Believe it or not, there is a man standing in this picture. It may look like a harmless artistic photograph of a grassy bank with a metal pipe sticking out of it but if you look….really closely…you’ll see….there is a man dressed as a World War II German soldier. Can you see him now?
This was taken in 2011 when Zoe and I visited the Great Central Railway’s World War 2 Weekend which, until this year, has happened annually. Volunteers, reenactors and enthusiasts recreate the Second World War at the stations along the heritage line there. Each station dressed as different stages – Evacuation Britain, Allied Camp at Normandy, Battle ground and Occupied France. Its such an educational, enjoyable and fun visual experience and comes wholly recommended.
When we were allowed outside, at this time of the year county shows and festivals would be popping up all over the UK ,indeed, some of these fairs have been going for many years others, like Hollowell, relatively less. Prior to my visit the the Honley show in 2007 I had only really been to the St Helens Show, the Liverpool Show and the Woolton Show all of which kind of died out in the eighties and nineties having become more trade and commercially orientated than their beginnings.
Back then, being a social media content maker and wandering round filming with your phone out wasn’t as common place as it is now and, of course, back then there were fewer platforms to publish your output. Mine was (and to some extent still is) Livejournal. However, these limitations didnt stop me and so, I walked around the show taking all manner of pictures including this one, which became the main header image for a project I worked on at University some time later.
I also noted how few of the stall owners seemed to have websites to promote their wares. Being a big local food enthusiast I was keen to try and help promote the businesses through my Muckybadger website and dreamed about publishing my own local food enthusiast magazine, tv and radio show and website. Then life and mortgages got in the way and other people got there before me…..
Thirteen years later, many of the businesses I saw at the Honely Show have gone, though some, including Crusy Pies are still going (indeed I saw them at Hollowell last year!). It also brings home how many small businesses rely on shows and festivals for their income and I am concerned about how many will survive this years’ blanket show ban. However, it is refreshing to see that, virus quarantine aside, county and country shows are still popular and hopefully, when we are allowed outside once more, many of the annual shows will return.
So we got to Wakefield on Friday, stayed the night and played with little Merrie May (or Bonnie as she is known o_0 dont ask) Then Saturday morning we set off up the A1 to the lovely village (or really tiny town) of Masham.
Masham has not one, but two brewerys (Blacksheep & Theakstons) , a lovely river running through it (the River Ure), a church, a cricket pitch and several music festivals a year. This weekend was billed as the Blacksheep Music Festival which was mainly folk based but also had Morris men and rappers (didnt see any sword dancers).
Once we had arrived, greeted Becky, Jim, Becky’s dad, Rachael, Beckys sister and brother Sarah and Ricky and a few new faces, navigated the minefield of cow pats and erected our “stand up inside” tent, we sat down for a brief lunch and beer before setting off to the Bruce Arms to watch a troupe of rappers with their sticks dance merrily to contemporary music while supping fine ale. We then made our way to the town/village hall where the band Waking the Witch did their bit then on to the White Bear where the heat forced us to sit in the cool interior and listen to the Hall Brothers through the window.
We then tootled back to camp in the searing heat, had a crazy barbeque and a few tinnies then set back into town for an evening in the Blacksheep Brewery and the god awful racket that was Stanley Accrington (if anyone says hes good, theyre telling big huge Everest size porkies) and the lovely Flossie Malavialle. More beer was imbibed then we undertook a futile quest for chips resulting in us returning to the camp for bacon sandwiches.
Then the real fun began. Jim and Beckys dad got out their guitar and we started a good old sing along to be joined by a fair few other campers with their instruments. angelhands and I snook off to bed at about 1am but the campside fun went on until the early hours of the morning. As we said often, “In preparation for the annual Anglesey sojourn in 5 weeks time”
Sunday was just too hot. We broke camp and returned to Wakefield for lunch but the heat and lack of sleep got the better of me so I ended up having a “siesta”. Back on the road at 3pm and just as we got to the highest point on the M62, the heavens decided to open and we ended up floating down the other side of the Pennines. At home I tucked into a good old chippy dinner in front of the last episode of Dr Who, a well deserved shower followed. Then a bowl of popcorn and Sarah Michelle Gellar inThe Grudge which was an interesting slant on the original Japanese version Ju-On. Good none the less.