We are going to be a bit spoilt this year with Bank Holiday’s, thanks mainly to her Madge and the forthcoming Jubilee celebrations. Bank Holiday’s are a bit of a double-edged sword in our house, as hubby being a City Copper normally means he has to work them if there are any activities occurring in London! But this week he was able to spend Bank Holiday Monday with us, so with the weather forecast unsurprisingly leaning towards wet, we had to find something to do.
With grandparents on board for the day, along with my 4-year-old niece, we decided to head down to Hubby’s old primary school as they were holding their annual Fete. It promised a “family fun day” with the added treat of a classic car show along with shows of Karate, majorettes and children’s entertainer, plus a Pimms Tent and BBQ. So with all age groups covered and a £1 entrance fee, we debated it would suit us as a cheap day out.
Arriving at the school on yet another drizzly day, we were directed into a cramp hall by a group of soggy but still over-enthusiastic Scouts. The helper on the door explained that the field was too water-logged for the car show so had been cancelled and the weather had put a stopper on any outdoor activities so everything was taking place in the 2 assembly halls. We paid our entrance fee and squeezed our way into the first hall, laden down with our picnics previously prepared with an outdoorsy day in mind.
The first hall was crammed to bursting with various stalls selling local crafts, but mainly tombola stalls which were decorated to entice the children to spend their pocket-money with a promise of “everyone’s a winner!”. Even though prizes were along the lines of a tin of butter beans or a bottle of Yardley’s perfume. There was a mob of pensioners at one end of the hall crowded around the garden stall and before I knew it, my Dad was elbowing his way to the front like an autograph hunter at a concert. As we followed, protecting the children from the stampede of gardeners, a friend’s Dad explained that the plants were so cheap that a lot of people just come to these Fete’s for the garden stalls alone. We squeezed past, leaving my Dad to haggle for a Raspberry plant and into the rain-splattered playground.
We found a corner of the playground with a bench and with our ‘Blitz Spirit’, regardless of the “fine rain” in the air, we laid out our picnic so we could gain some strength to enter the “entertainment hall”. After the usual pleading and bargaining that goes hand in hand with feeding my 4-year-old twins their lunch, we decided to check out the now ‘indoor should have been outdoor displays’. My 8-year-old had met up with a friend and fleeced his grandparents for money so had gone back into the tombola hall. Me, hubby, grandparents, my twins and my niece headed into the entertainment hall, squeezing past majorettes trying to avoid being poked in the eye with a twirling stick, via the Pimms table (not really the same as a Pimms Tent) to where the children’s entertainer was setting up. I placed the 3 little ones at the front (pushy mum syndrome) and retreated to the back and noticed some chairs in the ‘Bingo corner’. I asked the Bingo lady if I could borrow 3 chairs for the children’s show, she paused to eye me up and down while expressing a long sigh. She reluctantly agreed as long as I promised to not go too far with them and bring them back straight after the show for the Bingo would be starting then. I assured her I wasn’t planning on taking the chairs and carrying them around with me for the rest of the day, but was literally moving them 3 metres in the direction of my relatives and promised to return them immediately after. The kids loved the show, although trying to explain to three 4-year-olds that Mr Custard can’t make balloon animals for every child isn’t the easiest argument to win! So we promised them a go on a tombola stall to make up for their lack of balloon poodles, that is if my eldest hadn’t run up too much of a debt in there!
I returned the chairs to the crowds of Bingo fans waiting for them (NOT!) and we squeezed past the Karate Kids and Brass Band members on our way back to the other hall. We thought we’d try our luck at the drinks tombola as there were a few bottles of decent wine up for grabs, unfortunately once we had purchased our 4 tickets for a £1 noticed that there were also bottles of ketchup and shower gel as prizes too. So with all adults having a go, we ended up £5 down with winnings of a fruit shoot, a bottle of bitter lemon and a small bottle of Belgian beer, bargain! We surgically removed our eldest from the chocolate tombola and headed out the exit before the cake stall came into the children’s line of vision.
It was a funny day out but certainly not cheap, though it was for a good cause so didn’t mind too much. The children had fun which was the main thing and my Dad was victorious in his Raspberry plant battle. I have a feeling my parents will be attending more Fete’s than me in the future though, now they have wind of the plant stall bargains.