I have just had one of those weekends that was so perfectly British it got border line ridiculous – so I felt I had to make a note of it. A village fete in the blazing heat, warm pimms, cream teas and a British tennis victory by a Scot.
Sitting at our village fete running my mothers stall I experienced village life in all its brilliant rivalry and gossip. There was that wonderful competitive eyeing up of each others stalls as we wandered around checking out each others wares and fares. A very firm farmers wife on the microphone, counted down the opening of the fete, to let the hordes flood in. It kicked off with the village school recorder ensemble conducted by the same teacher I had when I was there. There were Morris dancers, a whole village hall dedicated to a cake sale and a Pimms tent.
We didn’t sell anything, which the man in charge of co-ordinating pitches seemed to enjoy ” Oh well you didn’t sell anything last year either” – Cheers! Rather than spending money on our pricey aloe vera health products, villagers sensibly preferred to spend money on the usual tombola, silent auction ( feat. a lift to heathrow and back and some compost bins) , splat the rat and trying to balance a coin on lemon floating in a bowl of water. This year the fete seemed to have raised to new heights of ingenuity with a game called ‘Donkey Plop’, where you had to guess which square the two donkeys might poo in – and for an extra 50p you could give them a carrot or apple to help them on their way. Incidentally the donkeys won the hat competition and a grown-up was so adamant on winning the dog sitting competition she wouldn’t let one of the children win. Tug of war was an easy victory by the pub team with a giant of a man who just sat on his end of the rope. And I had to hide from people I used to play kiss chase with in that very field or talk politely to their mothers.
And to put the icing on a quintessentially British weekend, the following day we had one eye on the hay bales being made in the field in front of home and one eye on the historical Wimbledon victory while enjoying cream teas, with strawberries picked fresh from the garden. Beaut 🙂 Smugbrit
I am very lucky to live just off the vibrant Gloucester Road in Bristol, full of independent shops that appear to be thriving rather than gradually shutting up shop. If I follow this street right out of Bristol I’d be on route to the antithesis of independent business – Cribbs Causeway shopping mall that is of galactic proportions – a terrifying glimpse of the future – Walle style mass consumer convenience where even a robot has more character. Follow the road the other way into the heart of Bristol and I’d end up at Cabots Circus where the usual household brand names assault the senses.
I haven’t come across a cobbler or a blacksmith mind but nearly everything else you’d need exists along this street.
Fitting in with an Independence Day overseas I want to tip my figurative hat to any and all individual artisans and small businesses who continue to work by their independent values and refuse to capitalise on the gross mentality that permeates big business.
It was along this street that I stopped outside a small exhibit by a local artist called Robbie Sparks who has shared these facts with me that may have put just a little too much perspective on things. And in appreciation of those daring to challenge the status quo, make their mark, unafraid of independent thought, I thought I’d share. Also these might be of interest and encouraging to the hesitant people like myself that feel stuck between doing work simply to get by or doing more meaningful work and what that might actually entail if you really listen to your heart
- You can see less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum and hear less than 1% of the acoustic spectrum
- We are travelling at 220km/second across the galaxy
- 90% of the cells in your body carry their own microbial DNA and are not “you”
- The atoms in your body are 99.999999% empty space and none of them are the ones you are born with
- According to Quantum physics one thing can be in two places at the same time
So nothing is quite as it seems – tiddlypom! Making your own authentic way as gracefully as possible through life is probably the best way forward from here – refrain from intellectualising and keep it simple – if you can’t do what you love for a living at the very least make time for it – honour it.