Well into our 7th year in God’s own county – a Yorkshire quote, not mine – and we took the plunge and handed over scores of dosh for our first entry into the annual Great Bickering Game Fair.
The fair is held just on the way out of town on a vast area of green land owned by the shaven-headed Simon - GB's own Branson. Simon tends to walk determinedly and moodily around town invariably followed by a couple of acolytes with antennae twitching. Up to now I had never said more than ‘Hello’, ‘Morning’ or ‘Hi’ to him but as we pulled up at the entrance ready to pay there was the taciturn Simon barking orders at his minions to get the cars moving towards the Car park in some order. Suddenly he came over and apologised to us for the chaos and his temper…and threw us a beamer of a SMILE. This is a man I could sit down with one day and have a happyccino and chew over life in Great Bickering.
The Fair was spread over 2 enormous fields encircled with perhaps 80 or so stalls and turned out to be a great success with our refugees for a number of reasons. We had never seen such a large number of dogs in one day…mainly labs, spaniels, greyhounds and border terriers but with a smattering of Jack Daniels, Scotties and lurchers – this is clearly the Dog Social of the Year around North Yorks. The early part of the day was spent walking 10 yards and then chatting with a dog, walking a further 15 yards and stroking a pair of collies and so it went on. The girls spent time on the obligatory bouncy castle/slide complex and then on the karting track but we as the cash flowed from my pocket we averred on the offer of a chopper ride around town (at £25 a head).
The food was typical Yorkshire fayre – roast anything with chips, baps and tea. The stalls were enticing….Cantabrian Rat Catcher, The Stolen Tool Company, The British Ferret League, Wetwang Cushions, Louise’s Dog Leads, Arnold Philpott, Daughter and Grandaughters etc etc. Of course, what the Fair is about is ostensibly animals and their co-relation with Yorkshire folk but for me what was most fascinating for me was people-watching. Market Day in Great Bickering is interesting enough – retired farmers standing around in huddles talking about…well, what retired farmers talk about - but the Fair threw ALL the varied locals into this arena. One thing that Yorkshire folk do not seem to have much of a care for and that is Fashion. Come on Stella McC or Donatella – open a Fashion House up here, pet.
The last event of any mention for us was the Derwent Hunt Beagles – 3
riders in pink galloping around the arena blowing their hunting horns with the beagles eagerly following and most of audience orgiastically watching….save for our quintet – unabashed, Mrs R, HS and ES were jeering them. With my quiet sensibility I just looked embarrassed, took pics and imagined they were a rogue branch of the Balham HuntSab.....time to leave and head back to our car stickered with ‘For Fox sake – Ban the Hunt’ - all 4 tyres were in tact so it was off home.
* I have been asked, quite correctly, by Mrs R to state that Mrs R did in no way on that day in that circumstance jeer the hunters, though the lovely Mrs may well have caterwalled on other days in other circumstances....but that's a topic for another day. The record is straight-er!