It was what my favourite writer calls a lazy wind: it can’t be bothered going round you so it goes straight through you instead. From the north. I’ve been Town Crier for Northleach since 2004 (and grew up in Cambridge during the 1960s with no central heating) so I know how to wrap up warm. It’s not all laid-down wine gums under that fancy grey coat, you know!
But young Callum, my new Junior Town Crier accomplice, was looking shivery in my sleeveless red velvet long waistcoat. He was wearing a white school shirt, as instructed, but it was short sleeved. Not that he said a word of complaint. I just noticed his arms turning blue!
All dramatically different from Charter Fair Day last June, when Callum was recruited and I ditched my formal gear in favour of a Caribbean style loose tunic, in dayglow yellow – for sheer fear of fainting in the heat! But I still wore the black tricorne. Mind you, evidence suggests this is not a look to repeat in normal conditions...
Last Sunday 26 September, we were on duty for the first and hopefully annual Northleach School Fete. Under lowering skies and a dreadful forecast.
The cold couldn’t dent Callum’s volume, however. He has a clear voice and plenty of enthusiasm (and looks good in a pirate hat). We did a Shout together in the Market Square at 2pm to pull in the punters. Plenty of returnees from the morning’s NSPCC Car Boot Sale at Lodge Park NT. Then we opened the Fete at 2.30pm. Callum was word perfect. (Thanks to mum Terri for the mini bell, too!)
All the fun of the fete was happening right across Northleach’s King George V Sports Field. The aforementioned breeze might have assisted my astonishing effort at the Welly Wanging alley; either that or thinking about my unfinished tax return helped me hurl the wellyboot with unprecedented oomph. Stomping about the field, coat billowing, I felt as if I were 10 years old again – but this time I was allowed to do what I wanted! So I bought an armful of books, fished for plastic ducks, slurped tea and screamed encouragement at the hunky lads taking part in the Tug of War heats.
Ah, yes… A slight technical hitch… Apparently my wild bell dinging in joyous support of their manly efforts managed to put off one team so badly that they lost their bout. They thought the bell ringing meant they’d won. And they stopped pulling – only to be yanked several yards down the field to startled defeat. Gentlemen, I apologise. In head hanging mortification. And I promise I will never, ever ding my bell near a Tug of War team ever again.