STOKE BRUERNE VILLAGE AT WAR WEEKEND 2013

Mick Hart & Olga Hart

Mick Hart & Olga Hart

STOKE BRUERNE VILLAGE AT WAR WEEKEND 2013

First of all let me say that it was gratifying and inspiring to see a number of people at Stoke Bruerne’s Village at War Weekend wearing 1940s’ garments and, in some cases, complete outfits purchased from Station 109. Many thanks to you; your custom is much appreciated.

The organisers of this year’s Stoke Bruerne event said that they were going to ‘pull out all the stops’ and, judging by the reactions that we received from the people we spoke to, they had certainly done just that.

First, the organisers need to be congratulated on the expert way in which they utilise all available space in and around the canal and village. Stoke Bruerne may not be the biggest 1940s’ event but it still manages to pack an atmospheric punch, bringing all of the different elements and attractions together in a nicely choreographed synthesis with the historic location itself. Practical considerations, such as shifting the traders’ stalls onto the hardstanding adjoining the pub in recognition of our wonderful British weather, accompanied imagination. Take, for example, the intrepid display of 1940s’ fitness classes ~ we don’t know what we’re missing!

Another instance of imaginative flair and space-saving ingenuity was commandeering one of the road-bridge arches to act as an entertainment’s stage. Underneath the arches (did anyone think of doing a Flanagan and Allen to this?) Lola strutted her stuff seductively with that inimitable self-conviction that is rapidly establishing her as a leading light in the 1940s of 21st century Britain. And then, by gum, what about George!

Now I must be one of the few people among the 1940s’ set that has not witnessed (until last weekend) Paul Casper’s George Formby, and I wasn’t disappointed. He’s a dead ringer for our George: build, teeth, voice and ukulele ~ let’s hope that it stops there and doesn’t mirror George’s private life!

All in all, scale for scale, Stoke Bruerne’s act is a hard one to follow. There are so many things to wax lyrical about, from the re-enactment of Holidaying at Home to tea-room dances and raffish spivs; from  the battle and firepower demonstrations to a leisurely walk along the canal. My only criticism would be (and I have to search hard for this one) that it’s a shame that neither of the two public houses set alongside the canal turn the clock back to the era. Come on chaps, it only takes some bunting, a few posters and the staff to dress appropriately to enter into the spirit ~ but then I would say that, wouldn’t I. Couldn’t fault the beer!!!

PS: As we didn’t have our camera with us, we can’t post any more pictures. But stay tuned to the Village at War site where I’m sure they will host some soon!

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