The day of the village fayre dawned bright and sunny, which boded well for the rest of the day. You will remember from last week that D and I had both been persuaded to enter things into the Produce and Handicrafts show, so we had to take our items down at the crack of dawn (well, between 8 and 9 o’clock anyway, which felt pretty early for a Sunday to me!) When we got down there, though, the field was already buzzing with people setting up and generally working hard to make the day a success. We left our precious creations to their fate, bought our tickets for entry later to beat the queues (“You’re our first customers – how exciting!”) and returned home to freshly brewed coffee, breakfast and 2 irritated cats.
The field across the road from us, which appears at the top of each page and post on the blog, had been designated as parking, so we were expecting more cars than usual up the lane past the house. As the Princess likes to explore around the front at every opportunity, we had decided to keep them both inside for the day to ensure their safety and on our return, they both set about telling us what they thought of this idea. Calamity has a varied range of vocal expressions, most of which sound like a feline variation on the common teenage refrain of “Muuuum! It’s not faiiir!” The Princess prefers to express her displeasure with haughty stares and the occasional snappy “Mrrreh!” When neither of these things moved us, they settled for gazing out of the patio doors on to the garden, as if it was a Paradise Lost, throwing us the occasional hurt and reproachful glance. In the end, unable to bear the guilt any longer, we abandoned our breakfast and retreated to the living room, where we could no longer see them.
A little later, we headed back to the village green, ready to enjoy ourselves and hoping that there would be lots of other people ready to do the same. We hit the tombolas first, and managed to win a respectable haul, before heading for the varied stalls of mainly local businesses, all doing a roaring trade, selling beautifully hand-crafted art and foods. I particularly recommend Love Brownies (www.lovebrownies.co.uk ) , based a little further west over in Ilkley – their Morello cherry brownies were everything a chocolate brownie should be – moist, gooey, decadent and very, very chocolatey. Even better, they do mail order! Brownies through the post – what’s not to love? I got swept away by the romance of a stall dedicated to honey and bee-keeping, dreaming of a hive in the orchard until D, ever practical, pointed out that the cats would undoubtedly be just as fascinated and end up being stung. It’s not quite the same, but we may settle for a bee hotel or 2 next year instead. We watched retrievers being put through their paces in true One Man and his Dog style (without the sheep) and D tried his hand at archery, something he used to do at university. I was happy to watch (I’m not to be trusted with anything involving sharp implements and eye-hand co-ordination – my wood-cutting days were very brief, as some of you may remember), but one of the coaches had other ideas. He approached me, assured me that anyone could do it and talked me into having a go. I think I got 2 out of the 6 arrows in the target, which I considered an achievement, but I think we can safely say I won’t be taking it up. It wasn’t a good start when he asked me if I was left or right handed – always a confusing question for me, as I write with one and do pretty much everything else with the other. Apparently, between being handed the bow outside the enclosure and reaching the shooting line, I had swapped from one to the other anyway and it was all downhill from there.
I passed on the climbing wall and instead watched with anticipation as the Yorkshire Air Ambulance helicopter flew in and landed on the field. I got several photos of it in the air, but missed the landing itself, as there was so much grass being blown around by the blades as it landed. I don’t know what it is, but there is just something so exciting about a helicopter and these guys do such an amazing job for the people of Yorkshire. They were one of the charities supported by the fayre and a truly worthy cause.
We popped home for lunch, to get a bit more abuse from the cats for still not letting them out and then headed back again to see the rest. We were drawn to the beer tent by the sound of a guitar and sat for some time listening to Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies (www.jezlowe.com ), a Geordie folk group. We sang along with everyone else (undoubtedly helped along by the locally brewed beer) and a great time was had by all. We just managed to get out in time to see the falconry display by Phil the Falconer (www.philturnerfalconry.com ), something I have loved to watch ever since I got to handle birds of prey as part of a friend’s hen party many years ago.
Throughout the day, we saw people that we knew, people who stopped to greet us and to chat – the postmaster, people from the club and the pub, people we have quizzed with, neighbours and friends – reinforcing the feeling that this village is a vibrant community and one to which we are proud and happy to belong. All too soon, the day was over and, tired but happy, it was time for home. The day was a resounding success and my thanks and congratulations go to the committee for their incredible hard work, without which it would never have happened. It felt like a well-established event, not a first for our village, and everyone involved should be proud of what they achieved.
And what of our show entries, I hear you ask. Well, that came as the icing on the cake, a perfect end to the day – we both got 3rd in our respective classes – D for photography (Water category) and me for needlecraft. For people who had never entered anything into a competition before, to come 3rd was more than we had hoped for. I for one have got the bug now though and I’m already starting to think about what I can submit next year, when I’ll be going all out for that first prize!