BAMPTON FAIR DAY – An unforgettable day (and the day after)

When we ran the Post Office (our sub branch not the company) we looked forward to Bampton Fair Day with trepidation.  On the one hand we would have a day off and close the shop as it saved a lot of hassle.

I never did ask head office if we could shut up shop, as they may have said no so we just got on and did it. I dreaded the thought of hoards of people tramping through the shop a wet day and the amount of mess I would have to tidy up afterwards. On the other hand we had to find somewhere to move our car out of Brook Street to accommodate the stalls and then we had to put up with stalls clanking away as they were assembled early in the morning. For the first couple of years we did make some money out of the stallholders as they paid us to plug into our electricity but over the years the types of stall outside our house changed and some brought their own generators. Also in the first few years the day luckily coincided with Taunton Races so that was great to escape to but somehow the fixtures got rearranged and it hasn’t happened since.

On fair day when I wandered out of the front door this is what I was greeted by.

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 This year, from our temporary home, this was the first view out of the morning.

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However this year was the opposite as it was a WORKING day. My other half was running a stall in the Riverside Hall and I was on call for fetching and carrying, security (watching out for light fingers), standing in when natured called and refreshments needed.

One little girl took a shine to a cuddly cat on the stall and after a few visits to the stall plucked up courage to ask how much it was.  The price was about £12 but we thought she could have it for £10 as she was keen. She went back to see Grandma who was enjoying a cup of tea at the far end of the hall. After sweet-talking her older relative the little girl came back to buy the cat with 10 pence in her hand!!  We had to let her down gently.  After a few further trips to the stall and several failures to convince Grandma to get her purse out she eventually broke her down and bought a smaller cat for £4.

My other half was talking an opportunity to display the products that she sells on her website http://www.clairejanegifts.co.uk and the best seller on the day was the Dorset Vertical Chicken & Game Roaster as it is a great product to explain how it is used.

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As I was assisting on the stall I did resist calling into the pubs during the day. Another reason for not going in the pub was that during the morning I had a problem with my eye. 

As I’m a man, my other half had to persuade (tell) me to go to the doctors to get it checked out. Bampton Fair Day is a good day to get an appointment at the surgery as the majority of patients cannot get into the town due to the road closures and hassle with parking.  I booked an appointment for 3:30 and by 5:00 I was in Musgrove Hospital in Taunton!  The doctors at the Bampton Surgery suggested I go to Icasualty straightaway thinking at first it was a new product from Apple but unfortunately not and they meant Eye Casualty.

Steve, of Bampton Blog fame http://bampton.blogspot.co.uk kindly volunteered to take me to Taunton, just as I was about to jump in my car and take myself.  Good job really I was later unable to drive home after eye drops.

The surgery suggested I got to the hospital before 5pm and I arrived at 4:58 however the Eye Casualty in Taunton is not a walk-in service as Exeter is.  It was fine as they explained I would have to wait for a doctor who was currently performing surgery.  The Bampton doctor did suggest I took a book with me as it could a bit of a wait so I took my kindle, however not very long after arrival I was given drops in both of my eyes which made reading the kindle a bit blurry so I didn’t bother. After a while I was despatched from casualty to a ward escorted by a nurse who asked, “Are you staying overnight?” I said that I wasn’t planning to!

The doctor appeared and gave me a thorough examination and found I had a small tear on my retina, and not knowing how squeamish I am, said I had go back the next day for laser treatment. Bugger!

My other half had arrived by this time and took me back home where we just had time to visit some friends who had invited us up for food and drinks. I did get the expected comments “ We can’t find a parrot for you” “ Do you need a patch”…

By the time we arrived everyone else had gone past the drinking stage and were on the coffee so they had to watch us catch up.  I needed something to help me sleep.

I did miraculously sleep and was dropped off at the hospital at noon to wait my turn for the operation. I was told it could be a while as I had been tagged onto the end of days list.

The surgeon came to see me and re-examined me then explained the procedure. A local anaesthetic by an injection in the eye …….yuk…then the laser. As only a small tear I thought maybe only a couple of seconds but no, about 10 to 15 minutes. Gordon Bennett.

I walked into the theatre and was laid out and made comfortable. The injection was well explained again to me by the anaesthetist who then did the deed – in fact is wasn’t anywhere near as bad as you would imagine. I was a brave soldier. The lasering after that was a piece of cake. In fact the worst bit was when the surgeon quickly removed the plaster he put on my other eye to protect it from the laser.

I did receive some bad news from the surgeon after the operation in that I should not go to watch my football team play at Cheltenham on the Saturday!

Let’s hope it has sorted me out and I’m due back for a check up in 10 days time, which is a slight problem as I had promised to work in a Post Office, Barnstaple way, as they were desperate for a relief PO worker so I need to resolve the problem early next week.

If you want to catch up with some photographs of what happened on Bampton Fair Day them take a look at Humphrey’s collection http://www.bampton.org.uk/charterfair/fair-slides13.html 

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