A nice day out

16 May 2022

It’s that time of year when fetes and festivals are taking place. I was disappointed  that the 2- day Peace Festival in nearby Leamington Spa is cancelled this year. It  started in 1977, and for years I had a stand. It was lots of fun, attracting visitors worldwide. I had one of the best vegan meals ever, provided free  by the Hari Krishnas, made lovely friends with the Baha’i , and even had proposals of marriage from various stoners and oddballs.


Like any event, there would sometimes be trouble. One year a visitor lost his pet ferret.


I ran the Anti-Vivisection stand, but for some reason he was convinced I had stolen his pet  to experiment on it. Things got nasty and “security” (middle-aged hippies in yoga pants) had to ask him to leave. Thankfully the ferret was found safe.


Another big favourite was the Festival of Mind Body and Spirit held at Olympia for many years since 1977. I was on a couple of stands, but took time to enjoy all that was on offer. I jumped at the chance to attend a Tibetan tea ceremony. First we had  a performance of Tibetan throat singing, interesting but not something I ever want to repeat. Then came the ceremony. This involved giving the monk 50p or whatever, and he gave me a cup of builder’s tea. I was not exactly hoping for rancid Yak’s milk you understand, but I felt cheated.


My favourite year was when God took a stand .There was a T.V.monitor screen, and at regular intervals God put in an appearance. There was a lot of static so it was hard to get a good look at him, but he is indeed bearded with a very loud voice. Our friends across the pond can be reassured to know that God is  actually American. Fancy that.


I don’t do holidays any more, but I do like a nice day out. Our nearest city  holds an annual big festival. It’s not our favourite place, we’ve never attended. Last summer, desperate for a change, we decided to  go. The information online spoke of craft stalls, street food, real ale, music and jollity.


“Let’s get the bus” I said to Spock.He likes craft beers, and looked forward to sampling a few.I decided not to buy anything for supper, we could bring home some tasty treats, yummy pastries.


Months of lockdown had me  feeling drab. Out came the long peasant dress never worn, earrings that made my healed-up ears bleed, purple finger and toe nails, enough  musk and patchouli oil to make the house smell like a Chinese brothel. Not to be outdone, Spock got out his shirt bought in Brighton, black with  Chinese Cranes all over it. Fine feathers make fine birds I said, as we hopped on the bus.


We decided to eat first “to soak up the beer”. There was a fairground, but  we went in search of the festival. A young man gave a lovely rendition of Knocking on Heavens Door on one stage, so we planned to return. Looking around, we were clearly old enough to be the parents, not to say grand-parents, of all around. We heard comments about our clothes, which I decided not to take as sarcasm.


Plastic pizzas, hot dogs, slimy burgers, typical fairground food, but no ethnic street food. Then a sign “Authentic Himalayan Cooking”. Now you’re talking. Two big troughs. One chicken curry, the other chickpeas in watery sauce. We opted for the latter, which came with a slab of rice and half an iceberg lettuce. Is that a thing in Tibet?


“This looks vile” said Spock, as we tried to find our young singer.


He had gone, replaced by girls doing an aerobic dance routine, with flashing lasers. I am a migraine person, but I thought it might cheer Spock up, seeing young ladies in little gym skirts leaping around. He’s the sort of chap who blushes and smirks when we see lady joggers whose support bras are inadequate to the task. He was not impressed.


The Country Crafts was one poor wretch, dressed as a leprechaun for reasons best known to himself. He sat glumly whittling some canework. The children’s entertainment was a bunch of eejits dressed as pirates, running around shouting, scaring little kids and irritating  everyone else.


“Let’s find the beer tent” I said gamely. Eventually we found it, one beer on tap. Spock went over, came back “I’m not paying eight pounds for a pint of cat piss” They had some fizzy cider, but I felt quite bloated.


And so it was that we were back on the bus an hour after arriving. The journey back was tense, my guts gurgling  alarmingly. Back home we retired to our rooms. I hung up my finery, and slipped into some pj bottoms. Lying on the bed, depressed and flatulent, I could just about see my purple toenails peeping over the bulge of my swollen belly.


What a lousy day. We set ourselves a modest plan, and failed. Later Spock called out “Shall I get us something to eat, beans on toast maybe? “ He is a card.


Have you had a holiday or trip, and wished you had stayed at home? Do tell.


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