Monday, June 10, 2013


The fair's arrived. Out here it's called a fête. Rolled into town last week for a three-day stint, starting last Saturday. Didn't go down there on that soirée but, despite the rain, I imagine crowds of people did. There were probably fireworks and a rockin' party atmosphere with everyone having a jolly time. Instead, I popped down there last night at around eight-ish. Discovered that Sunday evening is not the time to visit a fair. The place was dead, with just a handful of people out and about. Maybe it busied up later on but I didn't hang around to find out. Took a few snaps then headed back home and slung another log on the fire. Well into June, almost at the longest day, grey and damp outside and I'm still chucking logs in the stove! Will this rubbishy winter ever end? (Click pics to enlarge.)

Seeing the gleeful kids wandering around this fair reminded me of when the fair used to roll into Headley in Hampshire when I were a lad. Used to set up on the village green next to the Holme School - a primary school that my sister and I attended back in the mid-'Fiftes. One of my many memories of this school is sitting at a desk behind Pauline Brown and being fascinated by tiny maggots creeping about her hair. Lice I suppose. Her dad was a big black man (not many around in those days, especially out in the country) and I remember he used to earn a few bob whenever the fair visited by being 'the man' in the boxing tent. Here he'd take on anyone daft enough to step into the ring. If you lasted a single round round (about three minutes), you probably won a goldfish or a cuddly toy. I don't imagine anyone lasted more than a minute, but maybe a soldier or two did from the local army base at Bordon. Shame you don't get boxing tents at fairs any more, they were great fun. Same with coconut shys, with the coconuts glued into their cups. And music blaring out from tinny Tannoys playing scratchy records by Elvis, Buddy Holly, Paul Anka, Tommy Steele, Bill Haley and Lonnie Donegan. Ah, gay days.

Scoured the internet and found a photo of the school taken at around this time. Also found an aerial view of part of Headley which shows where we used to live (big house, bottom left, owned by the army).

Had an acre of land, mostly behind and to the right of the house. Looks like it's now been sold off and built on. There used to be walnut tree there and a mini forest of tall bamboos. All gone now. And a meat wagon used to visit the village once a week (well before the advent of frozen foods). I remember it sold horse meat. Thought nothing of it back then, but nowadays it seems shocking and possibly dangerous due to the druggy stuff given to horses. It also sold chicken and other forms of poultry (unplucked of course) which were hung on hooks hanging from the wagon's ceiling (exposed meat wouldn't be allowed nowadays thanks to Health and Safety - but still exists out here in France). I remember too gutted rabbits. Talking of which, I'm rabbiting so I'll stop.