My fête is sealed (not a spelling mistake)

The brilliant but slightly bonkers village fête, and how a local celebrity got it very wrong.


Balcombe Village Fete 2017

I was told by a celebrity-who-shall-remain-nameless-but-lives-nearby that they visited our village fête two years ago and that it was “sad and shabby …not fulfilling its potential”. (She actually said more unkind things than that, but I don’t feel there is anything to be gained in repeating them.)

Having lent a peripheral hand at this same “disastrous” event for two years now,  I can safely concur that the nameless celebrity may well be famous, stylish, lauded even, but she is also so very far from correct on this matter.

Sure, it isn’t all Cath Kidston gingham and Liberty of London prints (which are both things I love, by the way) – it isn’t smart, it isn’t chi-chi, and – truthfully – in parts it is a bit rough around the edges. But that is what makes it so wonderfully brilliant, so rural, so rustic, so bonkers, so British.

The fête as a notion is hilarious  – the tombola, the hounds, the ponies, the tug-of-war, the terrier racing, the dog show, the fiercely-fought floral competitions and cake contests. And if you’re at our fête, there’s a brilliant bar and a live band, run by another charitable group, the Christmas Tree Society, which raises funds for local people through a medium most enjoy – alcohol!

It is more Vicar of Dibley than All Saints, far more Farmer Wants a Wife than Footballers’ Wives – and I personally much prefer it that way – and so, I would proffer, does the village.

But more importantly, it is also the result of a lot of hard work from a lot of very well-meaning and kind people, who care very much about raising money for the village, and for the people who live in it. And what, I want to know, is so very wrong with that?

They may be stuck in their ways, and those ways might in some cases be fairly eccentric, but that is the most unkind thing I can bring myself to say, because as anyone who is involved in a local event such as this knows, it is an awful lot of hard work.

It takes a lot of planning, a lot of equipment, a lot of funds, a lot of goodwill, and a lot of people’s time, which they willingly give for free. To them I say thank you, on behalf of the whole village, because these events simply couldn’t run without these people, and for that I happen to think they are brilliant.

Balcombe Fete 2016

As an aside…
What is it that makes people be mean? BTW this is not me crying into my pillow and cursing the world in the manner of a surly teen who has just realised that life isn’t always that fair …but it is me having encountered a few mean people in a short space of time, and you really have got to wonder what motivates them.

Obviously it goes without saying that I am also mean sometimes, although in my case it’s more thoughtless actually. I can be very thoughtless, and plough into a conversation/situation without thinking and then regret what I have said or done.
That happens.

But we all are a little mean sometimes …all except my very good friend Melanie, in fact. I have known her nearly all my life and I have never once known her to be mean …not once. She’s like an angel walking among us. Always smiling, always kind. I often think I should take a leaf out of her book and be nicer to everyone, but alas I am not an angel and I get cross and grumpy and irrational, just like everyone else that isn’t Melanie. At least I have her in close proximity to me so that I have something to aspire to. I won’t ever be like her, but I am happy to continue to try …up to a point.

(That’s her right there, pictured below. She doesn’t go around dressed as an angel btw, that was her wedding day …it’s a happy coincidence that her outfit matches my blog. Although if I asked her to dress as an angel for my blog she probably would …because that’s just how nice she is.)

Melanie 2



On the bounce

When you reach your thirties, it is probably time to admit that you shouldn’t bounce on trampolines anymore. I say this because I nearly ended up in a bucket of dog poo yesterday, I kid you not.

Trampoline blog


Tigger I am not. The wonderful thing about Tiggers, is he’s the only one. A.A. Milne’s subtext was clearly don’t try and be Tigger – don’t try and bounce when it is not in your nature to do so.

I wasn’t even forced, I did it by choice – even though I have seen the ten million videos on You’ve Been Framed that demonstrate with undeniable clarity that trampolines are in fact death traps.

I was lured in by two small people, who are both nimble, vivacious and streamlined. …although when I say lured, I very much doubt they foresaw the near-disastrous consequences of their actions. I should have stuck to hide and seek (which we did also play later and I much preferred it).

(NB. That’s not me being PC about two people with dwarfism when I say small people, for they are of an age where they can accurately be described as children as opposed to teenagers, and ergo are genuinely small.)

As a precursor I should also say that I had consumed two glasses of prosecco before making the wise decision to jump up and down like the youthful sprite that I am not. The moral of the story is don’t drink and bounce. In fact don’t bounce at all.

Anyway the inevitable happened… I jumped, they jumped. We were trying to time our bouncing to co-ordinate with each other, as you do, but didn’t quite manage it – they bounced in tandem, I bounced rather higher in the air than I intended, it happened again… and again… and then I bounced straight over backwards off the tramp-of-death and into a heap on the grass below, with an inexplicable high pitched shriek of “oh cripes!”

Who says cripes these days? It’s a bit Enid Blyton… In my defence I think I was trying not to swear.

I emerged relatively unscathed, but it was only when finding my feet and scrambling straight back up on to the tramp-of-death (to save face and avoid looking like a wuss in front of the children, heaven forbid), that one of the aforementioned lithe sprites pointed out that I had almost landed in the bucket of dog poo, where all the dog poo in the garden is gathered, presumably before being disposed of elsewhere.

So, just for clarity, I would like to reiterate that I very nearly landed upside down in a bucket of dog poo yesterday.

Oh and also no-one managed to film it so we won’t even get £250 from You’ve Been Framed. But on the upside my ‘friend’ and mother to the sprites did manage to take a photo (whilst chuckling with unadulterated glee) mere moments before my (quite literal) fall from grace …the shame.