Sunday, 3 August 2008

Blue Skies, Cream Teas


After a Saturday morning of rain lashing down, the village draws a collective sigh of relief as blue skies start to dominate the western horizons, and the perfect English summer afternoon smiles on our annual fete. The Pimms bar, the homemade cakes table, the straw-hatted ladies sorting out the yellow raffle tickets. I am always amazed at how much stuff is still managed to be cajoled from local households for the ritual displays on trestle tables: the still pristinely-boxed jigsaws, unloved teddy bears, the unplayed board games 'so kindly meant' as Betjeman had it. My Neighbour Who Knows What I Like (blogs passim) also Knows What My Son Likes, and I see him walking off with a box containing an unconstructed Lego Bionicle on his head. Later she comes up to me covertly and a deal is struck over three huge boxes of the stuff, she looking over her shoulder and me rummaging for cash like we were dealing outside a night club. The Mother of My Children eyes the boxes from a distance with suspicion, but I assure her that she simply hasn't got enough tiny pieces of plastic all over her cottage yet. Youngest Son buys yet another stuffed penguin, and gets chocolate all over his hands which he washes in the plastic paddling pool meant for a game with yellow plastic ducks. We loved it all so much we had to have two cream teas each in the village hall.

73 comments:

A F-A said...

The prominently displayed "Battle of the Sexes" must be a great game to play on a Saturday night with the wife....It reminds me of a Round Table "Bring and Buy" I attended where a friend's son had been particularly helpful in adding "Mummy's buzzy toy" to the goods for sale!!

Thud said...

Sounds like a dream of an England that I thought no longer exists.Outside my sisters in Napa yesterday two young children set up a stall growing fruit from their parents garden....so innicent and perfect in the sun...i want this life for my children.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Round here now every small town wants to have its own super-size 'country fair', and these can be great, albeit rather vast and overwhelming. A fete on the green is so much more manageable and local. So please accept my application for membership of the Village Green Preservation Society.

Fred Fibonacci said...

Fibonacci Minor and I bought a completely brilliant 'Tomy' Thomas The Tank Engine Big Loader at a fete in Queen's Park not so long ago. It was £2.50. We linked it to our existing 'Tomy' Big Loader and spent hours watching the little truck going through its spellbinding routine of scooping up little black cannon balls and depositing them in a little hopper, which then tips them back into the truck, which has by now, adopted a different body, which then cycles back and drops them back in front of the digger body, over and over again, with metronomic precision.

This toy has been around for over thirty years (Matt, of '1943 jeep rebuild', had one when he was three). It is a masterpiece of simple robotics. Any of you who have not experienced the deeply therapeutic delights of this clever little device should rush out and buy one at the earliest opportunity. The current offering even has a helicopter.

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