Monday, 18 August 2008

Elder Stubbs Allotment Festival!



This is where I was on Saturday reading poetry as one of the 'Bards In The Woods' at Oxford's 'Elder Stubbs Allotment Festival' - surely a unique event in England! As you will see I was also competing with snakes, falcons, scarenuns, swingboats, ferrets, belly dancing, samba drumming, sculptures, the Headington Hillbillies (amidst other free bands) and lots of stalls - which strangely I didn't get round to photographing. Not to mention 'Mr Wilson' the baby giant tortoise who was zooming around trying to snaffle courgettes from people's stalls - and for a tortoise he was no slouch!

This event happens once a year and is the best day out in Oxford for £1 that I know of, as you never know what you are going to find! All proceeds go to RESTORE local mental health charity who run the allotments as a kind of gardening therapy for those who need it.

Usually the weather is amazing, but this year it was a little overcast, hence the not-so-sunny photos.

13 comments:

Wisewebwoman said...

sounds like a great day, Laura.
What piece did you perform?
XO
WWW

teeni said...

Overcast photos are the best! This is wonderful. I've always wanted to know how the whole allotment thing works over over there. Maybe sometime you could explain it to me. What a great charity event - it looks like a wonderful way to spend a day out of doors. :)

The Sagittarian said...

Great pix, and I bet you had a wonderful time. We don't have things like that here or if we do they certainly aren;t well publicised. I would invite you to read stuff in my garden but it is currently under about 10 inches of snow which was there waiting for me when I got up this morning!!

Steve said...

It all looks satisfyingly hippy-ish and alternative.... and beautifully green.

Brother Tobias said...

That looks such fun! Although using owls on the cocoanut shy seems a bit harsh.

KAZ said...

That's the first time I've heard Tortoise and Zoom in the same sentence.
And it's only a baby yet.

Can Bass 1 said...

You forgot to mention the owl! What a splendid photograph. Have you ever written a poem about an Owl? Personally, I like the one by George MacBeth. (Don't like him much, or didn't, but like the poem.)

Rol said...

I want a Scarenun!

moi said...

I have no idea what an allotment is, but I'm happy to learn that there's more to Oxford than meets the tweed!

LucyFishwife said...

I hope you bought some lovage! Possibly the finest and most versatile herb in the world and tastes fantastic in a cheddar sandwich...

J.Danger said...

looks like a great day, and what a cause too!

Looks wonderful...

Reluctant Blogger said...

Yes, that looks like a lot of fun. And only a £1? Wow.

I'd love to hear you read - poetry I mean, not a copy of The Guardian or the train timetable - if you ever venture East let me know.

I am sure I was going to say something else and now I have forgotten.

Oh yes, tortoises. My mother has a tortoise, just a normal sized one and it is greased lightning across the garden and can even scale her rockery. Fascinating creatures - she comes when my mother calls (which is more than we ever did)!

The Poet Laura-eate said...

WWW - I did my Virginia Woolf pastiche on the cost of accommodation 'To The Lighted House'- which you can see further back on this blog, a poem about the 'Killer Bollard of Turl Street' - a rising bollard that stabs unwary vehicles to death outside my workplace and a poem about nature - being as it was a garden paradise.

Teeni, I think allotments began when working class people lived in tiny back-to-back houses with no yardspace and needed a cheap means of obtaining food, so they would rent a nearby strip of land from their local council to grown their own cheap food (which would be in a field with lots of other people's rented strips or 'allotments'. About a tenth of these land areas still exist today in Britain's towns and cities, albeit more used for hobby and theraputic purposes than genuine need - though you never know how bad the credit crunch might get of course! Yes, it was a lovely event and celebration of allotments!

Oh dear Sagittarian, sounds like allotments wouldn't be terribly practical where you are though why they settled on a festival of knockers instead is anyone's guess! Of course I'll come and raise the tone by reading some poetry out sometime!

Don't worry Steve, you won't catch the hippy germ. I didn't. My house and car are still spotless, I can still speak in coherant sentences of more than two without deviation or repetition. My dress sense still goes no spacier than that one high-kitch top (previously blogged).

BT - I have reported them to the RSPCO accordingly.

Kaz - sometimes the strangest sights can be seen without a bottle to blame in sight!

Can bass 1 - sadly I have no poems about owls and I do apologise to both you (and the owl) for missing him out in the credits. I shall look up the poem you mention though.

Rol, I shall inform the owner of that particular plot of your nunnery needs.

Moi, sadly both tweed and crushed velvet are thin on the ground in Oxford as 'grunge' dressing takes over. For explanation of allotment, please see my reply above to Teeni.

LucyFishWife - alas I didn't but thanks for the tip!

Thanks for dropping by J.Danger. Yes it is.

Reluctant blogger - I certainly will let you know if ever I'm Norwich-bound (and I ought to at some point as I've never seen that area or city at all)
Thanks for the wonderful toroise memory - it is often extraordinary how intelligent our pets turn out to be and in what forms, whatever form they are themselves! My mother had a cat who was crazy for cucumber and would steal it the moment her back was turned - I feel a crazy pets I have known posting coming on....