In Spring this year I had the pleasure of shooting with Lee Parker again! This time, we included Betsy Boo and created a Cinderella inspired theme. A fantastic excuse to wear an epic ballgown, we both dressed as Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother. I created some wire and cellophane wings for each of us and Karen D Bebbington skillfully did my hair once more. The Tiaras were kindly lent to us by Boho Bride in Stratford upon Avon as were my Fairy Godmother shoes!
Lee has sent me some photos to post up AND a little video he created. Enjoy!
On the weekend of 23rd June I had the pleasure of singing at Bloxham Steam Rally. I’ve known about this event for years, but had never been. Ignorant as I was, I thought it would be a quaint country fair, set in a small field. Oh how wrong was I! Try 3 fields, with steam engines, fun fair, classic vehicles, tractors, stalls, eateries, American civil war reenactment camp (huge), military section, lorries and more.
The weather was scorching and there was no escaping the dust and heat, but I would rather have that than a muddy quagmire. It was wonderful to see some old reenactor friends again and everyone was busy with their tasks for the weekend. Unfortunately we didn’t realise quite how loud the funfair was going to be and it was directly opposite my singing location.
I tried moving to another spot….ooops, there goes the arena tannoy…moved again and was greeted with steam engine smoke and a large mechanical organ. I decided to battle the funfair noise and it was a head to head noise-off between me and the gorgeous antique carousel. I think it won, but I got through my first 2 performances with a small passing audience.
It was my birthday that day, so my parents came along for a little while and brought me a cake, so that was wonderful. I had a bit of poorly tummy, so it was lovely to have some extra support from them, Mr Mew and Betsy Boo. We staggered around the main field and classic cars before our farewells and drooled over some stunning vehicles!
In the evening I was performing at the beer tent before the Dorset Rats went on. The ex-military area drove down 2 vehicles so that I could perform outside with them as a backdrop! We had a few problems with the generator not being powerful enough, but once that was fixed, I had a grand time singing to the crowd. It was a barmy evening and everyone was in a cheery, relaxed mood.
Along came Sunday and I was feeling quite a bit better than the first day. I couldn’t wait to see the full sized replica Hurricane in our military section as I would be performing on the wing today! I hadn’t seen it seen my last ever time at The War and Peace Show in 2014. It certainly brought the crowds over for my performance and I had a swell time up there! My favourite part? Singing on that replica aircraft as a Lancaster Bomber flew overhead. How blessed am I?
For Father’s Day this year, we thought a trip to Ashdown Camp’s Wartime in the Vale would be a great idea. I had to swallow my pride a little, as I used to perform there many years ago and was let go when a new entertainment organiser was brought in.
We firstly stopped at the fabulous Fourteas in Stratford Upon Avon to have a family breakfast (thoroughly recommend the G.I. Breakfast and Earl Grey tea!) before heading to Evesham.
The event has increased hugely from the small field event it once was. I could hardly recognise the place! We got there at midday, with no entrance queues and there were huge displays of military vehicles. The main arena had First World War and WWII vehicles, tanks and cavalry (best displays I have seen at a show).
There were lots of stalls (a few good ones, but 50% were annoying tat, Lindy Bop 50’s dresses, 80’s doing vintage or extremely overpriced vintage military (£35 for moth eaten military breeches that needed patching up, sewing and new fly buttons and lacing?!). It kind of reminded me of how War and Peace started to go, so they could entice young people and families.
I was also NOT impressed by one guy representing Help for Heroes, who made some kind of tongue-in-cheek comment about my ‘big buns’ and a bake sale, before somehow thinking it was hilarious to say “You know, if you can tear yourself away from Jeremy Kyle or whatever it is you do in the daytime…” seriously?!?! At least these two were professional!
Thanks to my friend Stephen, I had the honour of going inside the First World War tank, which was fascinating. Boy was it cramped! With lousy suspension and lack of headroom it would certainly be no good for just popping to the shops in…
One of the most dangerous places to be in the First World War, they were cramped with exposed scolding-hot pipes, toxic fumes, noise and more. Around 8 men would be put into these hazardous machines and many became ill or died from heat exhaustion, carbon monoxide poisoning from the engine, horrendous burns from the pipes or killed by the axis forces.
Back to the show!
For the little kids, there was a mini fun fair that certainly amused Betsy for 20 minutes before home time! The mini swing boats were actually from 1945, which was awesome!
I would say that it would have been nice to have some smaller entertainment spots, set up at a couple of other areas (other than the main marquee), but it would’ve been impossible. Everything is set around the central arena, which is obviously rather noisy and the main focus of the show. Any singers or music would get completely drowned out by the tannoy, pyrotechnics or engines!
I think I would go back for a day out with the family, but would bring ear defenders for Betsy Boo next time! There were warnings with most of the explosions, but some we were unprepared for and she soon started trying to hide!
I would thoroughly recommend the displays, which were fantastic, but if you go with shopping in mind, maybe go to a carboot sale before hand and just enjoy the rest!
On Monday I went to a day long needle felting workshop with Crafty Gal! I requested it from Mr. Mew as an anniversary gift and was soooooo excited!
The workshop was being held out Bonds; a gorgeous antiques centre just outside of Stratford upon Avon. I love going there anyway and the cafe is lovely! They have a special room at the back for craft tutorials and mine had lunch included too.
Denise Immediately put me at ease and I felt like I already knew her! Unfortunately for her, the other ladies had to cancel. Fortunately for me, that meant I got a 1 to 1 session! I decided upon creating a hare as I loved the over-exaggerated ears. We started the tutorial off with a run through of the equipment and wools and then started on the body. It took an awful long time to felt down the mass of wool fibres and I suddenly realised that this was the reason why we couldn’t do a whole animal for our Crafter’s Club tutorial in September. After a good 40 minutes we were ready for the next steps and we were on to the waistcoat. Well…I was in my element! We chatted and sipped Earl Grey as we stabbed at our creations and the time flew by. After a lovely lunch it was on to the head. Suddenly my hare was brought to life and I knew exactly who he was and what he did.
I would like to introduce you to Walter Shipdown; a local Am Dram director and former star of the stage, known for his stunning performance in My Hare Lady.
I couldn’t believe the workshop was over. I could’ve stayed all night, whether she liked it or not. Luckily Denise was selling Crafty Gal goody bags of wool, needles and foam pads, so I got one to give to Ma and we did our own little felting tutorial together on Thursday. She is creating a fox and I am creating Walter’s leading lady…stay tuned!
How lucky were we with the weather?! Even when we arrived, my weather app said it was 65% chance of thunderstorms and showers from 2pm. Bletchley Park Vintage Weekend stayed hot and humid until we left!
Today we were all wearing vintage. Richard was in is WWII American Navy gear, I was in an original 40’s crepe dress with studded detailing and betsy was in an adorable vintage dress with chickens embroidered around the bottom!
We headed once more to the vintage tent to have a look at the stalls (sunglasses were a must-have purchase as I was not prepared for the sunshine at all!) and then on to the mansion restaurant to order lunch and sit in the sunshine, whilst Betsy made the most of the play equipment. Got to say that the ribs were scrumptious, but at events like this, it does get VERY busy with a long queue at lunchtime.
We need to do the whole weekend next year so that we have time for a tour around the huts too. It’s a bit tricky with a 2.5 year old that just wants to run around, ride on the back of swans and talk to everyone who will listen (how she went to the toilet, what colour her toenails are, various songs from her extensive repertoire…”and on that farm he had some shoes ee-i–ee-i-oh, with clip clop here and a clip clop there…”).
We did manage to watch the lindy hoppers in the main marquee, who were lovely.
There was then a short dance tutorial, where Betsy went around offering the dancers gummy bears as sustenance.
My singing set went really well, albeit performing in a sauna! Lovely audience yet again and even some dancers braved the heat. It was amazing to glance over at the swans and lake, people dressed beautifully in their vintage fashions and bask in the incredible history of Bletchley.
Well we arrived at midday and although we had driven through fog and rain, the day stayed beautifully clear and warm. I even had to take my thermal vest off!
As I had a while until my performance, we went to check out the entertainment marquee (situated by the beautiful lake and a very handy traditional sweets stall) and then went to peruse the vintage stalls. Well, the choice was so much better than previous years! Bletchley upped their game and are thinking of having even more next year.
Some great custom and vintage hats, some really super menswear (tons of waistcoats!) and rails of clothing, tables jewellery and sunglasses.
I had to stop at Debbie’s Vintage World as she always has some really wonder pieces from America. It’s been a while since I treated myself, but came away with a gorgeous mustard coloured, wide brimmed hat (40’s/50’s) and this jolly little fellow! Seems to be lucite and celluloid from the 50’s.
Considering yesterday was the first day I have felt vaguely human since my tonsillitis, sinus and chest infections, today was a big test for the old vocal chords! I was due to sing 2 x 30 minute sets, but ended up doing a full hour. I really enjoyed myself and put up a live feed on Facebook for people to watch. Unfortunately, 10 minutes towards the end someone sat on the chair containing my phone…even though they saw it there and still sat down…so you can hear but not see me!
Betsy very much enjoyed all the attention she received in her vintage seersucker dress and droptoe pram. Richard wore an original American WWII Civil Air Patrol uniform and I went with some lavender Heyday trousers and a cotton blouse. I did have a 40’s oriental jacket over the top, but it got way too hot.
Tomorrow is meant to be warm with a threat of thunder, but I can’t wait to go back!
This weekend I will be singing at Bletchley Park’s 1940’s Weekend! The weather is set to be beautiful too! The museum will be open, so you can gaze in awe at the Enigma machine, computer and historic mansion. Walk around the beautiful grounds, enjoy the entertainment, vintage stalls, reenactors and more!
I will be performing on the Saturday and Sunday only, at 3pm and 4pm, so come and say hello.