‘We need to go and look for snoods. Now that’s not something you hear us say every day!’
We’re well into the afternoon of our second Pickering War Weekend, and I’m into my second outfit of the day, the first having been great, but far too hot for the unseasonably hot weather. Last year, there had been a distinct nip in the air, and I’d been very grateful for my wool dress and jacket and fox fur, which I ended up loaning to J when she was frozen.
This year, as my main outfit, I’d selected a burgundy dress and coat from Costume Hire, topped with an even more dramatic fox fur, brown felt hat, and the same shoes as last year. It looks great, but I am sweltering. I try to adapt by taking off the coat, but then I’m lumbered with carrying it.
We’d caught the tail end of the parade of war time vehicles earlier, and hit a sea of people as we tried to move from the railway station and up the main street. I’ve never seem Pickering so busy. I’m sure are were more people in costume than last year – and, crucially, more people in ‘good’ costume. A girl is singing into a microphone outside the conservative club, and I know most of the songs she sings.
Pushing our way though, we manage to get into one of the coffee shops after a short wait. I love seeing everyone sitting there, glamorous ladies in hats and men in uniform of smart suits, sipping tea and eating cake. Many of the cafes enter into the spirit, by offering a wartime menu – though sadly not at wartime prices.
There are lots of vintage traders with stalls, where, at a price, you can get a pair of shoes, a uniform from any of the services, a smart little two piece ‘costume’*, and all the accessories. I manage to resist, apart from buying an RAF hat. Not much use without the rest of the uniform, but I have a real hankering to be part of the Air Force next year.
We decide to pop back to K and V’s house for lunch, and on the way meet J and P, who have just arrived. ‘You look like Agatha Christie’, she says. I can’t say it’s the most flattering comparison I’ve ever had, but I know what she means.
Once back, I decide to change into my second outfit, on the basis that it will be cooler. It’s a air force blue dress, with a jacket of my mum’s. I’m wearing my wig, but have caught the back of it up in a snood, and a small blue vintage hat. I’m still wearing the fox fur on top, however.
Heading this time to the station, I meet up with J and P, and we for more tea and cake, before I browse round more vintage stalls, and loiter on the station, waiting for the train to come in so that I can play at Brief Encounter. Only my outfit isn’t as perfect for that as last year’s.
As the shops begin to close for the day, I find my snood on a stall, and we take a last walk up the main street. We see a couple of German officers. It’s a strange, and slightly chilling sight.
Back at the house, it’s time for our Wartime meal. This year we’ve all taken something. V has prepared corned beef hash, and I’ve made a ‘Woolton Pie’, which is basically all vegetables. We decide they must have eaten a lot of carrots and potatoes in wartime, as they are a substantial part of the meal. J has brought red cabbage. As a meal, it’s really very tasty. We’re all full, and tired out by the time we finish it. Going back in time nearly 70 years sure takes it out of you.
Roll on next year.
*My mum always called her suits 'costumes'. I guess a man wore a suit, and a lady a costume.
Labels: dressing up, War Weekend