Sunday, 31 July 2016

High Summer: Village Fetes and Shows

In my opinion, a Village Fete provides everything you might need to enjoy yourself on a Summer's day. David and I have our favourites and look forward to them eagerly. Everybody involved is relaxed and friendly, in the mood to chat and appreciate life. When held in some of Wiltshire's most beautiful villages, it is a pleasure just to wander around appreciating the beautiful cottages and their summer gardens.



The old rhythms of the seasons and village life are still alive. When you look back at photographs from the past, these fetes continue an unbroken line of celebration and gathering together that goes back centuries.

 
 
 

There are always craftsmen and enthusiasts sharing their skills and showing off their treasures

Old skills, old tools

A little steam engine

The field or village green is filled with families, their dogs and their children and there is always a queue for the tea tent. The tea is often a little stewed or cool but this is more than made up for by the cakes. The choice is bewildering: richly iced coffee cake, decorated with walnuts, rock buns, shortbread, moist dark tea loaf and chocolate fairy cakes, all homemade, all delicious and so cheap!
Who can resist?

 
 
 



After this treat we decided to take a little exercise and David proved his skills as a bowler by winning me a prize from the coconut shy.



I like best the big tent where the exhibits from the Horticultural show are collected together. I spend ages looking at the carefully prepared fruit and vegetables, preserves and cakes.




Many years ago, I remember my brother Anthony carefully choosing his five best runner beans, explaining how it wasn't the biggest but the most perfect and regular ones that would win. He then wrapped them in damp newspaper, to keep them fresh and straight in preparation for the next day's show.

 
 




When I lived at Sixpenny Handley in Dorset, I once won prizes for my elderflower cordial and lemon curd. The pride I felt at seeing that coveted red certificate! I do also remember though, my fury at the cutting comments of the judges  made about my jam sponge...
Today though, I was not exhibiting, so I could relax and enjoy the colour, ingenuity and beauty on show.

Miniature garden


A trug of a whole garden's produce


Posies in unusual containers ( cupcake cases)


I love the yellow courgettes


Floribunda rose


Three perfect eggs



We wandered, we chatted, we indulged and we treated ourselves to some homemade jams and chutneys.
It was a perfect way to spend a thoroughly English Saturday.
Now I've been inspired, I think I'll go and make some Rock Buns!









 
 
 


12 comments:

  1. Such a wonderful visit. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you Marie, I enjoyed trying to capture the spirit of the fair,Jane x

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  2. There's nothing quite like a country fair. Our season will start toward the end of August, culminating in the Saanich Fair which is worth a whole day. Working animals, show animals, needlework competitions and all the vegetable, fruit and baking competitions that featured in your village fair. The food is always an attraction too - funnel cakes, corn-on-the-cob dripping with butter, toffee apples and every other sort of treat.

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    1. We saw toffee apples being made! A good sums up so so many of life's pleasures doesn't it? Have a happy August, Jane x

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  3. Hello Jane,
    Your images make me feel like I am tagging along.
    What a perfect day. It is wonderful that the village fete continues. Like you I adore rock buns.
    Helenxx

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  4. Hello Helen, how I would enjoy a day at a fete with you! I agree that's it's a wonderful thing that these events are still so popular. Jane xx

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  5. I wonder if the dedicated band of cake makers is dying out. Perhaps Bake Off has revived the skill in the younger generation. Successful fetes are utterly dependent on them.

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    1. I agree Lucille, cakes are vital to any social event! I do think Bake Off has helped because once you try making a cake and succeed, you're hooked. Jane xx

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  6. It just sounds so English and laid back and civilized. Thanks for sharing, Jane. Diane

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    1. That's exactly how it was Diane...well perhaps the dogs and children added a bit of riotous behaviour! Jane xx

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  7. "Cheap" and "Cake" are two of my favorite words in any language. In my imagination I am queued outside the tea tent awaiting my cup of mediocre tea and homemade slice.

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    1. I revert to childhood greed when I see all the glorious choices... I want them all! Jane xx

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