Behind the Scenes
of Abinger Fair

By Sonia Babister

Snip, snip, twist and sew,
Medieval circlets are on the go.
Pins scattered on the floor,
Damn - now there's someone at the door.
Yes Terry - of course you can,
My stapler is at your command.
I'll get it right now from the shed,
Oh no, I think it's probably under my bed!

Thank you for the sacking Mick,
I'll run ten tops up in a tick.
Second thoughts - five's enough for me to make.
Oooh Donna, you are such a great mate,
A new-fangled sewing machine I hear?
- Come to the Hatch, I'll buy you a beer!

What's that Nigel…you have printed the fliers?
Great, you'll pop them down in just a few hours?
O.K. Dean get that bottle sign up,
Before it causes a massive ruck.
Time is running out - there's heaps to do,
And do it fast, before I turn totally blue.

E bay next - Now let's study the screen:
A few ‘choice numbers’ can be seen.
Bid now, it says, with my highest amount.
For my blessings to win, I then must count.
Zap, it's done, fingers crossed that I have won,
- And don't need to add a higher sum.
The costume wardrobe will look grand,
Although - where on earth can I put the stand?

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Ring, ring - there goes the phone,
What a good job it is that I am still at home.
Yes Katie, we can sell tickets for you.
Why do one job? Lets make it two -
Throw in some bags Sandie, to make this fun.
My wenches and I will do a weekend pub run!

Come on Sal - Time to hit the road.
400 Tombola fliers to off-load.
Next year Maureen, pop them in the Parish Mag?
As it's all too much - It will be less of a drag.
Big smile on darling - I know you are tired,
Up early for work, or we both will be fired.

Blast. More repairs, some costumes need mending,
The washing and ironing are also pending.
Done at last, oh what bliss. Now, what is next upon my list?
Mixing - (get the gist?)
Forty or more Sticky Toffees to prepare,
No wonder I have this mop of silvery hair.

Knock, knock - What's that - you need a costume?
No problem.
Step over these bottles, don't topple.
No - we don't drink at home, it's no fun alone.
This 'lot' is for the Tombola and put me right off.
I'd rather drink coffee -Yes, you can scoff !
A child's frock? I have one, though 'fraid it is blue.

Boys knight's helmets - and a tunic or two.
Your husband- A Monk, Knight or Jester?
I have it all, just stay calm and don't pester.

Trudging the lanes with my beautiful wenches,
Darting between the bushes and fences.
Knocking on doors in full Mediaeval regalia,
Only to find most have gone to Jamaica,
(Or somewhere else!)
Trying hard not to feel totally deflated,
Knowing only too well, that target - we'll make it.
Not long now, 'til we are completely elated.

Home from work and what can I see?
A new heap of bottles left waiting for me!
Out yet again to trudge miles around,
Collecting more and more - well, I'll be bound!
Feeling at last that we are getting somewhere.
Just as well, as soon it will be time for the Fair!

Out of the garage we collect apple boxes,
All carefully stacked away from the foxes.
Sticking on tickets, each bottle must have one.
Folding the rest neatly, then filling the drum.
Until long after midnight we work away,
Usually well into the return of each day.

Goodness me, my hallway is stacked.
The doorway's not jarred - for sure it is barred.
We can't get past all that - and it's twisted the mat!
Have we really collected all these?
How can we be anything but happy and pleased?
We wonder ourselves that this can be true!
And the best of it is that it's ALL down to YOU!

All that is left is for David to come
And load up his truck, oh what jolly good fun!
A full English breakfast awaits this kind Knight,
Without his help, things just would not be right.
Samantha is ready to set up the prizes -
Bottles and cans and some dodgy surprises.
Sal sorts out the children's one, crisps and all.
While I do what I love, and decorate our stall.

The villagers do us proud each and every year,
For which I send out a thundering cheer.
Everyone contributes with books, bottles and cakes
And many more things. What a great Fair this makes!
It kindles our friendships and keeps us all close,
That is, by far what we treasure the most.
I have been to every single one, you see,
So nobody knows this more than me!

At Abinger school the procession assembles,
I stand in line and force back a tremble.
I look at the children with a tear in my eye,
My heart bursts with pride as I try not to cry.
The music begins and off we go -
All that is left is to get on with the show!

Thank you for your wonderful donations,
The fair was a success, so congratulations.
We will see you all next year, when we do it again.
With luck, once more we'll avoid heavy rain.
In the meantime pray hard to our Almighty God,
We don't want to find we have sunk into the mud.