The tradition of the Maypole isn't English. It's German in origin.

More about the historical origins of the Maypole

Preparations for the Richmond Fair by associations and groups have been going on in earnest the last couple of months, though it’s been overshadowed by the election in the last couple of weeks. The day (unfortunately) was rather dreary and cold, with even the odd shower or two. Showers over here are very short. Sometimes, it just feels like it’s a spray. Unfortunately, the wind has been cold and biting and it feels like winter is upon us. Amazing when summer is only a month or two away.

Because of the weather, the crowd at the Fair was smaller than last year. Also, it looked like there were less stands available. Nevertheless, the weather did not stop the rest of us who made the effort to turn up, from wandering around the stalls and spend some hard earned dosh on absolute rubbish like half cooked hot dogs and candy floss.

Centrestage at Richmond Fair 2010

Centrestage had a series of acts to entertain everyone, from bands, dances, ballet routines, and I’m the Morris dancers, too.  We spotted the dray horse ride, which we took last year, but not this year.  Our trip into the Fair was quite simple, to bring the little one and lose him in the crowd with his friend, whilst we wander the stalls looking for bric a brac.  Believe you me, there’s a lot of rubbish bric-a-brac around – old glasses that must come from the 60s, mis-matching tea sets, mugs, tarnished silver trays, crystal glassware etc.  Books are always good value at fairs and there were plenty around to choose from – just not the latest titles, that’s all.  I picked up a bargain travel book by DK Eyewitness for a quid.  Browsing through the Seville and Andalusia edition will keep me busy for a minute or two.

Original mechanical pneumatic German fair organ

After an hour or so, with everyone satiated with hot dogs, hamburgers, and tons of candy floss, we finally left the fair with pockets a little lighter and not much else to show for it.  The only consolation is that we “donated” to whatever cause each stall was representing.