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U3A Writing: A Fete Worse Than Death

Patrick Hopton tells a delicious tale concerning the annual village fete at Little Bogbury.

Story telling at its very bestÖ.

Bogbury Gazette, 27 August 1958

Little Bogbury celebrated its annual village fete last Saturday afternoon. This ever popular event was held on the cricket field, and was opened by Lady Cissington of Bogbury Manor.

Not that old trout again, Edie. Why canít we get someone famous, a film star or something?

But Fred, Lady Cissingtonís well known in these parts. Anyway sheís aristocracy.

That Lady Barnett on the television then; sheís aristocracy too. Why canít we get her? At least sheís got a bit of charm about her.

But sheís not local, dear. Bogbury Manorís just across the road. Lady Cissington is a villager, just like the rest of us.

So why donít we hold the fete in the Manor grounds? We used to when her husband was alive.

A full range of attractions was on offer and provided a feast of enjoyment to the large number attending.

Same old things, year after year. I donít know why you make me come. Iíd much rather have stayed home. Thereís racing from Newmarket this afternoon.

Since when have I ever been able to make you do anything you didnít want to do, Fred Emmet? Admit it now: youíre here, not because of me, but because youíve entered that precious marrow of yours in the vegetable competition.

If thatís the case, Iíll stay for the judging - only so I can see the look on Harry Slaterís smug face when I beat him this year - then Iím off home.

The stalls were run by various local groups. Among the most successful were the coconut shy, run by Little Bogbury Scout Group. . .

They must have glued those coconuts down, Edie. You saw how hard I hit that middle one and the damn thing never even quivered.

Yes dear. Never mind. Try the darts. Perhaps all those hours you put in at the Rose and Crown might bear fruit yet.

the darts stall by the Friends of Little Bogbury School . . .

You have to admit that the flights on those darts were all bent.

If you say so, Fred; but I seemed to manage all right. I didnít win a prize of course, but my score beat yours.

Pah! Beginnerís luck!

the rifle gallery by Little Bogbury Football Club . . .

The barrel of my rifle was like a banana. Buffalo Bill himself couldnít have hit a barn door at five yards with that thing.

Never mind, Fred. Itís all in a good cause. Try this stall instead. Itís purely a game of chance: all youíve got to do is use a fishing rod to hook a duck with a lucky number on it and you win a prize.

and the Hook a Duck stall by the Ladiesí Circle of St Cyrilís Church.

Youíve won! There Fred, your luckís changing.

A teddy bear! What in Godís name am I going to do with a teddy bear? An ugly brute too.

You can give it to little Martin next door, thatís what. Itís his birthday next week.

That certainly makes me feel a lot better! Wasting good money on that little horror.

Cheer up dear, the beer tent should be open now. Thatíll brighten up your day.

Of course no event like this passes without hitting at least one snag. In this instance it concerned the beer tent, which was unable to open due to some mix up in arranging a license. But itís an ill wind, as the saying goes. The adjacent tea tent, run by Little Bogbury Womenís Institute, enjoyed record takings.

Never mind, Fred. Hereís a nice cup of tea to cheer you up, and a slice of Mrs Herbertís seed cake.

Seed cake! You know I hate seed cake.

Do you, dear. Youíve never said. Ooh look the raffle! Now our luckís changed we should buy a raffle ticket.

There wonít be anything worth winning.

Of course there will. See now, the main prize is a hamper from Harrods. Look itís even got a tin of asparagus.

Asparagus! I hate the stuff.

Thereís a bottle of port too. Youíll like that. Get a ticket for me will you, Fred . . . green, itís my favourite colour, and number two five one if it hasnít gone, my lucky number.

Musical entertainment was provided by Bogbury Silver Band.

That lot again. They come here every year and play the same old stuff. It wouldnít be so bad if they could play in tune.

I think theyíre very good.

Youíre too kind, Edie, thatís your trouble. Theyíre rubbish and you know it. Fortunately I donít have to stay and listen to them. The vegetable judging is just about to start in the marquee.

I find all that hanging about for the judgesí decisions tedious, Fred. I think Iíll stay and listen to the band, if you donít mind.

Suit yourself. Stay here if thatís what you want.

Good luck with your marrow, dear.

For the third consecutive year, the prize for the best marrow was awarded to Mr Harry Slater.

All right, so his was a bit larger than mine; that doesnít mean it was better. Size isnít everything. Donít snigger like that, Edie. Oh brilliant, now itís raining. Thatís it. Iím off home.

But the raffle, Fred!

Sod the raffle. We donít stand a chance of winning it anyway.

Wait, Fred. Whatís that yellow all over your shirt?

Oh God, itís that damn teddy bear. The rainís making the colour run. Thatís a perfectly good shirt ruined. Iím dumping this animal in the first litter bin I see.

Canít we just wait for the raffle, Fred? Iíve got a good feeling about my ticket.

You stay if you like; Iím off home.

The Raffle raised a record sum this year. The amount was augmented thanks to the generosity of Lady Cissington, who made the highest bid for the Harrods hamper, which was auctioned off after the winning raffle ticket (Green No. 251) was left unclaimed.

This rainís getting worse. Weíll have to hurry. With a bit of luck Iíll be in time for the football results. Who knows, I might have won the pools.

You say that every week, Fred, and itís never happened yet.

A man can dream, Edie. A man can dream.

***

Bogbury Gazette, 3 September 1958

TRAGIC DEATH OF LADY CISSINGTON

An inquest at Bogbury Town Hall was told how Lady Cissington, of Bogbury Manor, accidentally choked to death while eating a tin of asparagus.

LOCAL MAN SCOOPS RECORD POOLS WIN

The Football League results last Saturday brought joy to one resident of Little Bogbury . . . . . . . . . .

***

Bogbury Gazette, 28 August 1959

Little Bogbury celebrated its annual village fete last Saturday afternoon. This ever popular event was held in the grounds of Bogbury Manor by kind permission of the new owners, Mr & Mrs Frederick Emmet. The fete was opened by the renowned television personality, Lady Isobel Barnett.

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