Flaming June! The walkington-life plane is flying 3000 feet above the village and you can almost make out the pond beneath the cloud. The plane is strangely quiet. There is a full compliment of bloggers on board but they are full of their own thoughts and in various stages of scribbling their humble offerings for the blog. The only sound, apart from the drinks trolley progressing through business class, is the sound of keyboard activity; the gentle tap of creativity.
The reason for the hushed silence was that earlier, old Tom shouted, “They never replaced the Hayride, did they?” “Too dangerous” came the reply from economy class. “Health and Safety” shouted some other blogger. “ My wife dragged me away from the Tart’s Cart” shouted Bill, “She said that was too dangerous… walking behind the cart shaking my collecting tin” So then, in a moment of blinding inspiration, I said “ why don’t we come up with an alternative to the Hayride, something topical” and so, here we are now, circling at 3000 ft, with delicious silence permeating from every corner of the plane.
Even Helga, our in-flight stewardess, is taken aback by the enthusiasm of the venerable company. So much so, she is passing down the aisle with her normally loud Finnish voice, now a mere respectful whisper, as she pours the gin and purrs “Do you want ice with that”
How I’ve enjoyed the silence, sat here on the flight deck, nothing to do but keep the plane flying true and watching the village emerge from the low rain clouds. Helga appears at the cabin door holding a piece of paper with the collective decision of the venerable company of the walkington bloggers. She smiles, Helga smiles… has to be a first. I take the paper and read aloud… “stage the re-enactment of Waterloo on the playing field.” I like it.
Helga turns and shouts down the plane, “he likes it” to a thunderous roar. “We’ll need committees” I heard Mrs Babbage shout. “And lots of them” someone else said. And off they went like a whirlwind passing down the plane.
“We’ll ask that nice Sue to make the costumes, 5000 should do it” said old Tom. “Who shall we get the play Wellington and Napoleon” asked Anton, the self proclaimed arts correspondent. “Save the details till later… what we need now is a broad brush approach” Mr. Blenkinsop interjected. Mr Blenkinsop, was always the one to see the bigger picture, the broad canvas of the battlefield, in a little corner of Belgium, was already being transposed, in his imagination, to the playing field in Walkington.
Hang on, the entire population of the village is less than 3000 I thought to myself, not wishing to temper the already booming enthusiam. Mr. Blenkinsop, had obviously had similar thoughts because he was suggesting “we need to scale it back”. But what do they say about putting the genie back in the bottle… the idea was out there and running fast. “We’ll get the people of Skidby to take part… they can pretend to be French” someone said. But then that would need a joint co-ordinating committee and I knew that would never do.
Ideas were now coming thick and fast from all parts of the plane. “We’ll need horses, and lots of them” The Playing Field Committee won’t like that I thought. “ Let’s add battlements to the sports pavilion and call it Hougoumont… and then stage the heroic defensive battle” said old Tom. There was a general murmur of approval, the venerable company liked the idea of heroic defence. Then a quiet lady called Margery said ‘we’ll need toilets… and lots’ of them.” “No, let’s do it right and dig latrines” came the swift reply… and to her credit Margery volunteered to join the digging committee. Again, the view from the Playing Field Committee will be interesting I thought.
The Firearms committee agreed to look into the use of live rounds, including the provision of muskets, bayonets and cannon. Donald, the Firearms committee chairman, said “he knew someone on the council and he was sure it would be fine.”
And then it was gone… the idea that had reached such dizzy heights and touched all our hearts was dead. Alan, a relatively new blogger, who always wears a blazer and has a habit of standing with his hands in his pockets; removing them both slowly, he quietly said “they’ll have to rope off the cricket pitch.” But that would never do I thought. How can you stage the Battle of Waterloo, including the heroic defence at Hougoumont, and have charging men and horses stop and go round the cricket pitch. “It’s totally impractical” said Mr Blenkinsop and we all new he was right.