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It allus rains come feast week

Evening Telegraph, Monday, October 3, 1994

It allus rains come feast week

IT was raining and once again it was Rushden Feast week. The weather doesn't seem to change over the years!

I met some old Alfred Street school friends from the 40s and 50s and we spent all afternoon remembering those days.

Since leaving Rushden I have taught for over 20 years and now work as a writer in schools often using Rushden and Northants' memories in my talks and readings about the 40s and 50s. 'Rushden Feast circa 1948-59' is popular with schools and evening groups.

Perhaps readers would enjoy it too especially as Rushden Feast had been visiting Spencer Park - and it was raining once again.

Feast's come, we'd whisper in class,
'Ayya gooing down Rec?
After school we'd cycle to the park
Fling our bikes on the wet grass
And ogle the fairground men
Envious of their exciting world
Of generators, thumping in the midst
Of shining caravans and snaking cables

We sniffed the smell of axle grease and oil
Mingled with dank, disturbed earth
And sappy grass
Crushed by huge machines

In Wellington boots I tightly held my mother
Squelching through the mud
"It allus rains come Feast Week"

Night-time, coloured by a thousand lights
And haunting hurdy gurdy sounds
We carouselled and bumpered cars
Whilst lurid pictures, loudly shrieked
Come and see the tattooed lad
Jingling in their harem pants
They're for the adults dear

Amid cheers and jeers, the local lads
Would pitch their strength
In boxing booths
Against the fairground toughs

At coconut shies
The thud of wooden balls on canvas
The rifle's crack and clack
Of bangled hoop-la rings
Hypnotised, we stared at spinning candyfloss
Gossamer pink and sickly sweet
It cloyed the nightly air

Coppers clutched in sweaty fists
For roll-a-penny and slot machines
Disappointed howls from kids
With bowls of broken glass and gasping goldfish
Stale onions and the wretch of vomit
Behind the fence

"Feast's gorn"
A few lone youths, coin glean,
Between pale rings of flattened grass
The magic of the "Feast"
Now past.

Anita Marie Sackett

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