What a busy week, the royal baby was finally born and Baz and Shirl had a May Fair at the Short and Curlies.
It was Rafe who won the guess the name of the new princess competition that Barry and Harry held at the Spar, he managed to guess both Charlotte and Elizabeth. Of course Reg was straight in with his conspiracy theory, spreading the rumour that Rafe had inside knowledge because his cousin, twice removed, worked as a potato peeler in the kitchens at Balmoral. I find it hard to believe that a vegetable preparer in Scotland would be informed of the baby’s name before the queen but Reg loves a conspiracy theory. He still thinks the cake thrown in the bin in last year’s Bake Off was a set up by the Hairy Bikers, and I hadn’t even heard that rumour before he mentioned it.
The May fair was held on Monday and I hate to be so British about this but we were really lucky with the weather. The fair varied only little from the Easter Egg Hunt that Baz and Shirl had hosted last month. The face painter was the same, the food was just as brown, although they had made the effort with some spit roast chicken (also brown), and the participants were the usual suspects from the street.
Mrs Parks from Pavers Primary had asked if some of the children from the school could demonstrate the Maypole dance that they had been practising in PE and as Baz thought this might bring in more custom due to accompanying parents, he readily agreed. Well, you can imagine Reg’s reaction when he heard that this was described as physical exercise, I think he managed to start at least five sentences with the words, ‘Back in my day... ’
The Maypole dancers were not the only new people to attend the event, Catherine had brought along the new vicar from St Michael’s church, which is just around the corner. I hadn’t known up to this point that she was a church goer, but she clearly intended to get well acquainted with the new incumbent because she was stuck beside him like glue, especially when she introduced him to Mand, who for some unknown reason curtsied.
He was what Reg would describe as a new-fangled vicar, insisting on being called by his first name, Shane, and he had the most angelic looking dog with him which he called Joe.
Unbeknown to Baz, when Mrs Parks had asked to hold the Maypole dance at the fair she had assumed that he would be providing the pole, I did agree with him that this was above and beyond the call of duty, but he managed to rig up a make shift post which he stuck in a hole in the ground that was far too big. Tom volunteered to steady the pole while the children skipped around it, which was going to be a bit bizarre to say the least, but health and safety dictated that something needed to be done to avoid any accidents.
At 3pm Tom took his station beside the pole and the children stood holding their ribbons. Mrs Parks had reassured both Tom and Baz that the children were not vigorous dancers and that the ribbons would be wound round him for a few minutes and unwound again as the children reversed their dance, everyone was happy.
Shane had agreed that he would say a few words of congratulations on the completion of the dance, the tape recording was set to play and off they went. I was surprised that ‘Down to Margate’ was the tune of choice for an apparently genteel dance, but it is a jaunty number so perhaps it helped with the timing. The children did indeed wrap the ribbons around the pole and Tom, then as planned unwound them as they reversed the dance. Everyone was beaming as they finished and there was much clapping.
Shane seemed to be swept along with his first public event and finished the words of praise with a request for a rerun. Everyone seemed keen, even Tom, who had a slightly red face after the ribbon wrapping. Chas and Dave struck up once again and off the children went, as before perfectly winding the ribbon around Tom and the pole.
At this point, out of the corner of his eye Shane spotted that Joe had come loose from his lead and was making a bee line for the spit roast chicken, rather than run quietly after him he decided to shout at the top of his voice, ‘Joe, down boy, leave the chicken’.
Chas and Dave had no chance against this bellowing command and all the children stopped in their tracks, one by one dropping the ribbon and giving chase after both Shane and the dog.
There was such a cacophony of noise that it took a while before anyone noticed Tom, he was still managing to stand upright but was wrapped to the post by a swath of ribbon. As he was unwound by a distressed Mrs Parks and a worried Baz he managed to speak, ‘I thought I was a gonna’.
I couldn’t help but consider how interesting that death certificate would have been.