Sunday, 13 December 2009

Grassington Dickensian Fair

It must be nearly christmas. Crowds, aching feet and empty purses. How did this come about, I have been making most of my presents and don't bother with decorations, though I do love playing christmas carols.

Since my 2 holidays in the Dales this year, I have loved the scenery, finding unusal and out of the way places that hold all sorts of magical secrets. One of the places we visited was Grassington. Cobbled streets and delicious shops that held the promise of hidden treasure in their nooks and crannys. In the run up to christmas Grassington holds a Dickensian Fair where the locals dress up in costume, the streets are turned into mini theatres and stalls line the streets. I watched some videos on youtube and the atmosphere was amazing. But its a about a 250 mile round trip, and not being the most intrepid of travellers I did not think I could cope with it in a day.

However my friend suddenly said yesterday, Lets go to Grassington. Somehow caught up in his excitement I agreed. It was very early in the morning and I was still half asleep, so I suppose I could be forgiven for my impetuous behaviour. There was only time for some tea and toast before we were on our way.

We had a 2 hour stop at York to go round the market and have some breakfast, before heading off again. Arriving in Grassington at lunch time. Well nearly arriving there. During the fair they do not allow cars into town, and we had to queue at the park and ride for nearly an hour before we could park the car and catch a bus into town. I do not like buses and this was something I was not looking forward to, but it was only a few minutes ride before we arrived at our destination.

The first impressions were all the crowds milling around. I could not believe that so many people could fit into a small town. It was difficult to get near any of the stalls and the shops were also operating a queuing system and only letting a few people at a time in. We made our way to the Methodist Church to see a display of bell ringing, and then queue up for a drink and a mince pie. There were groups of carol singers, outside theatre and morris dancers dotted around all collecting money for various charities.

By 4 o'clock we realised we would have to get something to eat before heading back to the buses as my friend had to be a work at 9. So we joined another queue to get into a cafe to get some food and drink. It was starting to get dark and a torchlit procession past right by led by a little girl on a donkey depicting Mary. It was so pretty and I was so pleased we had not missed it.

Walking up and down those cobbled streets had been exhausting. Queuing for everything was exhausting. Just the amount of travelling in one day was exhausting. My feet and head ached, and I wanted to sleep. But I would not have missed it for the world. I just wish I had been able to take some photos, but with the amount of people there it was just impossible to get a clear shot.

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