Some of the great joys of writing for Chandler’s Ford Today are in meeting new people and going to events that are new to me.
The recent Hiltingbury Extrav was the first I’d visited despite living in Chandler’s Ford for over 25 years. So I thought I would look back at it as we leave the summer season with its shows and fetes behind. (If anyone is in any doubt we are in autumn now, the recent wild weather should dispel that!).
(What was wrong with the old title Hiltingbury Extravaganza by the way? Extrav sounds and looks as if the half the word has been cut off!).
The Chandler’s Ford Today blog can be a good opportunity to look behind the scenes at, say, a Maths support group, the world of small publishing (Gill James and Felicity Fair Thompson), as well as being able to give a publicity boost to local authors (hello, Richard Hardie, Sandra Gordon and Brenda Sedgwick).
And it was nice to see Bettermaths at the Extravaganza and to meet Brenda and Mike for the first time there. Maybe another year local authors can have their own stall…
I went with Janet Williams, our lovely editor, and we had a great time gossiping with (aka researching!) people as we looked at the stands. I must also say a big thanks to the suppliers of teas, coffees and home made cakes as these were wonderful. I bake and you can’t beat a good home made slice!
It was also lovely to see many familiar faces, including:-
- Lyn Darbyshire
- One of my vets from the Chandler’s Ford Veterinary surgery (or to be more accurate my border collie’s vet. Somehow I think she would have been less pleased to see him!)
- A dear friend I hadn’t seen for some time but with whom I used to walk my late much missed Bearded Collie cross, Gracie.
Basically if Janet wasn’t being greeted by someone she knew, I was!
Classic Car Corner
Other members of my family are heavily into classic cars with Jaguars being amongst their favourites. They would like this E-type.
The Jaguar wasn’t the only classic car. There was a complete Classic Cars Corner.
Another popular exhibit was the Highway Patrol car.
The Marucci ice-cream van
Moving on, I was pleased to see a familiar sight at the Extravaganza. The Marucci ice-cream van has been “doing the rounds” for well over 30 years in Chandler’s Ford. How do I know?
My husband was having ice-creams from that van when it stopped by his parents’ home in Hiltingbury back in the 1970s when he was but a lad. And that van sometimes now stops by us so he (and his son!) still enjoy the wonderful ice-cream. It’s good to know some things don’t change much…
It was good to see a wide variety of stalls, charitable, educational (hello Bettermaths!), booksellers (Usborne) and fun stalls (face painting always goes down well with those of a certain age though I stopped wanting to look like a tiger years ago).
The giant model of a tick on the vets’ stand reminded me of something alien out of Doctor Who. There were rides and slides for youngsters and I didn’t spot one person who looked bored. The odd fractious and clearly overtired youngster, yes, but I think that can be considered unavoidable.
I spent some time at the falconry display watching that lovely bird fly between two “corridors” of children effortlessly even when those corridors were brought closer together deliberately.
Comment of the day was from those “running” the falcon who urged youngsters to keep “hands to the sides or Amber will think they’re a sausage sandwich”. I’m glad to report nobody tested that comment and a lovely time was had by all, including Amber who didn’t miss any of the treats offered in reward for her “stunt” flying (which to her is as natural as breathing).
The falcon was stunningly beautiful. Interestingly there were few other birds around. I have noticed when I see buzzards and the odd sparrowhawk the sky “goes quiet” as all the other birds scramble to get out of the way. And that was true again at the Extravaganza. The birds know trouble when it is around.
I enjoyed watching some of the dog show but remain convinced if I’d taken Mabel, my border collie, she would’ve won Best Asbo as she would have wanted to round up every other dog taking part! I was pleased to see a collie in the final line up though. The Newfoundland I saw earlier in the afternoon was a stunningly beautiful dog. And naturally the ever popular Labrador and Retriever were also present.
The Scouts and Ramalley Hall
Then Janet and I ran into (not literally!) the Scouts at their Ramalley Fundraising stall where it was good to see Lyn Darbyshire again and have a quick chat.
Janet and I also met the Elf who hopefully will be doing a great deal to add to the fundraising efforts in the run up to Christmas. Youngsters pay to take the elf home for a night and then while they are asleep the elf gets up to antics which are photographed.
Ramalley Hall, as well as being the Scout HQ, is also the title of the fundraising arm. The group was first in our area 75 tears ago and the original hall, built by parents, was almost burned down thanks to arsonists some years ago. Lyn spent countless hours sorting this out.
The hall, though successfully revamped in the 1990s, needs replacing now. Donations can be made on the Ramalley Hall website. The Scouts have sold cards, held fetes and coffee mornings but one of their best selling items has been their Lego cuff links. The Lego cuff links have raised thousands and the Scouts, after a supportive visit from MP, Steve Brine, gave him a pair of blue cufflinks to take with him to the House of Commons.
Some grants have been received, and of course others would be welcome, but the Scouts need to raise a significant sum for the building works (from what Lyn told me earlier this year this is circa £30,000 to £50,000) though they have had local support and would obviously welcome more. The plan is to start building the new hall in 2016.
The Scouts have been very involved in the local community and some of their work has included coppicing in Ramalley Copse and regular litter clear ups. So is it in everyone’s interests they have a new hall to meet modern needs? Yes!
— Ramalley Hall (@RamalleyHall) October 13, 2015
The Ferris Wheel
The Ferris Wheel was a huge attraction all afternoon. While I’m not worried about heights it’s the going round in circles that does nothing for me so I sat this one out! Also I fervently hoped those who did venture on it had their icecreams etc after the ride!
It was also interesting to see the Market Fresh and Slimming World stalls side by side. There is a link there! But I’m afraid the last thing I wanted to think about at the Extravaganza was my diet so I hurried by…
It was also good to meet the team from Thornden Hall and talk about what they were up to. They would like to be better known as a venue for entertainment (which is probably easier to do if you have children at Thornden as there is a natural link) so they were at the Extravaganza handing out leaflets showing their forthcoming shows.
They shared with Janet and I the improvements to their website so it is now much easier to buy tickets. For someone who loves buying tickets online (it does save the queues), this can only be a good thing and I like the way you can get more information about each show (often with trailers) before actually booking. I also recommend their FAQs page which covers a wide range of standard queries.
What the team would love to achieve would be for people to think of Thornden Hall automatically as an entertainment venue and not just The Mayflower Theatre, The Vue etc.
Of course the plus side for being known as Thornden Hall is anyone local will know immediately where they are.
The range of productions in the next few months covers The Rocky Horror Show Live, the Royal Opera House Live presenting Romeo and Juliet, The Importance of Being Earnest, T-Sing in Concert, the Scout County Conference and Otterbourne School Presents The Frog Prince. That is quite a mix!
There are a range of concerts over the autumn and winter too. Thornden Hall is also home to several orchestras. The funny thing is my husband, ex-Thornden, can remember this Hall as his old gym. My, how times have changed!
The bus ride looked fun and had a steady queue of young passengers throughout the afternoon. The great thing was there were no cancelled buses, no traffic hold ups and I suspect the fare was reasonable too.
Thanks must go to all who organised and sponsored the Extravaganza, helped with the marshalling and so on.
I was very impressed the following day when walking my Mabel in the Recreation Ground there was no mess or litter left behind so well done all.
I’m already looking forward to next year’s event. It was great the weather was good.
I wonder which dog did take home the Best Asbo award and why. At least it wasn’t my Mabel…
Note: Don’t miss Allison’s next post on Friday 23rd October 2015.
Visit Allison Symes’ website: Fairytales with Bite
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