Melchbourne Feast Day: A Jolly Good Time at an English Village Fete

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Tug of war

In the UK, what most people would describe as summery weather is normally confined to two months of the year; June & July. The rest of the year is cold, wet and generally miserable.

Even during our short summer period, rain is not too far away. In fact, it is impossible for Britain to enjoy a long spell of sunshine without rain following shortly afterwards. Regardless, Brits still plan their parties, fetes & festivals during these two short months and hope for the best that the weather plays ball.

The tiny village of Melchbourne, Bedfordshire was unlucky. They planned their annual Feast Day Fete on a particularly soggy day. Thankfully, we Brits are used to standing in the rain and making the most of things, so we upped our umbrellas, did up our anoraks and carried on as usual.

Ahhh, British Summetime at Melchbourne Feast Day Fete
Ahhh, British Summetime
Wet hot dogs anyone?
Wet hot dogs anyone?

Trying to stay dry

Jade and I arrived just as the band started playing (from their rain-lashed gazebo). It was lunchtime and we were hungry, so we bolted towards the barbecue, ordered two hot dogs in rain-sodden buns (served with tasty rain-water soaked onions) and huddled in another tent with all the other fete-goers.

The rain made things a little chilly, so while we strained to hear the music over the sound of the rain hitting the plastic roof of the tent, we sipped hot tea from porcelain tea cups and munched on homemade Victoria sponge cake and waited for the deluge to stop.

Tea & Cake to to rescue
Tea & Cake to to rescue as usual
These guys have the right idea
These guys have the right idea

Browsing the stalls at Melchbourne Feast Day Fete

Thankfully, the rain did stop for a time, which gave us an opportunity to explore the other things on offer at the fete.

First, we dropped by the dog show, just in time to see the prize for ‘best bitch’ being awarded. Then, we browsed the second-hand book stall, inspected a line of vintage tractors in a nearby field, and then popped into the museum tent. Inside, a collection of interesting bits and pieces that had been dug up in the area had been carefully displayed, complete with lengthy descriptions.

Upon exiting the museum tent, we spotted a pair of beautiful horses attached to a wagon and excitedly walked towards them to ask whether we could go for a ride. We were told we could and immediately set off on a short trot around Melchbourne village.

As we sailed along a narrow country road, the sun began to shine brightly and horses seemed to relish getting to stretch their legs.

A line of tractors awaiting inspection
A line of tractors awaiting inspection
The beautiful horses who kindly took us on a ride
The beautiful horses who kindly took us on a ride

The activities begin

When we returned to the fete, the activities were getting started.

First, a tug-of-war competition – a team of young farmers verses a team of local pub-goers, enthusiastically willed on by their wives and girlfriends. The pub-goers took the strain and won to wild cheers from the locals.

After this, the kids got a chance to get involved with a series of races from one end of the lawn to the other. All the classic school sports day races were run – wheelbarrow, egg and spoon, three-legged etc. Prizes were given out liberally and soon, almost every participant walked away with a cuddly toy.

The afternoon came to a close with the announcement of the raffle winners and, surprisingly, a fly-over by a vintage World War Two RAF Spitfire.

A spiffing end to a gloriously quaint English village fete!


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