May 29th 2017
Today was an incredibly British day. The last Monday of May is the Spring bank holiday in the UK, and the day of the annual Duck Race in the village that my Mum grew up in.
The phrase ‘duck race’ means something to me because I grew up around it, but I’m aware that to almost all of the people reading this it probably means absolutely nothing, so I’ll explain.
It’s a race of ducks, naturally. A group of ducks swim down a river and the first one to the finish line wins. Except, the ducks aren’t living ducks. They’re yellow plastic bathtub ducks. Is that normal? That’s probably not normal. It feels really normal to me, but from the outside it’s probably fucking bizarre.
Basically, each duck has a number on the bottom of it, and you buy a load of duck race tickets, and if the number on your ticket matches the number on the winning duck then you get £50. (which seems a pretty measly prize considering there are 1800 ducks and the tickets cost £1 each)
It sounds ridiculous but it’s like this massive community event that people travel from all over the place to come to. There isn’t even 2000 people in my Grandma’s village but that’s how many people turned up. The whole thing is just so quintessentially British.
So, of course it rained. And it fucking poured.
I had to navigate the streets armed with an umbrella the size of a small island, trying to avoid going into battle with other umbrella-wielding duck race attendees.
It’s not just the duck race that provides the entertainment, there’s a load of other fair/fete/food stalls.
My Grandma won some fabric softener and some hot chocolate on the tombola. And again, that might be the most British thing to have ever happened.
Although, they had to deflate the Bouncy Castles because it was raining too much – and that’s a pretty British sentence too. Don’t they look sad?
The only dry area of the whole fair/fete was at the petting zoo. Where I saw a girl sat stroking a tortoise’s shell and I thought ‘can he feel that? I’m sure he wouldn’t be able to feel that’
We then found some more shelter in the Church, where I found evidence of my Christening. (I actually had two Christenings because I had chicken pox for the first one)
We also climbed the spiral staircase to ring the church bells. (bit of historic Britishness, there)
There was even a hog roast.
And, after all that great British excitement we stood in the rain and watched a man in wellies run through a river chasing after some plastic ducks.
A lot of plastic ducks.
Until tomorrow, God save the queen.