September 2, 2012 by benmblackman
If you haven’t read my last blog Once in a Preston Guild then you should do. It sets this one up.
If you are too lazy to read it then you should know this: ‘We clocked up 12 hours over Saturday and Sunday and didn’t we have a ball? None of the activities or events we took part in cost a penny, and so many were priceless. The creativity, imagination and memories it has inspired in me (aged 33) and her (aged 3.5) will last forever. I can’t bestow more praise than that. There was too much to do, too much to see, and certainly too much to write about here – what more can I say?’ A few highlights (of many for us) included:
The buzz of the thing. We got the train in on Saturday morning from Croston and I’ve never seen the station so busy in 7 years. The train was packed with chatter, laughter and excitement. Accents from Liverpool, Ormskirk, Lancashire and London mixed as one. A couple who offered us a seat hailed from Toronto, Canada.
Avenham Park Little things do it for me. I say little, this was massive but the entrance to Avenham Park let you know you had arrived at something special.
We glimpsed in to one of the tents and hundreds of folk, dressed in vintage 1940’s get up were having a tea dance and learning the Charleston. The Calpol Kid was mesmerised.
Wayne & Geraldine Hemmingway promised something special and they brought it, bags of the stuff. I wish we could have seen more and reports from everybody we met or overheard heralded the wow factor. The Spirit of ‘42 Ball was a once in a lifetime event (or twice if you lived it for real in 1942 I suppose). I met people who had seen both and they were full of nostalgia and tears, likewise the young’uns who were seeing it for the first time.
Onwards to an area just outside the Vintage Tentwhere we watched Harp & Monkey play their unique style of depressive folky seafaring type yarns. ‘The sun is shining…but we won’t let that lift our moods,’ they quipped, ‘our next number is about a soldier who came back from the first world war and lost his mind.’ Poignant it was though and had an impact on me I’ll think about forever more. Just as inspiring was their song about ‘men who dig holes’ being the most important people in history. I too now salute them. The Calpol kid might not have understood the lyrics but she loved the occasion and musicality. Sitting on her own deck chair (when she wasn’t dancing) her mind was blown (I could see it happen before my very eyes) with the plethora of instruments before her eyes and ears. Between the three band members we witnessed a banjo; guitar; harp; glockenspiel; electronica and that’s not mentioning the awesome vocals. Not bad for a free gig! Mesmerising. On Sunday she demanded to return and we watched a local band followed by a beautiful vintage female singer with guitarist too. (If anybody reading can tell me who they were or what the programme was I’ll update this).
Square Food Festival
Winckley Square was alive and kicking with the Square Food Festival – a cacophony of food from all over the north-west along with some innovative Street Food stalls from local restaurants including Heathcotes; Winkleys and DukPond. For me, Paul Healthcote’s ‘Pork four ways’ edged it (I would know, I sampled all offerings over 2 days) but special distinction should go to them all. ‘Food was the real winner’ – that and my waistline!
Inside the square was a host of fun and frolics. Live entertainment at its’ best, our favorites included Stock Pot – the best way I can think to describe it is like Dick & Dom but infinitely so much better. We had a ringside seat right in front of the pots – the biggest and best TV she’ll ever watch (and me). Participants ran around, splashed, got splashed, we got wet, some men with beards sang funny songs and commentated through a loud hailer. You can’t explain it. It was mad and very fun. Take my word for it.
My personal highlight of everything was Tunaversity Challenge. One man, some waders, a paddling pool and a game show surrounding fishy facts. Never have I chanted ‘fish…fish…fish…fish…’ with such abandon or delight in a public place. I have no prize for the talented man who ran this singlehandedly but his, to winners of each show, was a tin of tuna. Educational and hilarious it was.
At one point on Saturday we needed some time to chill out and stumbled upon an area behind the Vintage tent stocked with outdoor toys of years past. Who’d have thought you could have so much fun and pass so much time with a stack of Space Hoppers, Skipping Ropes, Pogo Sticks and other games I don’t know the names of (balls on sticks ‘n stuff). I’m not sure if we chilled out much but we had fun.
You can find out more information about the rest of the Preston Guild Events here:
If you haven’t already – You really should read my previous Blog – Once in a Preston Guild