Today is the May Day bank holiday here in England. My memories of it as a child are cold and wet but this year we woke up to sunshine. I set off for my run at about half nine and, luckily had decided to do a slow, short one. I say lucky because my legs had nothing in them at all. To take my mind off the pain I decided to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
May has to be one of my favourite months. Everything is bright, fresh and full of energy, something that I really appreciated this morning. It was just me, the birds and the countryside. I was so struck by it that I came home to collect my camera and went back on my bike to collect my camera.
To me this is England at its best. It was especially poignant today as, in a few hours the peace and quiet would be shattered by loads of people descending on the area to attend what is supposedly the oldest market in the country – Reach Fair. Reach is usually a very quiet and sleepy hamlet but on one day every year it is ram packed with people.
There are fair rides, May Pole dancing, Morris Men, stalls, food, birds of prey ……and lots of queues!
Despite being an hour from the coast today Reach was once a sea port (before the fens were drained). The big iron rings are still there today. In 1201 the village got permission from the king to hold a fair once a year. In the depths of my mind I seem to remember that it was originally about animals but I am not 100% sure. It has been running ever since which is quite impressive!
It is opened by the mayor of Cambridge who throws pennies out at the crowd. (After the obligatory OH YAY, OH YAY, OH YAY’s!). I am sure that the residents must have a love hate relationship with the fair as there is not really any way to escape. At least it is only for 1 day a year…..