The weekend was too close to our printing day for more than a mention last time, but this account recalls the atmosphere of those days in June with a vividness that takes us right back to Sibford’s Great Day.
Friday Evening Haven’t got round to buying a ticket for the concert. Go up hopefully. Good – a seat in the back row of a packed Church. A delightful programme, well performed, with special mention due to the accompanist and oboist. Flowers beautiful despite the storms of the past week. How do the arrangers manage it?
Saturday Morning Desperate attempt to get garden produce picked and presented in saleable condition between the showers. Take it to stall-holder hopefully. Now for the village tour. The Barton lorry — full marks for family hard work and enterprise and value for money. Added pleasure — mother-in-law and uncle feature in the old photos. On to Pets Corner and the storm saw us coming! Shelter in the barn and listen to the helicopter still flying. Good that it’s getting custom, even if not mine! The water rises; a drain is found and cleared and the flood subsides. Pavement flooded along Acre Ditch — children splashing joyfully through it. Up to Mrs Tanner‘s stall. Amazingly they seem to be dry and business is good. A couple kissing opposite the school by a sign saying ‘Exhibition’ and pointing at them. The lady who spotted this chuckling as she passed. Into the peace of the Meeting House. Transported to holiday places, but the stinging nettle by the literary Miss Baker sticks in the memory. On to the Garden Party. Thank goodness our offerings have sold. Cakes going at reduced prices; we are in luck and the weather is improving. Along to the old cars — through Barley Close where the gardens look lovely; then back by Sodens where everyone is welcome, despite wet feet and dripping clothes, to see the craftspeople at work. Into the Village School – Mr Mansfield looking up entries in the Log Book for an elderly villager; her delight at finding her name; Alice Walker’s name in the 1895 entertainment programme (now Alice Green, living at Adderbury House). And finally the evening sunshine in Mr Dring’s garden, all storms forgotten.
Sunday Morning Cut sandwiches, make soup, leave food for those not attending the Open-air Service. Take chairs, rugs and food to the playing field. Weather looks a little undecided but the Rector assures us that he has had a word with the powers that be, and, of course, it stays fine. An excellent Brass Band, joyful hymn-singing and a prayer which I wish I could live by and keep before me. A very happy coming-together which continues in the picnic lunch and through the afternoon. Oldest, Miss Nelder, and youngest, latest arrival at Little Thatch, present. An energetic game, not played for many years, rounds off the weekend with a feeling of exhaustion but great pleasure — and I hope a lot of money was raised too.