Is there honey still for tea?


I have been to a cash machine for the first time in over two years. All this time I have not usually needed actual cash, on the rare occasions it was needed I used money left over from the beginning of 2020.

I am still being very careful about COVID. It seems to be closing in and now my friends are reporting the infection as well as nephews and nieces. I drove into the supermarket car park unfamiliar with the protocol for paying now. Then I put my mask on and gingerly went to their outside cash machine. I suddenly wondered if my card would still work. Worst of all I could not be sure I remembered my PIN number correctly. All went well and I eventually drove away still not knowing whether I would have a Parking Eye bill, but I had my cash.

Then off we went to a village fete, rather like the ones I used to go to as a child. There were races for children, but no egg and spoon race. That was always my favourite, as although I was not a good runner, I was careful and steady. So long as you only walked quickly and kept your eye on the egg you could win. I never wavered until one year a lad stuck his egg on the spoon with chewing gum and he won instead of me.

This time, I was not young enough (or able enough) to run races but could enjoy having a relaxing time in the sunshine, watching the central ‘arena’, sitting on straw bales. We swapped stories with complete strangers.

Someone knew the man who had lived in our house before us. This man was very clever at maths and had worked at Bletchley. One person told of how he had to milk the cows before walking to school three miles away. A woman said that as a little girl she was evacuated from London to Liverpool, but that night the bombs began reigning down there too. The next day she was sent back to London! It seems a lifetime ago.

There were competition prizes for entries from farmers, children and all the ages and interests in between. There was a myriad of stalls to take my cash. Runners ran races, then came the talented dogs. There was a singing dog that started when his owner sang (in a less tuneful way). It was the only entry until a dancing dog arrived on the scene to balance on his hind legs.

We bought a jar of sweet local honey to remind us of what a community of workers can do on a sunny summer’s day.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)


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