So, it all started: the view from outside my front door on Friday night at about 8pm... The Bug was unimpressed. [Quick Amelia update: vet was very pleased on Saturday morning, and she can now go out, which she's loving. I loved it slightly less yesterday afternoon when she came in, leapt up onto the table and plonked her wet self down on my inkjet-printed, rather complicated, knitting pattern...]
I am a veteran. I know this is the Thomas the Tank Engine Train, as ever; while I'd rather the commercial stalls were elsewhere on the Green because of the canned music, my nephew is a Thomas fanatic so these days, I think of him while they're unpacking it...
The next morning at 9:30am when I started over to find the stall I was volunteering on, the Es were in evidence. The English Country Gardenists were next to the school's Ecowarriors
We were unthemed, sadly; but as our main organiser was told to rest up about 10 days beforehand, getting a stand together was OK in and of itself...
Now. Nothing says "Feast" like "construction of temporary bridge". At least, it doesn't in our village. We have enough 39 Engineer Regiment at home, after Iraq and Afghanistan, to do this sort of thing. Here they are delivering the equipment.
He wasn't armed or anything, and I'd have loved to have seen the people who dared to steal several tons of military equipment in front of a thousand or so people including large numbers of Army personnel, but there was probably some sort of Elf and Safety ruling which meant that if someone tried to make off with the odd huge chunk of steel and dropped it on his/her foot... (I'm actually a big fan of people not being killed at work, having been a H&S rep in my previous job and a fire marshal in this one, but the risk assessment form does seem to have gone over the top this year!)
I don't have pictures of the bridge construction, or the children running up and down and all around it afterwards; I was helping to pack our stuff away at the time. But I've seen it all done once before, and I saw bits of it this time; and my God, they're good. I realised they're trained for it, and they're meant to be some of the best in the world; but about a dozen of them take all that stuff and make a working bridge which will carry a tank in almost exactly 10 minutes flat. It's astonishing.
This year, there were also Interesting Animals. (Not saying that the Dog Obedience in previous years was dull... well, yes, I am.) The library stand was right next to a little cage of meerkats. A couple of times, stroking of meerkats happened.
Snakes were also present. I couldn't quite believe the colour (and size) of this one. (Yes, it is real.)
Dragging us back into the Usual, Waterbeach Brass played, and I knitted... it was lovely. Lots of people commented on the knitting. I should have had a little placard for WWKIPD, but I didn't.
Then there was the parade... This year, instead of the Arco Iris Samba Band, we had a Cadets band - pipe and drum band. The uniforms were certainly impressive. There was a short embarrassing pause as this lot, followed by most of the children in the village, confronted the number 9 bus to March at the corner. (The number 9 bus lost.)
There were Rangers, being an Everest expedition. (I hope that if they ever do make the trip, someone points out that shorts might not be quite the thing, but some of them had an impressive number of badges.)
There were Explorers.
The big ones had plastic pith helmets. The little ones had fabulous wild animal costumes. They did their best not to skid on the huge slough of detergent "snow" left by the Everesters while they were standing in one place during the Great Bus Confrontation of 2011.
I love the way some people go for complete historical accuracy, and some go for 'I'm sure I have a bridesmaid's dress somewhere'... that's the spirit!
And, just because NO village procession around Cambridge is complete without a samba band - the Arco Iris conductor had evidently been working with the school...
The weather, as you can see from these, was fine. Not as warm as it might have been, but the forecast had been astonishingly horrible; and in the end, the rain didn't fall until Sunday, which was dreadful; but as we're officially in drought, I probably shouldn't mind getting a little bit soaked going to a friend's for dinner last night...
I love the Feast. Cottenham/Rampton are having a Big Family Festival next month, with fanciness including Bob Flowerdew; but we're not so shabby; and I'm moved to tears by the parade every year because so many people put so much effort into it...