Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

ABC Wednesday 5: H is for...

... Helter Skelter

Last weekend saw the return of Carters Steam Fair to Allington field, just a short walk from our house. I introduced this rather special fair to you - here and here - during ABC Wednesday 3 last year, when they stopped off in Chippenham on their way to a summer season in Weston- super-Mare. Once more, I heard the plinkety plink of the fairground music every time I stepped out into the garden, but I didn't mind. This is what I'd call a proper fair and definitely fun: a family run business using original old fairground rides, sidestalls and machinery, including the pictured Helter Skelter. Everything's meticulously kept and re-furbished/ re-painted during the winter months. Even the vehicles used to haul the equipment from venue to venue are in keeping with the era. I've posted another picture - of The Dive Bomber ride - over at my photography blog today.

As well as the fair, we had an amazing choice of local activities to choose from last weekend. NAH and I also managed to squeeze in a trip to the Didmarton Bluegrass Festival on Saturday evening, one of the largest festivals of its kind in this country, now based at Kemble airport*, rather than its original venue at the pub over the road from Westonbirt Arboretum. It's a feelgood kind of festival, where wandering around with a musical instrument and/or wearing a hat like James' is considered the norm, as is having the catering/beer tent provided by the local motorbike club. All kinds of impromptu bands form during the weekend, so it's just as important to wander around as well as listening to the scheduled concerts in one of the two music tents. We had to leave at 1am on Sunday morning, where the headlining band were still at full throttle: they were supposed to finish at midnight!

I also went to Lackham's bee and honey day on Sunday. I nearly didn't go as the Country Park had decided to double the usual entrance fee as it was deemed to be a special event. I saw this putting off plenty of people whilst I was there - at least 10 people left in just a few minutes. However, the college's teaching apiary is fascinating as it allows everyone to get up close to a number of hives whilst being protected from the bees behind a fine gauze mesh. There were plenty of people there to demonstrate the hives and to answer the many questions being fired at them. I learnt a lot and I'm now thinking about signing up for a beekeeping course, in anticipation we'll be able to keep bees up at the allotment. **

For more posts on the theme of H, do go and say Howdy over at the ABC Wednesday blog.

* = it was announced on Saturday, Kemble is to be renamed Cotswold Airport in recognition of the tourist area it serves. As it's a significant WWII airfield, former RAF base and a previous home to the Red Arrows, I feel the decision's a triumph of marketing over history.

** = this looks pretty likely as there's only been one objection thus far and there's plenty of support for the idea. However, to reassure my fellow plotholders and to ensure the bees are looked after properly, I need to be a trained beekeeper/BBA member to be allowed to keep bees up at the plot. That's fine by me because I'd want to make sure I'm doing it properly too. I've also asked my beekeeping friend if he'll come and look at our site, to make sure there's a suitable place to keep bees without getting in everyone's way.


  1. That helter skelter thing looks like great fun!

  2. Great choice for H day! Looks like fun to me!



  3. So THAT'S what that Beatles song's about!

  4. Love this use for the letter H. Great explaination and picture.

  5. Not familiar with a Helter Skelter, - looks very interesting and the fair sounds like great fun.

    The park in our village is called 'Memorial Park' in honour of Veterans of the 1st and 2nd World Wars, - modernists now want to update it, and call it Spirit Place. Time passes and changes most things....

  6. Helter skelter looks like a trip of fun!

  7. Got to be the most fun H, and a Beatles song too. Always good.

  8. I bet the bee-keeping event will be fun, and fascinating, too! And surely the hives on the allotment will benefit everyone? Good luck with that!

    I agree with you about the price hike. I think it does put people off. :(

    I love the old helter-skelter!

  9. I've never seen a Helter-Skelter before--do you ride on the outside of this?? Good luck with your bee adventures!

  10. Ah Carters steam fair, connecting Chippenham and Chiswick in 19th century steam style

  11. Would love a go at bee keeping. Husband however is very allergic so not keen - reasonably enough you might say!

  12. Used to enjoy helter- skelter rides when I was younger and slimmer:) Great fun. Hope that all goes well with your plans to take up bee keeping.

  13. Hi everyone - glad you enjoyed today's picture and that some of you now know just what a helter skelter is! I'd totally forgotten about the Beatles song :)

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