A carnival of fond memories

CARNIVAL DAY: Huge amounts of freshly baked fancies were washed down with gallons of tea.

EACH year as Mother Nature turns up the heat and we perspire into July, I am reminded of past English summer days and in particular the annual flower show and carnival in our Suffolk village.
We shake our heads and make jokes about the unreliable British weather, but for the most part my memories of this much anticipated local event are of sultry Saturdays, or at the very least pleasantly warm days, with only the occasional hint of rain.  
Rarely, it seems, was the day ruined by a downpour or the need to wrap up warm against unseasonal elements.  
Or perhaps it is just the brain selecting good memories from the not so good, and shunting less successful occasions to the back alleys of the mind, because my boyhood memories of summer school holidays spent in glorious Devon, or exploring the countryside on our bikes and fishing the local River Kennet, are also of long hot days and balmy nights.
In any event whatever the weather, the Carnival Day beer marquee always pulled in more than its fair share of custom, as did the Women’s Institute hall where huge amounts of freshly baked cakes and fancies, and mouth watering savoury delights were washed down with gallons of tea.
The ladies of our WI were nothing like those who are often caricatured in print – all sun hats and varicose veins, and knitting willy warmers to the strains of Jerusalem played on an out of tune piano – but covered a wide age range and were a giggling, well drilled team ablaze in their summer frocks and flowery blouses; a gaggle of brightly coloured females with impressive buns . . . and pies.  
In maligning the unreliable summer weather of the Mother Country, we tend to forget that the beautiful English countryside would not be what it is if the UK experienced Spanish type summers and dry, warm winters.  
The oft quoted comment that England would be the perfect country if we were able to access the Mediterranean climate is therefore paradoxical nonsense.  
With the choice of a sweltering arid landscape, or the lush green countryside that so epitomises our country – I know which I prefer.


  1. You are right about summer weather in our younger days Colin, particularly school days. Looking back, from the last day of our summer term at good old Ashmead when we had just finished singing the school song…”Let’s Sing of Our School days at Ashmead” and some creep proposed 3 cheers for the Headmaster and staff, the sun came out and shone for the whole of the 6 week break. Or does it just seem that way because of an age thing……?!


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