Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Charter Fair Times

There are but two days in the year when the small village of my upbringing experiences regular screaming, noise pollution and 90s dance hits on repeat.

Those two days being the second Monday and Tuesday of August, when the Charter Fair/Fayre/Fay-er (depending on who writes the ever-entertaining signage) comes to Great Horwood in accordance to a 400ish year-old contract.

It's one of the few traditions the village actually maintains, as such Ambridge-esque activities as Produce Shows and beating a puffed up pig bladder no longer remain. As a result, it always warms my cockles a little bit. You can imagine the excitement it causes by watching this, especially when the comment beneath is taken into consideration.

Our house is placed nicely within view of the goings-on, which essentially include a dodgems circuit, an increasingly decrepit hammer ride, which somebody claims to 'nearly fall out' of every year, a mini-carousel and a few games. Year in, year out, and always the same attractions. Needless to say, should there be some dramatic change in ride set-up serious angry mumblings would rumble around the village for at least three weeks.

I did try to photograph the aforementioned setup, but I really just couldn't capture the magic, and I was scared the chavs may attack after drunkenly awakening to the incessant camera flash. In short, it's a lot of flashing lights, a few similarly-luminous white tracksuits and a lot of villagers sat about surrounded by red brick and thatched houses dating back to, on average, 1742. No wonder my workmate said her American friend was bemused.

To the townies of local Buckingham, the notion of Great Horwood fair is a joke. Yet, it still drags in punters from the surrounding towns and villages, despite their ever-failing attempts to get served in the pub. Even if they were of drinking age, the onslaught of cleavage both front and rear and demands for WKDs in a place normally full of tweed and real ale requests is always going to cause suspicion.

Unlike in my younger years, from when I'd go home chuffed to bits with my fake Spice Girls poster, to when I'd stand around with my teenage mates eating candyfloss, (note the relative lack of difference in activities - it's a village, remember, everyone knows who your Mum is) I didn't try my luck on the dodgems tonight. It's a bit cringe worthy to start trying to beat the people you once babysat.

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