Saturday August 31st.
At last the day had arrived for us to use one of the Christmas present from our daughters.
The Battle Proms picnic concert at nearby Ragley Hall.
Although Ragley Hall is only eight miles from home, we’d never been to a concert before, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect.
We knew there would be lump in throat patriotic singing, and weather permitting the Grace Spitfire would give a display, but apart from that everything was a bit vague.
I’d checked the website, ‘Relax with your hampers and champers’ it said.
Ha!, a posh picnic, how spiffingly British.
Neither of us are overly impressed with champagne and we don’t possess a picnic hamper, so it looked rather like we were going to be the odd ones out.
As we were going on holiday on the Sunday morning, I’d suggested to T we go down in the motorhome. We could pack it up during the Saturday morning, then we’d be fully equipped with varying items of clothing, depending on the weather, our camping chairs and a fridge full of food.
After checking with the organisers if there would be space to park it, we were pleasantly surprised to be told ‘No problem, and if you wish to stay overnight, we won’t move you on’
Now that would have been perfection, but as dogs were not allowed, we thanked them, but said, we would be leaving after the concert.
Motorhome fully equipped with a fridge full of food and a bottle of red, we set off at 4pm to the venue.
Once parked up in the grounds of Ragley, and not being in any sort of hurry, we sat in the motorhome for a couple of minutes, trying to get an idea of what folk did.
Bloody hell!!! many of them looked like they’d brought everything but the kitchen sink……tables, chairs, hampers, rugs, coats, hats, scarves, flags, and there was no strolling to the arena, they were almost running.
We looked at each other……and almost simultaneously announced ‘do you think we’d better join them?’
T grabbed the camping chairs out of the motorhome, and set of at an alarming pace, leaving me, looking decidedly underdressed in vest, leggings and sandals, to lock the van.
I eventually caught up with him ‘what’s the rush’ I asked ‘It doesn’t start for another half an hour’
‘We’ve got to get a good seat Vic’ he replied.
Considering T was carrying our seats, I think he meant to say a good patch of grass 😀
Picking our way between cloth covered tables, spread with an array of food and drink that would have done the banqueting table in Ragley Hall proud, we plonked our two chairs down and sat and looked at each other.
After we’d claimed our square meter of turf, I strolled back to the van to get my jacket and change my sandals for my boots. I collected the wine and glasses, and some food from the fridge bringing them back in a supermarket bag 😳 it will be the coolbox next time 😉
Let the show begin:
The Rockabellas opened with a variety of songs, ranging from 1940’s wartime favourites to modern day. They were excellent, and really got everyone in the mood.
This was followed by The Blades Aerobatic Display a civilian display team of former Red Arrows pilots.
They were taking booking from anyone wishing to fly with them. A bit out of our price range, but it was to raise funds for Combat Stress a very worthy charity.
There was a Napoleonic cavalry display, which we couldn’t see from our seats, though it was displayed on a big screen next to the stage.
Then for T and I the highlight of the evening The Grace Spitfire flown by Carolyn Grace. Click on the link and read the poignant story of how Carolyn Grace became the pilot.
The sound of this plane brings a lump to my throat, but accompanied by a favourite piece of music from Elgar, my eyes were leaking totally. Apologies for the brief bit of video, but it gives a bit of an insight to it.
The Spitfire then flew off into the distance, as everyone waved their flags.
The 1812 Overture including live canon fire brought us up to the interval.
Taking note of out position, tables, candles, location of big flags and the man with the bowler hat etc. I decided to venture to the toilet, but returning to a pitch black field (no I didn’t have a torch), I totally lost my bearings. I wandered aimlessly amongst the other lost folk. Most were on their mobiles ‘where are you?’ ‘wave the flag’, ‘shine the torch (SOS )’ I could here some saying.
Ha! good idea I though, till I realised my phone was in my bag on my seat next to T 😳
Eventually, well after the second half had started, and I was debating to return alone to the motorhome for the rest of the evening, I stumbled across T.
‘Where the hell have you been’ he said
‘I got lost’ I replied
‘Why didn’t you take note of our surroundings’
I did, but everyone has got similar tables, candles, flags, and there must have been at lease a hundred men in bowler hats’
The evening continued with some more lump in throat music, Jerusalem, Rule Britannia and Pomp and Circumstance, with a grand finale of fireworks.
I’ve tried to capture a little of the atmosphere on the video below, but nothing could beat being there.
Next year, we thought the girls might join us, and we’ll know how to do it properly, including bringing a torch. 😀
Thanks to EllaDee for this link about the remarkable Carolyn Grace