Monday, October 08, 2007

The village fete

An English village fete must be experienced. There is a pleasant home-made feel that is absent from the professional fun fairs that occupy neighbourhood greens with their rides covered in airbrush celebrity faces and blaring Radio 1 pop songs. Village fetes, like the fun fairs, have game booths. There are booths where for 50p you can throw balls to try and break charity shop china. Your reward for success? Throwing balls at and breaking cheap china is its own reward. What do you want for 50p? One of my favourite games is tombola. You buy a ticket and that ticket has a number and that number gets you a prize. The best prizes are always hooch. Usually you get a fish spatula. I have three. At this village fete, amongst the bric-a-brac sellers and charity tents, I found a tombola stand whose only prizes were alcohol. This ingenious loophole through the village green's drinks ban must be encouraged and supported. So, though steeply priced at a pound, I bought a ticket. The fish spatula equivalent in the booze tombola was export lager. The top prize was a bottle of port. I won a pint of Guinness and it went well with my hamburger made by smoke choked sea cadets. I drank my beer, ate my burger and eavesdropped on a circle of cockney bikers who were regularly testing their luck with the booze tombola. One was talking about his run in with a group of hippies. Every time he said 'dirty hippy', I grinned. Something about the way a cockney says dirty hippy that will cheer you up whatever the mood. They began trading 'dirty hippy' anecdotes. By the time I left the fete, my cheer had risen to bleary-eyed joy but that might also have something to do with the four tombola tickets crumbled in my pocket.

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