You know standards have slipped when the announcer has to make a plea for the May Queen to return to the festivities in order to give flowers to the dancers. And, more importantly, to Ms Hilary Bishop (and Beryl…not sure who Beryl was but she was given flowers).
The last time we visited the Oakhanger May Fayre was a long time ago. I think we were living in East Worldham at the time. That was in 2002/03. Over ten years then. The two things we remember most about it are the grace and goodness of the May Queen and Pongo the Overweight. I have a photo of that long ago May Queen but, sadly, not with me at the Orangery, so I’m unable to post it. I do, however, have a few of this year’s May Queen.
The trouble was that she didn’t spend a lot of time on her throne, making a decent photograph a bit hit and miss. But that wasn’t the only problem. She clearly did want to spend a lot of time with her boyfriend and kept vanishing behind the village hall with him. This was when she wasn’t grimacing for reasons known only to her.
She also ran around a lot, something not so simple in a formal frock and a train maid following close up behind. I did, however, manage to get one photo of her on the throne.
Actually, the best photo I took of the 2014 May Queen is on Flickr.
The Fayre itself was the perfect blend of effort and skill – 100% effort and not a lot of skill. This might sound like a bad thing but it isn’t. The whole village fayre thing is fantastic and we thoroughly enjoy it whenever we go. Oakhanger is (and was) no exception. It was one of the perfect ways we celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary today.
After Skyping Bob and Fiona, we headed down to the Holly Bush Pub for a fantastic Sunday lunch. Asparagus wrapped in Parma ham with a poached egg for entree followed by roast belly of pork for main. Superb! And surrounded by lots of people with dogs.
We ate outside, on the verandah again. It was the perfect lunch. Though not for the family sitting at a table not far from us. Their little boy climbed down from his high chair and fell over. He started screaming and carrying on. His father quickly grabbed him and tried shoving a bottle in his mouth. Not a beer bottle, a baby bottle. The kid was having none of it and, to be fair, he did look a bit old to be having a baby bottle.
The father then took him for a stroll around the beer garden in an attempt to soothe him. Throughout the entire episode, the mother sat and chatted with a woman I think was her sister. There was also a little girl with them who was extremely well behaved and possibly embarrassed by who appeared to be her little brother.
Anyway, the little boy didn’t stop his noise so the father decided the best thing for it was to pack him into the car and take him home. The pub gave him his lunch wrapped in foil and he left. The woman was not impressed and told the woman with her that it was useless trying to organise a day out with the whole family. I think that was quite sad.
Not so us. We headed off for Oakhanger through some of the most beautiful countryside we’ve ever seen. It’s days like today that we realise what a brilliant idea it was to move over here and why we love it so much.
But, back to the May Fayre. Pongo has probably gone to another world in the ten years since we last visited the Fayre so there was no guessing his weight. There was, however, a smash the plates stand, a human fruit machine and a not very good brass band. Possibly the best stall was the one selling cakes. We bought a delicious looking one with orange flavoured icing. And it was delicious by the time we arrived back at the cottage to have some with a cup of tea.
Probably the highlight of the whole day was the little dancers from Hilary Bishop’s school. Hillary gave a little speech to begin with and, to our surprise, announced that 2014 marked her 23rd year presenting her dancers at the Oakhanger May Fayre. This means not only that they’ve been doing the same thing for as long as we’ve been married but also that we saw them back in 2002/03 when we last came.
I think that first one was of fairies trying to catch pesky pixies in butterfly nets. While this next one is of a Jack in the Box, springing up.
These were the little kids and were just adorable. Their costumes were the best too. Their dancing wasn’t very good but who cares! They were brilliant…in their own way. The funniest bit was the big finale when the dancers had to go and grab people from the audience to dance with them. It was, apparently, a Swedish folk dance. It just looked like a lot of mad fun.
We finished the day, back at the cottage watching The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe followed by the second session of the final of the World Snooker Championship.
The perfect end to the perfect day.
NB: There were so many things I wanted to mention in this post but it would have made it far too long. I am, however, going to mention the rabbit with no legs here at the bottom, just in case I remember it in the future. Because it was very funny.