Friday 8th May 2015 marked the 70th anniversary of the end of WW2 in Europe – VE Day – and as such there has been plenty of commemorative events going on countrywide in the UK, and locally was no different.
There had been a general request for the bells of the UK to be rung to mark the occasion and the majority of my local band turned out which was nice. And the quality of the ringing was pretty good too, which is a great thing to be a part of. It was only for 30 minutes but we did our bit, and we did it to the best of what we could do.
The day itself was pretty disappointing if you were wanting to go out and do anything. I managed some shopping and whilst in the supermarket noticed that Aldi do a ‘Fluffy Duster Starter Kit’ which left me wondering what one moves onto once having mastered this preliminary level of cleaning. Is there an Advanced Kit? Do you need to go on a course to best be able to use it?
I didn’t buy one, so I’ll never know.
There followed an afternoon in the garden trying to make it look less ignored than it had been. Some marigolds were planted. No doubt it’ll be a race between the slugs and the frost as to who gets first blood!
Come the evening and the Great British weather had clearly been reminded, with a proverbial elbow in the chest, that it’s May and therefore supposed to be making a bit more effort about things. The clouds parted and we were treated to a little bit of evening sun.
Not wanting to miss the opportunity, an array of running gear was thrown together and I stumbled up the road, eventually getting into something which represented running. Actually for the first time since the injury my pace wasn’t too shabby either, although a walk-run approach was needed for a while. In fact this is the first technology fail I’ve had when running along a country lane, my GPS watch complained it couldn’t find any satellites. Perhaps the good weather had pushed them south over the horizon, I’m not sure. But I kept on going (running existed for millenia prior to the invention of GPS) and by my estimates I managed an 8 miler in just under the hour, which I was happy with.
The GPS print out I was less impressed with as the was a suggestion of flying over fields and through buildings. Perhaps this is the advent of the ‘modern triathlon’ – running, flying and passing through solid objects – I’m not sure it’ll catch on. But at least with the stopwatch functionality, a couple of clocks and a map of the route, I could confirm the important stuff.
Come Sunday and the weather had returned to thinking it wasn’t May any more – fine if you like clouds I suppose. We were off into Stockport for the main local VE Day commemoration at the Parish Church there. We rang the bells for the service. Then, we went away for the service and watched with an element of intrigue as the pavement kerbs were taped off and posters were put up advertising a firework display.
Now, Stockport always have to do things a little different. Fireworks in broad daylight would be a ridiculous idea anywhere else in the world. But in Stockport, this is deemed as ‘a really good idea’.
We then watched the congregation herded out of the church on-the-double. It turns out that the council wanted to lock the church during the fireworks, and that if you weren’t out before 4.10pm, you’d be locked in…….
No, I don’t get the logic either.
The town itself was very busy, especially for a Sunday, with traffic everywhere, and the vision of a herded congregation into the path of cars on the nearby road was a little worrying, but thankfully it was so congested that they managed it without anyone being flattened.
And in broad daylight, the fireworks commenced:
I waited a long time before there was a gap in the traffic so you could actually see the people stood watching. They were kept back away from the fireworks, but the traffic continued throughout regardless!
So what do fireworks in broad daylight look like? Like this:
The fireworks were being set off on the other side of the church, but as it was blowing a gale, I figured I’d be safer with a huge stone building between them and me. And they were exploding high above the church as you can see.
If you look really carefully…..
With that all complete, the church was unlocked and everyone piled back in again. We dodged in and around them to get upstairs so we could ring a Quarter Peal of 1259 Grandsire Caters. Which went OK, and was probably more obvious than the fireworks, although judging by the deserted state of the road after we finished, I suspect nobody stuck around to listen!