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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Sunday shone bright as I awoke to the sound of the Council rubbish man trying to pull down the street bunting we'd put up the previous night.

He wasn't meant to do that. He was meant to clean the road ahead of our Street Party on the Sunday. However, his van was so high that it risked tearing down all the miles of red, white and blues we strung across the street. After a few attempts he realised that if he went any further up the road he'd start a riot so he turned tail and fled leaving the road uncleaned but intact.

We started closing the roads at 10 am. Most of the car owners had moved their cars after we leafleted all the houses warning them that children's games, fire engines and drunken neighbours had no respect for parked cars. By 10:10 am we'd began unpacking the van which contained the stage and 20 tables, provided by our local Salvation Army. We also set about assembling the canopy to cover the stage. Just in time as at 10:15 am the heavens opened and for 2 hours it pissed down.

Halfway thro' the leader of the jazz band we'd got to play phoned to ask whether the gig was still on as it was raining cats and dogs where he was. "Smith and Jones" the fiddle and banjo duo texted asking whether it was still on. To both I replied more in hope than knowledge "yes".

The owner of the bouncy castle and provider of wine at the temporary wine bar, had told me earlier in the week that he would be in France over the weekend for his son's birthday but would be back Sunday morning. Frankly hearing that I'd given up hope of seeing him again. I texted  him early Sunday morning. He'd just arrived back and would be round with castle and wine around 1 pm.

The tables and chairs were set out down the middle of the road, sodden. Luckily we had loads of tents, courtesy of the Sally Army and neighbours who dug out their gazebos which hadn't been used since last summer. We put them over the tables, having mopped them dry.

The stage was huge and rather high, in fact so high that with the canopy on the ground only the Smurfs would have been short enough to perform. This is where English creativity and cunning came into play. The local building site at the bottom of the road had tons of bricks. They were translated up the road to the site of the stage and with chairs, bricks and sandbags the canopy was raised to a height which allowed the audience to see the band and visa verse.

And then at around 1  pm the sun came out and shone for the rest of the day. Out came the paper table clothes, the paper plates, cups and plastic cutlery. 10 by 4 metres of  artificial turf was rolled out for the kiddies races. The bouncy castle was inflated, the kiddies games - all the old type you used to see at church fetes - were set up.

The band arrived and started to assemble their kit. Our local DJ - one of the residents - then set up his decks and mixers. The beer from the pub arrived as did the mini wine bar. People started to decorate the tables and bring food from out of their houses.

At 2 o'clock the Party began as our DJ laid down some heavy tracks. The kids and parents arrived, games commenced and the noise levels were high. At 2:30 "Smith and Jones " got everyone in the mood with a set of country folk.

The Mayor arrived, be-decked in his chain of office,  as did our local MP who tweeted from the Olympic Park saying she was on her way. She was to judge the cake competition with masses of creations adding a colourful splash. Local councillors glad handed hoping to secure re-election.

Jazz filled the air as people sat and ate, walked and talked, ate and drank. The fire engine arrived and the kids dressed up in fireman's kit sat in the cabin with beefy firemen. They were surrounded by mothers and aunts using the excuse to keep an eye on the kids to ogle the beef steak.

Two sets by local professional singers, who gave their services free, were followed by a soul session from the jazz quintet fronted this time by a huge, soulful singer  who sock'd it to us with a deep, clear voice.

Then the kids and parents all started Zumba dancing as Cloe, a local dancer, again pro bono, shook her booty and everyone else's to the sounds of Madonna, the Bee Gees and Madness. A final set from the DJ before the day was rounded off with the awarding of prizes for the races, face painting and the cake competition followed by a storming final session from the jazz quintet.

The tug of war was won by the "even numbered" households. And then it was over at 7 pm.

By 9 pm all the bunting was taken down, all the rubbish piled up nicely in bags for the Council to take away the next day, the stage dismantled, the canopy, tables, gazebos and tents put away and the bricks returned.

All this recorded by our own tame professional photographer.

It had been six months in the preparation, and to be honest at times I despaired that it would ever take off. It was a super success. Down to people just doing what they could to make it a great day!


John Gray said...

i loved this blog entry
loved it

Steve said...

Are you available for wedding and bah mitzvahs?

Marginalia said...

Dear John, thank you muchly.

Steve, as long as it's kosher.

Anonymous said...

You deserve a Gold medal

A job awaits you at G4...they need organising skills

Marginalia said...

Thank you Anon. I received a golden cup!

Bojo said...

Congrats Marginlia. Spiffing show. Just like my little gig up the road. No 10 here I come!!

Marginalia said...

We tried to get Lottery money, but apparently you're scooped the lot. We had a fun time nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

So which photo is of you Marginalia? We need to know!

I am betting on the bloke with the big necklace.