Every ten years Axbridge stages a massive open air play in the town square charting its history. Hundreds of residents play the part of Saxons, Jacobites and Victorians while the roads are closed off, grandstands are constructed and it’s impossible for a few days not to miss the mass drama. Or so you might think.
In 2010 my daughter and I were involved in the World War Two scene of the Axbridge Pageant as it’s called and were instructed to assemble on the north side of the town by the Lamb and Flag pub. Because the main streets were closed there were special provisions for the cast to cut through back gardens, alleyways and across lawns and even through people’s homes. Milena was dressed as a wartime child evacuee and I was a spiv complete with dodgy moustache and suitcase full of black market booze and nylons. We were just yards from the square where the sounds of the proceeding scene of 1930s Axbridge were unfurling to the sound of Jazz music and ancient motorcars.
As we crossed a garden of a large block of flats towards a door that would lead back into the High Street a rustic looking gentleman stood up from behind some shrubs holding a hoe.
“Excuse me,” he said, “but where be you going to?”
“The pageant,” I answered, “you know. In the square.”
He looked puzzled. “What pageant?”
“The pageant,” I insisted.
“Never heard of it,” he replied, “and I been here all day.”
And with that he went back to hoeing the garden, which just goes to show however much you are wrapped up in something, the rest of the world may have no idea or indeed interest.
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