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A fete worse than death

May 26, 2013

There was an Austin Healey but thankfully no Morris Dancers. The fete (worse than death… eek) at Burpham was the usual English attractive nonsense of stalls of home-made cakes, tombola, coconut shy and vintage car show, although this ran to just the one, a splendid blue Austin Healey coupe. At this stage, the Goodwood Revival need have no worries about being usurped as the premier gathering of classic cars in Sussex.

We walked over from Arundel in fitful sunshine with the idea of attending this quintessential example of English country living and entertainment, followed by a late lunch at the George and Dragon at Burpham. Situated within sight of the fete being staged on the cricket ground next door, we were secure in the knowledge that the pub would be aware of the commercial possibilities of maybe a thousand visitors to this sleepy village. However, knowledge is a curious thing, it does not always lead to education.

Fete at Burpham

Burpham Fete

Having spent 20 minutes avoiding heavy looking home-cooked cakes and stodgy looking jams, we popped over to the pub at 2.30 and we were told the kitchen was shut, so, faced with this ridiculous commercial masochism, after more than a couple of pints of Sussex Gold on the benches outside, listening to people asking for menus, and receiving the same answer, we reluctantly headed back to the fete for a very uninspiring hot dog before walking back to civilisation. With country pubs struggling to survive in the modern world, the sheer commercial ineptitude of failing to take advantage of a god given opportunity to make a few quid is surely endangering the existence of another lovely pub. Tirade over.

The walk back took a little longer then the walk there, (why would that be?) but seemed shorter. Periods of warm sunshine gave hope of a nice afternoon, but intermittent large clouds kept a constant damper on the temperature. In any event, by the time we reached The White Hart, we were thirsty.

After one with the locals, and with the sun gone from the pub garden,  but still shining brightly in ours, we left the rustle of coats and jumpers being put on and went to sit in our garden over a glass of wine to testiculate (wave ones arms around and talk bollocks). I am sure that at some stage in the future I will come to recall elements of the conversation, but not today.

I do remember the plan straight after the Indian takeaway was delivered was to get an hour’s siesta and then get up and go into the town, as it was bound to be rocking due to the three-day medieval siege being staged at Arundel Castle. Sadly, the next thing I recall is be awakened by the alarm going off in the Co-Op across the road at 1.30am.

I said three-day siege, and so we shall have an opportunity to see what is happening today and tomorrow. I am sure it will be a spectacle of colour and history, but a siege? Why not a battle? At least we might see a bit of gore, but a siege implies something a little less vibrant. It reminds me a little of the closure of the George and Dragon yesterday. Loads of hungry people outside looking for food, loads of people locked inside with provisions, refusing to let those outside in. It is a confusing world.

Of course it can be a little less confusing if one was to use Currencies Direct for ones foreign exchange transactions, but I would not want to labour that point during a weekend, although some regular readers may exhibit a siege mentality, at least until they have opened their account, but if that is the case then it is entirely advertent. Actually, that is probably what I need at the siege, an advert tent. I think on that note I should leave you for today. You can have too much of a good thing you know.

Chris France

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