Never had the grass looked greener, or shorter with the lovely weather during the days running up to Saturday's event allowing us all to get the paddock looking its best, the ladies' raking being most noticeably effective. A new layout too, including a bigger and better blue tent to replace one casualty of wind after the last party. The sun shone and the wind died down as Saturday arrived. We still didn't risk attaching all the tent sides, though, but once it got a bit darker it didn't matter a great deal.
The main dish was, as always, a roast pig and the queues seemed to start almost as soon as people arrived. We'd not realised that a new supplier sent only a man to carve the enormous joint, not serve it which resulted in some people going off with huge piles of pork with non-existent portion control! Luckily there was still just about enough for everyone.
There were enough live acts this year to run from start to finish - no CDs required. No doubt everyone will have their own favourite but I was really impressed with two acts: a chap called Nelson who had a slot in between the big starts of the night, a local blues and rock band called Deep Blue. Or something like that. No, not Deep Blue Something - that was Breakfast at Tiffany's and this was Hogroast at Maggie's. They rattled through Jimi Hendrix, Cream and variations on the theme and had a good crowd prancing around, some attractively and others less so. The jazz band have been to every event now and still don't look any older which always strikes me as a little weird. They're good, though and proved very popular as did the opening act, Blue Velvet and Jenny, a talented singer and pianist. All the acts played for free - for that quality of performance we'd never have been able to afford to pay what they deserve! All are local so, if anyone musically talented moves into the village before next August we'll have a mini festival on our hands! All from a modest 'let's have a party in the paddock' idea from 9 years ago.
The Saladeers had excelled themselves with far more salad than even a week's worth of paddock partygoers could have consumed, of which I am advised that a concoction involving cashew nuts and beans and things was particularly good.
A perseid made a brief appearance and guests did spend quite a bit of time watching the sky and bumping into each other in the hope of seeing some more shooting stars. Attracting a great deal of attention on the ground was Adrian's copper-coated contraption. Looking like a cross between a large bullet and a kid's drawing of a rocket, he had prepared it for service just an hour or two beforehand. No-one was terribly sure quite what might happen when filled with fuel and ignited. As can be seen from the photos, though, it produced plenty of heat and some nice-looking flames and proved decidedly photogenic if you are looking for something to scare the children with next Hallowe'en.
Although the calculations are still being done, it does look as though a tidy sum will have been raised from the generosity of both guests buying raffle tickets and hosts and friends' efforts to make the event, once again, a roaring success, probably the best so far!
More about that soon. For now, enjoy the snaps.