The Waveney Greenpeace Fair took place this Sunday at Henham Park near Blythburgh. All the 21 previous fairs had been held in farmer Paul’s post harvest stubble fields in St. Michael South Elmham, so this was a brand new venue.
I did wonder beforehand if recreating the mellow, intimate atmosphere the fair is known for might be difficult in such a different place, parkland rather than farmland. But with the tents and stalls framed by beautiful mature lime trees, and the months of preparation by all the organisers (hats off to everyone, you know who you are!), the stage was set for what turned out to be a great day. (The one fight was valiantly held in check by several green men, so I won’t dwell on that).
Nick had spent the previous three days organising and setting up the Greenpeace Tea Tent, which was manned this year mostly by Sustainable Bungay with ‘a little help from our friends’ in Diss. Charlotte and I set off on our bikes in the morning with bags of display posters and photos (laminated by Gemma and Eloise) and a jug of cut flowers in the bike basket and joined Nick and Margaret to prepare for a day of tea and cake provision. Daphne, Gary, Lesley and Kris arrived a little later and we all got into a good team flow of keeping the kettle and teapots full (mostly), refilling the water barrel, washing up – and occasionally swinging our hips to Norwich Samba as the music carried over to us from the Mainstage.
Friends from Transition East and Beyond came to visit, including Chris from Norwich, Gill from Diss, John and Carol from Downham Market and Kristin and Sim from Transition Bristol. It was lovely to catch a few minutes’ chat with everyone inbetween tent duties.
The 250 plus cakes, biscuits and muffins were baked by Gemma, Josiah, Margaret and Frances. Throughout the day I overheard people saying how delicious everything was and by 3.30 they were all gone and we were reduced to selling organic flapjacks from Dove’s Farm (no offence Doves’ but you can’t compete with Frances’s moist homemade lemon drizzle cake!!!)
Our Waveney Greenpeace/Transition Towns Tea tent with its Sustainable Bungay and Bungay Community Bees display boards, Abundance table with Cathy’s damsons and Norfolk Beefing apples, Nick’s green tomatoes and cabbages, and Margaret and Charlotte’s lovely flowers on the tables drew people all day and when it started raining at about 4.30 everyone moved closer, shared tables and carried on chatting and drinking tea.
Charlotte and I went for half a cider in the main bar at six and returned to help Nick with the last of the clearing up before cycling home, where Nick joined us for supper – which included those green tomatoes of his, fried in olive oil – delicious!
If anyone would like to add their experience of the tea tent or indeed the fair please feel free to use the comments box below.
STOP PRESS: Arlene at Halesworth library just told me on the phone how much she and her friend enjoyed the fair, including the lemon drizzle cake (and her friend the dairy free carrot cake!)
Pics: Transition Tea Tent from the beginning to the end of the 2011 Waveney Greenpeace Fair by Mark Watson