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All the fun of the Fayre ...

Last Saturday was an important day for us, it was the day of our annual Summer Fayre. After 2 years of Covid restrictions we were eager that this ‘return to fun’ came back with a bang rather than a whimper, and that as well as fun and fellowship, we could achieve that other ‘f’ word, much needed funds for our Church which has been suffering, like many others, from the squeeze of the cost of living crisis and post-Covid decline.

The day started well with volunteers arriving early, their arms laden with a diverse ‘haul’ for their stall. Tables were marched out of the Hall and set up on the lawn and were soon brimming over with an eclectic mix of the bizarre to the common place and everything inbetween. We had already won the jackpot by having somehow managed to secure the services of Adam and his friends, the Four Faces (a 60’s tribute band) to provide live music throughout. Just listening to them rehearse told me we were in for a ‘fab’ afternoon! For me, however, the pièce de résistance was the arrival of the cake ladies with their boxes of diet busting delights!

We were off to a great start! Everything was set up and ready to go. As I jiggled my way across the lawn to the sound of the Four Faces singing songs from my youth even better than I remembered them first time around, I considered where I should be when the proverbial ‘starting pistol’ was fired. The vicar had given strict instructions that no sales were to be made in advance of the official start time so it was important to be in the right place at the right time!

Sensibly the cake stall had been set up inside the church, out of the heat of the day, or we might have had a new definition of ‘melting moments’. Unsurprisingly I decided that it could be just the place to position myself in readiness, especially when I overheard that the vicar’s mother was planning to be at the front of the cake queue with her shopping list! Now you might think it unseemly to be jostling for position with a woman 20 years my senior, especially when that woman is the vicar’s mum, but you have got to remember that the vicar inherited her pointy elbows and steely determination from somewhere, and we were talking cake!!! All’s fair in love and cake wars! I learnt my best moves from my big sister, a vicar’s wife of many years standing, who knows how to deal with everything from a Church Bazaar to the truly bizarre, with the requisite degree of ‘sangfroid’.

At 1 pm the doors opened (so to speak), the band played, the people drifted in and stalls holders welcomed a steady stream of buyers. Not wishing to remain glued to the cake stall I moved along to the adjacent refreshment tables and sat with a cup of tea to consider my cake buying success. As I relaxed I became aware of a curious whispering amongst the ladies of a certain age … turning I saw a young firefighter standing a bit self-consciously just inside the main door. Never one to miss an opportunity I approached him and asked ‘are we on fire?’ I thought I was hilarious, he however looked rather startled! I don’t suppose that the firefighting training school equips you for dealing with being suddenly accosted by a rather unsteady looking older lady struggling with a bag load of cake. He explained that he and his colleagues were delivering leaflets offering home fire and security checks. After he got over his initial shock, he and the other firefighters came in and enjoyed some refreshments and cake, chatted to everyone, had their photos taken (interestingly by the cake stall) and offered the children a look around their fire engine and photo opportunities. I would have loved to explore it myself however the idea of me trying to look dignified while being hauled in and out of a fire engine by several strong men filled me with dread, especially if caught on camera!

Outside the people milled around on the lawn, enjoying the music, perusing the stalls and trying their luck on the tombola and the big raffle. The afternoon passed in a flash and before long it was time to draw the raffle and bring proceedings to an end. Everyone seemed to enjoy their afternoon and it was great to re-establish the great Summer Fayre tradition. If you were there, contributing in any way, thank you! If you were not, you missed a treat, but we will be doing it all again for Christmas (hopefully!), we can’t promise burly fire fighters, but there will be cake, and stalls, and plenty to see and do and lots of opportunities to take part. So in the parlance of the once young - Be there or be square!



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