Planned spontaneously in the woods, way back, we Elders made it to Strumpshaw Tree Fair, across the boarder to Norfolk, for the day. It had been two months since we met together between the trees of Kaliwood and to spend the day together here was a well needed boost of communitree!

Sadly missing two early advocates, Pippa and Berti, 10 of us rocked up, Mary driving Peter, Roy and Irene, and my van converted to a bus for 6 of us and 2 dogs. Yes, a dog friendly festival. Welcomed by the irregular regulars, Candy the organiser at the ticket gate gave as a discount for our numbers, and we entered the land.

We’d agreed to meet under the great oak- but which one? This land as I recall describing it last year, peppered with old oaks, along with Yare valley, is timeless, as is the festival: it could be medieval or tudor, or today. We all fell into the trance of being inspired by amazing stalls full of talented crafters, and were immediately mesmerised by fantastical willow flowers and ears, distracted by all the creativity around us.

But first to visit the Steam Museum, and we were easily beckoned to take a ride on the Arch, by the playful caretaker, whose sole responsibility was to maintain this antique.
“Will it go fast?” we asked nervously.
‘No – we cannot go too fast as we have to maintain it. But I’d take off your hat’ he advised.
Whosh round and up and down and round we went clackerty clack the wood slats rumbling over the metal fabric underneath. Amazingly Kally mananged a photograph of us all and we are not in panic.

All shock up in the Steam Museum we admired and tried to understand the great mechanisms alive in our past. While Kally gave perspective to a spanner, Pet and I broken into a spontaneous dance inspired by hearing Puppet on a String played on an Organ Grinder. We both knew the words.

Outside we tried on hats, compared dying notes, ate pizza, and listened to the one and only John Rowe tell stories. (‘He doesn’t look a day older than when I met him 30 years ago – he looked old then’, observed Virginia.

And a half of Norfolks finest cider please.

We left this fabulous fair, hot under our hats and brimming with desires to create.

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