Sounds good to me?

Yes, that's what I said last week, and this week; 'the proof of the pudding was in  the eating'. (That's a bit of a proverb, in English.) We ended up back at Hexham on Saturday the 27th, especially to visit the 'Eating Festival'.

We came towards the town centre from the bottom end, where the local 'bus garage used to be, and managed to get the last parking space in the car park opposite the old Tannery and near the Public Baths. My legs haven't been too good, so I was thankful that I wouldn't have too far walk. We were up the street and next to our favourite 'Ashbourne House' in  no time, among musicians who were playing and singing some dreadful (Lennon sounding) pop song! Just on the (closed) road there, was a stall selling 'Chai and Tiffen', but we were too eager to get inside the shop to stop and try some.

On opening the door, I was surprised to find a very large camera lens about a foot from my face and pointing straight at me! It was a big movie camera as well, and wielded by a young girl who didn't look strong enough to pick it up, never mind control it. We found that we were sharing our favourite junk shop with one of the 'experts' whom I've seen on the telly on one of those antiques programmes, where members of the public contend with each other with the 'expert's' help. With it being the day of the Spring Fair and Eating Festival, the town was very busy, and the shop had far too many people in it for safety. Not 'Elf-n-Safety' you understand, it's just that there's very little space between the fragile stock of glass, china and other breakable goodies etc on the main floor to start with, never mind having a camera crew battling for space too!

We came across a lovely wooden rocking duck, which I immediately envisaged little Coco sitting in. It wasn't badly priced, either, but Freda was frightened that he might fall out of it; end of story! Actually, there were a fair number of bits and pieces which we would have not had a second thought about carrying home in years gone by. But times change, as do priorities and space to display such delectable 'treasures', so we left empty-handed.

The Iranian man's lovely shop, over the road, had the usual "Back in 10 minutes" sign in the door, we haven't seen it open since we bought the table cloths (made in Esfahan) from him about 6 or 7 years ago! We slowly made our way up to the Market Place, where we came across our first dancers of the day:

I didn't know how long the dance would last, so stopped filming where I did, only to find that it finished about 10 seconds later! Here's the final scene;

These were men from 'Hexham Morris'; more of them later.  

This was outside the Abbey, and just a little farther on is the entrance to the park, where it was ALL happening! Another music group were just inside the gates, but they were busy tuning-up and things, so we just passed on to the tent village where every sort of craft imaginable was either for sale or on show. (A jar of lovely home-made lemon curd found its way into Freda's bag.) Farther on, we came across what was passing for a 'Classic Car' display, all we could see at first was a line of Minis!

Never  mind, we soon left the 'Minilite' (non-standard) alloy-wheeled BMC products behind, as we came across a few more interesting marques:

Not that the '71 MGB was all that interesting, but the beautiful Lagonda standing next to it was a cracker! As were the '64 Rover and the memory rekindling Ford Thames pick-up. Strangely (or so I thought) there were two old (think the Maigret TV series of the sixties) Citroens, and a really old (possibly 'vintage') Renault, plus a pristine LHD Yankee Model "T" Ford. Obviously, I didn't bother taking pictures of these foreign interlopers!

Next were the food tents!!!! We made a bee-line for the "HOGROAST" (another 'obviously' I dare say!):

I would apologise for the inclusion of this part to my Muslim friends, but they've never had the opportunity to taste this delicacy in a big soft bap (bread bun) with lashings of apple sauce and a generous spread of sage and onion stuffing; oh, what a joy, and oh, what they're missing!!!!

When I arose from the table to find a bin for the wrappings, I heard someone call my name. "Who could possibly be here who knew me?" I thought. I could hardly  believe my eyes when they beheld a large, fully-grown, man who had the face of a twelve year old boy who I used to take to school when I had mini-buses! Of course that was a few years ago.

Thomas Foden; Site Security Man (and general 'bouncer'!) I was delighted to see him, but I was also shocked in equal measure to find out that he was now 39! (And a bouncer for 20 years!) It also came as quite a surprise that he should have recognised me, with my white hair and everything, after some 27 years or so. (Then again, I do realise that I've managed to keep most of my youthful good looks, as those of you who know me personally will no doubt testify!) I was very encouraged to think that I'd made enough of an impression upon that young lad all those years ago, that he should not only remember me, but want to make himself known to me and renew our acquaintance as well.
The next musical group we came across was the Hexham Town Band. What a mix of different instruments! No brass to see or hear, but guitars, ukuleles, a banjo, fiddles galore; melodeons and a piano accordion and at least one '48 key' English concertina (hidden away at the back), a saxophone and a flute:

The '48 key English concertina, which looks (from this angle) to be exactly the same as mine!

The players seemed to be a rather eclectic bunch as well; from hippies to housewives, and pot-smokers to professors! Actually, there were a goodly numbers of renegade hippies 'floating' about. (Peace and Love, man!) I was, on more than one occasion, almost tempted to laugh out loud! I always feel that it's so sad to come across people who refuse to grow up. Of course we all hanker after the times before we became responsible people with jobs and family to consider; but if we all decide to 'drop out', Dear Reader, then who will provide us with the things we all need on a daily basis?

Never mind all that, this isn't a political blog!!!!!!!!!!!!

Before too long here came the Hexham Morris again:

Sorry about the quality, but as you know I'm not the best when it comes to technology! However, I've found the size settings for the video bit on the camera, so just filmed the original while playing it on the lap-top; simple!

I love to watch stick dancing, in either of my home countries. Of course they're very different; in Luxor it's more commonly known as stick fighting, I suppose that the Sayidis might consider dancing to be a rather effeminate pass-time! Nevertheless, they're both great to watch, and, I should imagine, great to participate in! (I'd love to see a Morris crew turn up at the stick dancing at Luxor's moulid! Wouldn't it be great?) 

We'd seen most of what we really wanted to and, as it had turned quite chilly, we started to make our way down through the park towards where the car was parked. As we neared the bowling green, we could see that the old guys were setting things up for a match, and it must have been a big one, as all the green was to be utilised. Just then, the sun came out from behind the clouds, and I thought that it would be  nice to get a few minutes of the  bowling on camera, just for you, Dear Reader. I got a couple of decent shots of the green while we waited:

OK, the other one wasn't very good, so I've spared you having to look at it! In the event, we sat for about 20 minutes (till the sun again disappeared behind the gathering clouds, and it turned cold again) before realising that the match would probably start at 2 o'clock, which was 4 minutes after our 3 hour parking ticket expired. So we decided to push off, rather than win a parking fine! 

While we wondered around, I had just had to have a cup of tea (as you might have guessed) and this time we tried a larger cafe on the main through-road. (I cannot now remember the name.) I had a large piece of warmed ginger cake with my cuppa, and Freda tried their lemon sponge sandwich cake, I think I'm safe to say that we'd both have them again! The biggest drawback, other than the size of the place, was the very steep angle of the stairs which led to the toilets; looking down from the top, it made me dizzy! 

All in all, another example of what a good 'day out', Hexham can be, well done!

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