Its been a busy old week. I have had to fit five days work into four days to enable me to attend the Saddleworth Whit Friday celebrations.
Friday usually starts with us being woken by Marsden Brass Band marching through the village playing Hail smiling Morn. Then I casually meander down to the kitchen for a swift coffee and a spot of breakfast before getting ready to join the rest of the village for the procession down into Uppermill for the communal service on the playing fields.
This ritual has taken place in Eccles Hall for the past thirty or so years and myself and Ann have managed to keep out of each other’s way until we are ready to face the outside world. (we find its better that way then we don’t argue and spoil the day).
That is the normal ritual. This year was slightly different, It was Ann’s birthday and instead of being softly woken by brass bands and birdsong, my daughter and her partner and four kids burst in (must get that key back off her) and turned the whole experience into what could only be described as bedlam.
It was as though the clock had been rewound twenty years, we found ourselves making copious amounts of bacon sandwiches and coffee, people arguing who is using the bathroom next and looking for sockets to plug various bits of technology into MY electricity supply.
Eventually, as I got into the Bathroom (last as usual) I was then chivvied along by Ann who was telling me that I was making everyone late. (the cheek of it!).
We joined the merry thong and dutifully walked with our family (carrying James for a mile or so on my shoulders has I am sure compressed my spine). I found my self-thinking of the many times I had done this before and remembering the people who are sadly no longer with us or have moved away and a part of me for a short time felt a little sad.
That didn’t last very long though as the band struck up and I watched the children trying to march in time, followed by the young mothers in there Sunday best trying to walk in very high heels, not a good idea if you are about to embark on a six-mile walk through the Pennines.
Above all this day is a time to join villagers, friends and family to celebrate being a Christian and come together as one united group of people for one day together in a manner that will probably in a few years time be seen nothing more than a group of mildly eccentric people going for a bit of a walk.
I am sat here at the computer having just cleared up after the family BBQ we had last night whilst watching the Annual Diggle Band Contest. Fifty Bands from all over the world made the effort to play for us without us needing to leave the house to enjoy the event.
The organisation of this event is incredible and I take my hat off to Steve Scholes and his team of volunteers who make it seem effortless and I am sure it takes a great deal of time and effort in equal amounts.
So after clearing up after the Eccles Clan’s annual BBQ I feel I need a rest, but alas no, apparently Ann needs to take me and my credit card for her Birthday present (apparently I always get the wrong size or colour), then we need to go and shop for even more provisions because some bright spark decided because we had so much beer left we could have another BBQ on Monday!