Reg Walker writes: From time to time we hope to publish articles from ex HMSO people about their interests, their observations on where they live, and life in general. The first of these contributions is from someone who we hope will become one of our Countryside Correspondents, Nala Shyne. You won’t find him in the Staff List: for security reasons he is working under a pen name (and Osmiroid had been taken). His first submission is as follows;
Notes from the Village
I am happy to report that plans are well in hand for this year’s Village Spring Fayre. It is an event that is close to the heart of all of us in the village as it gives us a chance to invite friends, relatives, and the good folk from other villages and the countryside round about, to join us in welcoming in the Spring. And, of course, to relieve them of as much cash as possible with our various stalls and sideshows.
The Village Council have decided that they wish for something spectacular this year in order for the Village to make its mark and put us on the map. And in view of last year’s dreadful harvest the Grand Vizier; sorry, the Chair of the Village Council, has sent out a decree that no chances should be taken this year. To that end they have decided to invite Edward Woodward to open (or, to put it more accurately, close) the proceedings for us. (Bring own sausages and marshmallows.) If wet, in the Village Hall.
There are to be many stalls, demonstrations (dog obedience, servant obedience, and ploughing a straight furrow after spending all afternoon in the bar), plus sports of various sorts (tug-o-war, five-a-side rugby, and Pro-Am full contact bowls). This will give the men of the Village a chance to show off their athletic prowess. Something which, during the rest of the year, is usually confined to Saturday nights. One of the sports which will make an appearance is “Netting the Serf”. In this an agricultural worker is let loose in a field, given a head start and then tracked by a team of six or seven horse men/women, and when found a net is thrown over him and he is dragged back to the start line. The team that performs the task in the fastest time, and with minimal damage to the serf, are adjudged the winners. (It is a centuries old sport and the serfs enjoy it!) Also, in the morning there will be the traditional May Dances for the ladies; May-Pole dancing in the afternoon for the kiddies; and Pole dancing in the evening for the Dads.
It has been decided that the Townswomen’s Guild will not be having a stall this year, after the debacle that ensued last year, when they were in charge of the Tombola Stall. They were found to be selling the tickets from three different books, none of which coincided with those on the prizes. As Mrs. Garner said “It was an initiative to make the maximum amount of profit with the minimum amount of outlay” and perhaps should be applauded for that. But, be that as it may, their duties this year will be confined to Security and Crowd Control. However, it has been agreed that members of HMSO will be allowed to attend the festivities once again, as their seven year ban is now at an end. It will be well remembered the ugly events and near riot that ensued after a certain R. Walker and friends, entered a midget glamour model in the Bonniest Baby Competition and won first prize. Since then we have been forced to subject every entrant to a full body strip search. But let’s not open old wounds.
Votes have been invited to help elect a Spring Fayre Queen. The number of people who have indicated that they are interested is just three so far. Valerie Singleton, the Duchess of York, and Julian Clary. The Duchess of York is the front runner at the present time as she has agreed to do the whole thing for three hundred quid and a crate of Newcastle Brown. Every vote counts.
We keep our fingers crossed that the day is fine and dry, and that all those that attend will enjoy themselves. And we look forward to the event with bated breath and great expectation.