Time passes and you must move on
Half the distance takes you twice as long
So you keep on singing for the sake of the song
After the thrill is gone – Henley/Frey
A certain air of melancholy descends once the last person has left an event and the gate has closed. Different in the case, say, of a football stadium with the knowledge that the next game will soon be coming along in the next few days or weeks.
The recent Jersey Festival of Words took place here recently in a huge marquee in Howard Davis Park for the first time. Putting it up was one thing, setting up the audio and video, laying the flooring, setting out the seating was quite another. Then the panic of the day before with the setting up of the various desks and stalls in the separate foyer marquee and the arrival of the food and other stalls. Then the few days of appearances by authors famous and not so much, playing to the public. Then at 10pm on the Saturday night as Lionel Shriver stepped out into the foyer for her book signing session, the take-down in the main marquee had already begun.
On Saturday and Sunday last we had our annual Faîs’sie d’Cidre (Cider Festival). It is one of the remaining old Jersey country fairs and we have unaccustomed crowds visiting Hamptonne to see the big horse helping crush the apples as part of the cider-making process. There is music, food, and lots of other stalls and entertainment. But everyone is gone by 5pm to the relief of our local residents.
Going back in for my Monday shift was a little sad. The remnants of the previous day were being cleared away, the last pressing of the apples was dripping into barrels, very much interesting the wasps. We awaited collection of the last mobile vans by the various vendors. A couple of the staff were recreating their cricket glory days, bowling apples at a bench. I even had a go, reminding myself why I haven’t played for 20 years or more.
And what about the folk who lived here for centuries up to fairly recent times – the young Charles II in waiting was thought to have been a visitor here in late 1649 during his exile. There are fewer places more likely to harbour the ghosts and spirits of those who have passed this way, and the merriment of the weekend must have roused them. But as things returned slowly to normal and the first day visitors arrived, I was not privileged to meet them.