I like collecting and getting together all the pieces for the festival. In the woods you could get everything you’d need. Every conceivable flower. All the herbs of a proper English garden, it was perfect really. Well, it was until those travelling folk had set down in one of the fallow fields last Winter. But they’ll be off soon. They always are.
I always get so excited I even wear my outfit for the entire weekend so I was already set to go. It always tickled me to see people turn up to the village asking after cash machines and pubs with wi-fi access, they only seem to cotton on halfway through their sentence that you’re dressed like you’ve walked out of the middle ages. Their sentences would always slow briefly in the middle – a gentle little sag of understanding before they got to the end. I suppose it was always cruel of me to act confused too, pretending I wasn’t sure what they were talking about. I know there’s a cashpoint in the back of Benny’s, even if it does charge you £1.85 to get your own money.
Aaron had asked me yesterday about wearing his Iron Man costume in the morning, he’s been hanging about with one of those traveller’s kids, but he’ll learn. He’s got to do it like the rest of us, to keep the whole thing going. Too many of the families have let their little ‘uns drift off and find something else to do – going to university or working in the city. And I wasn’t ready to let my lad fall away from doing what’s right. Which is to say, there’s nothing wrong with some broadening of a person’s horizons but…
Now stop. I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying to yourself, “Oh, she’s one of those little rural folk who think the next village along the A road is exotic and that you can’t trust coffee shops because they make women into bra-less yoghurt weavers who stop taking their husbands surnames.” Well that’s not true. I went to college over in the nearest city and I even travelled for a year, but, you see, I was raised with a sense of home. A sense of what I came from, what we all came from around here. And that’s why I came back. I can’t help it if I’m a glutton for a bit of tradition.
I’m not small minded either, we all know that Glynnis and Miriam aren’t living together because of their complex mortgage arrangement. And none of us care. But, to be frank, I think you do need to know your roots, you’ve come from something. And that’s important.
Aaron seems to be understanding a bit more now, he’s six, you see. And it helps that the school is still involved. It gets all the kids involved, and excited. So I’m pleased. He brought home his mask the other day, it’s on the mantle. Still the same way I made mine, still the same bloody teacher, mind you! Mr Frazer, he is getting on a bit now but he still teaches one day a week and helps a lot around the festival. God knows how he’s coping having a few of those traveller’s kids in his class. Blimey, he went crackers on the parish council when some of those other folks tried opening a take-away in the village. You should’ve heard him! Well, maybe you shouldn’t, it’s not very PC.
Anyway, it’s glorious really, we get right back into the old ways of doing things. Well-dressing, the parade, the Harvest queen – it’s part of having a real link back to our past. And it’s something we’re really proud of. I’m hoping Aaron carries it on with his kids too. Oh, looks like he’s coming back in from his Saturday morning football. And he’s brought his little gypsy friend too. Good. He’s our guest of honour this year.
Like I said, they’ll be off soon. They always are. They can’t complain either, it’s a small price to pay given how quickly they multiply. Besides, who’d listen?