Other Events Reviews

Buxton Carnival Float - Buxton Festival Fringe

Buxton Festival Fringe float

Daffy The Lorry

Once upon a time there was a little lorry called Daffy. Daffy lived in Lomas Distribution at Harpur Hill. He was the littlest lorry in the whole yard! It was raining. Again. Suddenly, Daffy was whisked into the depot and confronted by an Orange Army, wielding paper flowers and banners! Daffy was scared. "Who are all these people and why are they all dressed in orange?" he thought. The Orange Army started climbing onto his back and attaching their various non-waterproof decorations. "I can see trouble ahead!" Tape. Wire. Papers. Posters. All being flung in different directions in a desperate attempt to cover the "Float" as the Orange Army called it. Then they were gone.

Daffy was left, alone, uncomfortable and afraid. "Will they ever return? Why have they spent so much time dressing me? What will they do with me?" All these questions were running around little Daffy's head.

The next morning it was wet. Very wet. Again. Daffy didn't usually work on Saturdays, but today he was driven to a small farm in Cowdale. "What are we doing on a farm?" thought Daffy. Then a load of horse bedding in bales was arranged on his back! They drove back into town where there were lots of other lorries, all dressed up! "Excuse me," Daffy bravely said to a big lorry, "But what are we actually doing here?"

"Well it's the carnival init!" said a big booming voice above him. Daffy didn't know what a "carnival" was. He was parked up and immediately swarmed again by the Orange Army. Oh no! To their horror, all the decorations were wet. Very wet. "What are we going to do? It's ruined!" cried the Orange Army!

"Balloons! Yes! We will decorate the float with balloons - lots of balloons!" they said! More orange people started coming, but these were fairies! Now Daffy was even more confused! After a few finishing touches...

They were off! There were crowds and crowds of people, shouting and waving! The Orange Army were giving out little pieces of paper and strange green booklets that said "Fringe" on them. There was a line of lorries, snaking around the town, all of them decorated! There was a huge moving dinosaur, a pirate ship and even a rock and roll disco! "So this is the carnival!" thought Daffy. As they weaved through the streets, Daffy suddenly realised it wasn't raining! It wasn't raining!

An exhausted but happy little Daffy trundled back to his depot. Never again would he be looked down upon by the big lorries! Daffy had heard the Orange Army saying that next year there would be something called a 30th anniversary! Who knows what that might mean! More excitement, more balloons, more people or just more rain...

Daffy would have to wait and see!

By Annie Osborne (13)

Guided Walk - Vera Brittain's Buxton - Jennie Ainsworth Blue Badge Tourist Guide

Review from 2007

History of Water and Well Dressing in Buxton Walk - Buxton Well Dressing Committee

Well it was fine until we started out!

But the rain was scarcely noticed with the walk and talk so interesting.

Our guides Christine Gould and Chris Simpson used the water theme to teach us about the history and practice of well dressing for sure but also as the link for a comprehensive tour of the history, geography, geology and sociology of our home town.

I suppose we could claim that well dressing in Buxton was first noticed by the Romans when they found the shrine to Arnemetia and its offerings at the foot of what is now the slopes back in ad 50. It was fascinating to learn from Christine that in recorded history the first well dressing seems to have been a celebration by the village of Tissington of an escape from the black death in the 13th century. Christine is Buxton's well dressing designer and organiser and she told us not just the history but also the techniques of the art.

Chris is clearly a local historian of huge expertise and led us through the centuries and the town with the aid of illustrated booklets (thankfully laminated) for each member of the audience. As Chris kept observing "If we go there we'll be here all day". Such was the interest that questions led to further explanations and diversions and we arrived for our coffee in the dome a good half hour late.

Now if that isn't a compliment to our guides in the pouring rain I don't know what is!

The well dressings committee have never done this before which is a great shame. They should certainly do it again next year and I hope it becomes a regular feature of the Fringe. This year you can catch them again on Thursday the 10th but that's it I'm afraid as the carnival intervenes and the wells come down on Sunday. Once the Festival and Well Dressings are back in synch. and the carnival is in the middle again we must hope that there will be opportunity for more walks. Many more people will want to take the opportunity.

John Wilson

The Patchwork of Many Hands - Patchwork Open Studio

The Patchwork of Many Hands

Anyone can do anything on the Fringe, so why not a patchwork workshop?

Kate Aimson, whose intricate patchworks are currently on display in the Pump Room and whose work was praised by Barbara Wilson in her Fringe review last year, has come up with the pleasing idea of drop-in sessions at her Heritage View home, where people can sew together her tiny hexagons of beautiful fabrics into any shape or design they like. At the end of the Fringe, she will sew all the shapes into one 'crazy and multicoloured work', as she puts it. The final piece is to be raffled amongst the participants and I can well imagine that it will be a corker. Kate finds it difficult to say whether her speciality is art or needlework but remarks shrewdly that textile art by men tends to be praised as 'ironic' or significant, whereas textile art by women is dismissed as 'just sewing'.

It is hard to go wrong with such pretty materials and I chose to create a rather wonky tree featuring shades of brown for the trunk and green for the leaves plus the odd surreal red flower. More of a mosaics person than a needlework lover, I failed at the first hurdle being unable to thread the tiny needle but Kate was always on hand and once I got started I relaxed into the process and found myself thinking what a shame it is that we have lost these Jane Austen-like pursuits in favour of vacant hours in front of the telly.

I was the only person at the workshop, which I'm sure will change as the word gets around, but Kate was very easy company telling me about the tradition of quilting in Northumberland where she comes from and showing me books revealing the wacky results than can be achieved with patchwork.

We worked to the gentle musical background of an album called Migrating Bird featuring the songs of Lal Waterson and the time slipped away very pleasantly. Do book yourself in, with or without friends, by phoning Kate on 01298 24897.

Stephanie Billen

And here's the completed Patchwork...

Finished Patchwork of Many Hands