18 Jul 2010

Bread Street Bap success

Today is Big Lunch day but in Bread Street Ruscombe we had our party yesterday - The Bread Street Bap - a friendly rival to Randwick's Wap! We had it the same weekend as The Big Lunch event and had live music and more. A wonderful afternoon indeed. The pics here are a random selection from the day starting with our street photo - well folk getting ready for it - hopefully the official one coming to this blog soon!!

This is our second big street party event - the last was 2 years ago - click on the street party label below - the idea being for residents of the 34 houses to get to know each other better - in fact more than 10 houses were away this time - a great great pity but we still had a brilliant day - even the weather stayed dry and fine. I also counted well over 80 people in the end and some also dropped in just for a short time.

The morning started with putting up more bunting, getting the tables up, closing the road just after 12 and dressing my bread for the competition - the pic left is of my naked Bap Man - later on you will see a photo of him in his black cloak, mask and kilt (all bin liners) - sadly he was beaten by a bread pig that came first in the interesting bread competition while my olive and rosemary bread also wasn't a winner even in the best tasting bread. My partner and I also made several salads and humous - even if I say so myself the beetroot one was yum!

The road closure is always interesting as several cars always ignore despite us getting the official paperwork and paying the £40 fee - well actually the Parish Council paid that - in other areas Councils automatically pay for community events - fortunately our Parish has always been supportive. This year we used horse jumps wrapped in lots of colourful ribbons - blooming heavy to carry back after the party - they seemed to have doubled in weight since the morning).

In fact this year once the party got going only the bus came through - well police also turned up and like the last time claim to not have notice of the party despite me emailing them - this time they were in flack jackets and had tasers - apparently a resident in Whiteshill had complained at the noise - the live band played for under 2 hours so I hope folk weren't too upset - I did invite the police to join us for some community policing but they clearly had business to go to and could see no riotous behaviour - we all waved them goodbye.

OK these photos are of the bread competition entries and the first live music - amazing folk duo - Miranda Rutter on fiddle and Rob Harbron on concertina - they were very wonderful indeed - we were very fortunate to have them - Rob is pretty famous in such matters - see my previous blog with links to some of his music. Loved it lots!!!

This next couple of photos is of the reopening of the renovated bench - Guy, Louise and Andy have worked hard on a bench that looked as if it was only fit for firewood - well it now looks fantastic - Michael Charley, former District Councillor for the area cut the ribbon and then was the first to enjoy the seat - well second as Bap Man - not my bread version but a large chicken wire creation....

More of that in a moment but up next was the wonderful, amazing Smoothee - I keep miss-spelling their name and putting an 'ie' on the end - anyhow check them out at their website here. They really are brilliant with covers that got me dancing - and a few others - well more than a few - until the last couple of tracks when we managed to get nearly all the adults up and dancing. Their music just hit the mood right for me.

So this wire Bap Man? Well it was one of those things that came out of our preparation meetings in the pub - a sort of community arts event, experience or something - anyhow virtually all residents participated in creating this fellow - or woman as some thought later - tying on ribbons, bits of dyed cloth and more.

Gradually through the afternoon different people worked on him until he became a most colourful event that will sit in our bench for the summer - some cloth remains for folk to continue working on him!

We also had a wonderful array of food and drinks - loved someones lemon merengue thingeys and some ginger meranegue thingees - can't spell that merangguue word. However I didn't let anyone taste my first attempt at elderflower champagne - a complete disaster! There was also a treasure hunt for the kids, boules for some of us older ones, a photo competition of Bread Street, a large map of the street with photos of every house, a great freecycle stall where folk brought plants and jumble and took something away instead - I got a book and a dahlia that a resident had grown from seed. Oh and it was great to see all the children cycling up and down the closed road - and playing football - well a number of adults joined in that as well!

s the weather was good we had the chance to sit and chat - several said they really enjoyed the day as folk were more relaxed than the first one - I certainly enjoyed myself immenslely - oh dear where is my spell check? Strangely get slightly apprehensive before event - yes I know all the street take responsibility for party but I was one of the loud noisy ones helping to get it going...in fact everyone was great from making teas to getting chairs, making road closure signs, picking up tables, lending hay bails, putting up the bunting etc etc. What a great road to live in!!

One impressive sight I must mention, was Matt, one of the local lads, who climbed up the lamp pole to tie the bunting and helped us remove it at the end of the day - see the pic - he will be our health and safety officer in future!

Anyhow see my letter to press two years ago about why I think street parties are great - go here and what I said to press two years ago here. I certainly think they are great ways to bring communities together -
there is a great website www.streetsalive.net that tells you all you'll ever need to know about street parties. Anyway enough about this for now - we have a working party at the allotments so must dash - no doubt more about Bap Man and the party in a blog soon!!!

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