We started off with good intentions. As the Chair of Vice on the Parish Council – I had hoped for footpaths or planning, but found myself deposited into vice so that there is someone to run meetings when the Chair is away – I had a planning application to check and then hand back to the Chairman of the council. We set off along the back path and found to our considerable surprise that, not having walked it for tow or three days, hefty rain followed by radiant sun had brought energetic growth. The footpath had vanished. Hoover disappeared into the blossom to see where it had gone and re-emerged with bridal confetti scattered all over her back.
We battled our way through to the stile, emerging to join children heading down towards the school where they gather to be collected by the bus. Bob, the headmaster of the village school, popped out of the Village Hall.
“Have you seen the displays for the Jubilee? They’re amazing! I’m taking the kids in to see it later” Judy has been collecting coronation memorabilia and has made a display for everybody to enjoy at the street party on Sunday. “There are all sorts of scrap books made at the time. Fantastic!” These I had already seen. They are rather splendid and clearly made with great dedication at the time from a huge array of magazines.
“Actually, Bob, I was wondering if I could borrow something for the street party?”
“Of course, of course!” Bob is always ready to help out.
I emerged soon after with a box of rubber eggs and wooden spoons, a neat stack of markers to help organise races and a promise of bean bags and hoops to arrive on Sunday morning. Bob had also told me that most of the children from school were going to be away on a variety of holidays. He only had 7 available to come to join the singing presentation that the school were doing. Hoover was entranced by the rubber eggs and jumped about hoping to surprise one into her mouth. I spotted patriotic fervour sprouting by the road sign outside the school.
With the egg and spoon race tucked under one arm, race markers swinging in the other hand and the planning application grasped firmly as well, Hoover and I carried on via the site of the proposed new barn and from there up onto the hills and along the ancient tracks. The chrome yellow patchwork of the past month has faded to green with only the occasional blush of yellow tickling the edges of the fields. Wheat is sprouting, a haze of brilliant green tops that soften the grassy spears making the fields look like huge duvets tucked around the dozing earth. Hoover chased rabbits, darted futilely, but optimistically, after swooping crows and inspected crushed grass where deer had slept the night. The birds were missing the sunshine of the past week or so and only the larks were still entranced with the sky.
Far in the distance we spotted friends on paths the other side of sweeping fields. Merlot was dancing through the hedges looking for games, Mazie was running in circles round Sue. Hoover thought about joining them, but decided they were too ahead and returned to check my path for hazards instead. So much running had made her thirsty and she dived through the hedge for a drink from the old cattle trough and returned, dripping cheerfully, to nuzzle my hand.
An hour or so later the application was dropped off and we headed home to make sacks for the sack race, and ties for the three-legged race, to investigate 17th Century medicine a little further and to see what difficulties Mossy was going to have to sort out next; ready to get on with a day that had started so well.