The Storybook Tree
The opening act
A Cute Twirler!!!!
“Wellie Wanging” at its best… note the Wellie at the top of the photo, wanging its way toward me!!!
After a fairly slow start to the morning, we hopped on a bus and headed to the “Headington Festival”, held in the small town of Headington which is just East of Oxford. Diane had seen a listing for this fair in some local guide of things to do and we decided that it sounded like a fun afternoon.
The fair opened at 1:00, however the over-anxious American’s arrived about 30 minutes early. We had a wonderful chat with the two ladies at the front gate who told us that the proceeds from the day went to support one of the local hospitals. She also pointed out various events that we must not miss, including “Wellie Wanging”….more about that later!!
There was a huge sculpture in the middle of the park called the “Storybook Tree”. It had various creatures from J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis’ work, including Smaug (the dragon from “The Hobbit”), Aslan (From “Chronicals of Nargia”), and the Horse from (“The Horse and His Boy”). It was very impressive.
The fair was officially begun with a brass band who played for about 30 minutes. This was followed by story-telling, and a fancy-dress (costume) parade and contest. We had a great time looking at the kids dressed as nurses, Mary Poppins, a Shepherd (holding a toy sheep and a toy dog on a leash, and carrying a stick that he proceeded to use to hit, inadvertently, the other kids), an Indian Princess, several Fairy Princesses and a Rose Bush (I am NOT kidding).
There were approximately 25 stalls set up with most of these being charities or non-profit groups. Several had craft booths, some had “jumble sales” (yard sales), and others had “Tombolo”. It is a form of gambling where prizes have a certain number on them and you pay your 20 pence to dip into a huge vat of numbers and pull one out. If your number matches one of the items then you get to keep that item. I meant to try this, but forgot to go back to it…..I probably would have won a birdcage or some other large thing that I couldn’t have brought back!!!
There were tons of activities for kids, with a couple of hands-on science areas and games such as beanbag toss. There was one area named “Teapot Tinies” and had games, songs and stories for the under 4’s. As I mentioned earlier, there was “Wellie Wanging” which Michael HAD to try. A “Wellie” is a wellington boot and “Wanging” is throwing. You had to throw the boot as far as you could and the top winners at the end of the day won a prize. Michael’s first throw was overhand and it didn’t go very far. He then switched to an underhand throw and it went a bit further. He tried a side-arm throw for the final try and it went straight at ME as I was standing outside of the course taking photos. We all had a laugh that this was the longest throw, although not inside the game!!!
The last event that we watched was the “Strawberry Fayre Majorettes and Cheerleaders”. They were very good, but we were most enamored by two very small girls who kept up amazingly well!!
They had a small carnival area with bumper cars (3 pounds – $6 per ride), a Carousel (Merry-Go-Round) and other typical carnival fare. We ate hot dogs with fried onions and had soft ice cream for desert. The ice cream is wonderful and creamy and the consistence is a cross between whipped cream and ice cream.
We returned to the house and got ready to go to Chapel and then Michael and I went to High Table again. The menu was wonderful and consisted of Pate for appetizer, Trout with Caper and Lemon sauce for the fish course, Sliced Beef with new potatoes, asparagus and zucchini for the man course and Apple Crumble with Clotted Cream for desert. The Clotted Cream was a very different consistency from the first that we had and I was told that this was “Devonshire” Clotted Cream and it was always thicker….almost a margarine consistency. As usual, we met some very nice people and had a wonderful night.