Mayor

Two equally enjoyable events at the weekend, one involving old men in bizarre hats firmly rooted to the ground, the other involving young men in baseball caps being catapulted into the sky.

The ancient mayor-making ceremony was probably more surreal than any Natural Theatre show. Abbey Churchyard was the normal Saturday melee of opera-singing buskers with, as my Australian friend put it, vibratos a dog could jump through, lost tourists, a stray wedding, skateboarders, a bewigged Georgian gentleman and a lady inexplicably dressed as Good Queen Bess. Add cacophonous church bells and a Big Issue seller dressed as Scooby-Doo and you had the complete set.

Or so we thought until the mayor’s procession arrived in an array of multi-coloured robes and enough comedy millinery to give even Lady Margaret a run for her money. And that was just the blokes! Mind, some of them, especially the High Sheriff, turned a very pretty ankle in their regulation medieval tights.

Inside the Abbey, as the Norland Nannies Choir sang Edelweiss (I kid you not!) we honoured guests witnessed a rather moving ceremony as the outgoing this and the incoming that swapped places (and robes). Councillors and aldermen, political differences forgotten, roundly praised each others achievements.

We couldn’t help thinking that just as a smart school uniform brings out the best in pupils, so the enforced wearing of plumed tricorn hats might encourage more civilised behaviour in the council chamber.

Next day in Sawclose, Bedlam Fair was in full swing. While it couldn’t match the mayor’s ceremony in exotic attire, in spectacle it was its equal. There were exquisite puppets, hoola-hooping ladies, contemporary dance involving a sofa, a small boy pretending to be a whale and many other delights.

Above all (literally) there were the Colombian street lads who, projected from a see-saw, flew ever higher into the air. Unfazed by the rain they simply wiped the see-saw with a spare tee-shirt and carried on. Three back somersaults at thirty feet, land on a bit of foam carried by your mates, leap up unscathed and take the applause, baseball cap still firmly in place! Wow!

Not a normal Sunday in Sawclose, but if the planners get their fingers out and produce the long-promised piazza, it could be!

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