….he really shouldn’t have parked there.
It’s that bit of Clapham Old Town where the buses turn around.
On this particular day it was also that bit of Clapham Old Town where Clapham Summer Fayre was taking place.
A Fire Brigade demonstration, of course, how to free people trapped in a vehicle – something which, I was told, takes up much more of their time than fighting fires. They reduced the family car to a convertible in just a few minutes. The crowd was very appreciative. The firemen and women looked very strong and purposeful in their red uniforms (not, of course, that there was any posing going on).
There was applause also for the raising of the ladder and basket (one father must have been pleased that he hadn’t put little Johnny inside the ‘cage’ beforehand, we saw him trying and failing to do so, unknowing of what was going to happen next ). The Clapham Writers and Book Festival stall was nearby, so we were treated to intermittent, but competing sirens from fire engines and the 1980s police car parked in the same area, as youngsters were allowed in the vehicles ( and got to wear the hats ). Clapham Police had a stall next to us and we now have a Festival champion in PC Waterman, who promised to take our information back to the station with him.
We were there to maintain the high profile of the Festival locally and gather e-mail addresses for our mailing list. A Prize Draw, the prize being books from the Fest, was the carrot and we were pleased with the numbers harvested. Lots of folk still didn’t know about the Festival’s existence, despite all our leafleting and publicity on social media ( see Pounding the Pavements ). Many said they would have attended had they known and expressed an interest in Festival 2018.
Some of our star Clapham authors came along and brought their books too. Miranda Carter brought copies of her Blake and Avery books, including the latest The Devil’s Feast, as well as Capital by husband John Lanchester. Elizabeth Buchan, who has just signed a new book deal, see Bookseller, brought The New Mrs Clifton and signed the copies, which were popular with the book buying public ( all proceeds to the Book Festival ).
Playwright and author David Armstrong and I were there for most of the afternoon ( with help from Lesley Armstrong when we began to flag ). David was promoting Making It Rain, his latest novel and a very amusing read. I brought along Reconquista ( and was pleased to see e-sales later ). We had books, fiction and non-fiction from other Clapham Writers and from the 2017 Festival.
All around us folk were having fun. There was the City Farm (on the grass near the Common proper), the usual Summer pass times (races and competitions) and lots to eat and drink (I can recommend the Brixton Atlantic ale, a really refreshing brew from independent brewers Brixton Brewery ). The Dog Show was popular as ever.
Writers weren’t the only artists present. Through out the Fayre local painters were busy creating works on the hoardings around the old public lavatory buildings, which are being converted into a cafe. Jonny Glover painted the large cartoon of the Festival, the final version of which is below. When we packed away our stall the Dog Show prizes were being declared and Junction Jazz had just begun to play under the trees. People were set for a happy evening. Once again the Clapham Old Town Fayre was a great success.