Ah, the summer has arrived here in the UK……which just goes to prove my stupidity. Just as one swallow doesn’t make a summer, so neither do a few sunny days…..But I decided to risk all, including my own credibility, and take out my Litespeed titanium, and announce to the world “The summer is here”!
A smaller lighter frame, with enough twitchiness to keep my attention for the duration of the first ride….but it’s also quicker and more invigorating. Not really the sort of bike for relaxing into a long ride, but one to make the long ride just a little shorter……which may mean an earlier lunch some days…😁
The pragmatic use of the scarecrow, to keep birds and predators off the crops, is a centuries-old invention. Largely overtaken by modern high-tech bird scarers these days (many of questionable effectiveness), our nostalgic memories from the past have been resurrected in the context of scarecrow festivals, a relatively recent addition to the annual calendar of summer events.
Scarecrows belong to a class of phenomena called ‘ephemera‘ and, in the context of the festival, they become a channel of commentary on life and the world around us. Like the Fallas of Valencia in Spain, the figures and caricatures can be trenchant comments on people and events (sometimes scathing to the extreme), or simply be amusing reflections intended to entertain the passer-by. In the UK, the scarecrow festival tends towards the latter, and more and more villages around the country are organising their own festivals, usually to coincide with their own summer fêtes.
In the nearby village of Spaldwick, villagers enthusiastically prepare for the festival, mounting their scarecrows at the front of their houses, encouraging neighbours to take a walk around the neighbourhood to admire the exhibits. It is a clever technique in social engineering. People will walk into, and around, neighbourhoods that they would not normally enter. And, of course, there is the competitive side: a pair of cinema tickets to be won for the best scarecrow.
The winners in Spaldwick were a couple who were having their driveway extended, so they designed two scarecrows to stand as surveyor and builder in the excavated foundations. As we chatted to them, they revealed they weren’t very impressed with their work and were thinking of reducing their earnings to minimum wage!