of blokes in pinnies signifies the presence of a hot dog and burger stall. There's always a queue a mile long for this. Even in the rain there s always a queue at the ice cream van. If there's a queue a mile long anywhere else, that'll be the ladies' loos which they hire in for the occasion. Village fairs, specially the smaller ones, usually have nice loos because ladies from "The Committee" volunteer to do stints throughout the afternoon on toilet cleaning duties. Gents' loos are hired in too but that's different.......well, let's not go into that!

The Sunday after the Friday when Stewart flew back to Canada, Keith and I went to one such show near here. It had been sunny all morning but in the afternoon, just after we got into the showground, the heavens opened. The rain was torrential and poor Keith shoved me and my wheelchair through mud. Mimuther was with us too, in sensible shoes for a change, and we all took shelter for a little while at the cake stall, which was in a tent. Not a marquee, just a little camping jobby but they were glad to have us all there as it meant they had a captive market! If I had been running the stall - which was for the village church restoration fund - I would have passed a bucket around those sheltering to get 10p sheltering fee off each of them and thus swell the coffers still further. Mercenary madam!!! It was a measure of what we English expect of the weather that there were very few people without an umbrella or plastic mac or both. In my case an outboard motor would have been good too.

My sis, a friend of the Committee Lady who was Treasurer for the day, says they cleared £5,000 profit for that afternoon. How on earth much would they have made on a nice day?

Next time I'll show you my loot from the show!


Grammy Staffy said...

How I wish that I could be there...without the downpour of course. It sounds like so much fun. The picture you put in with the sheep dog reminds me of "Babe" which is one of my favorite movies to watch with my grandchildren.

I'm glad that you had a nice day and sorry that you didn't have your outboard motor with you.

Take care, Grammy Lura

Raquel said...

Oh, that does sound like fun!! I would love to come and go with you, maybe someday! Here in town we have the Colt show, which is somewhat similar. They have horse judging, food booths, etc. Only bad part is, the traffic is horrific, we live only 1 block away from the courthouse grounds and people always block our driveway. Then the HORRIBLE bands that they hire, ugh, twanging on until all house of the night!

Much love, Raquel XO

Marie said...

I love the village fete season, although this year the big wedding is this weekend, the same day as the village church fete, so I expect I shall miss out on all the fun this year. It invariably rains on village fete day, you are so right there! I Loved visiting this one with you though Angie. I am hoping to call you next week when all the hubub is finished here! XXOO

Marie said...

PS - I LOVE LOVE your little signature mouse!