It took til midsummer, but I finally got to my first festival of this year. Brockwell Park, in southwest London, has hosted the Lambeth Country Show for the last forty years. It’s a big ol’ party, with a large music tent, a crafts area, booths for various charities, tons of food stalls, and a farm and livestock area. People from all over the district come to have a day out in the country in the middle of London.
The excellent Liz, who along with her flatmates is hosting me in London this summer, was working at the Bee Urban tent. Bee Urban keeps bees at a lodge in the city, and it educates people on how to plant flowers that will attract bees. I helped out at their candle-rolling station, showing five-year-olds how to press the wick into the wax and carefully roll it up and stick it with a pin to keep it all in place. The kids were all adorable, and so pleased with what they created.
Naturally, when we heard there was camel racing, we had to go see that. The announcer was great, nonstop chatter about the camels and their jockeys. Her favorite camel was Bertie, the youngest of them all, with the longest legs, which shows promise for speed in the future, but for now, Bertie hardly knew what to do with them. He galloped like kids do when they’re pretending to be horses–galump, galump–not the smoother pace of the older camels. Maybe next year he’ll be a winner.
I ate a pork-and-stuffing-and-applesauce sandwich (delicious), lay on the grass in the summer sun and listened to classic reggae (blissful), and watched dozens of kids running around gleefully, their faces painted and their hands sticky with sweets (beyond adorable). It was a perfect festival day, right up until the point the skies opened up and drenched everyone in rain so torrential that the fair was closed only about twenty minutes later. Even that is kind of part of the full festival experience, though, isn’t it?