I made it to Flora Day yesterday with my brother and nieces. An early start at my sisters place. The requisite downing of cock sucking cowboys along with numerous bloody mary’s got the show on the road. My sister is beloved by a fraternity of party people and Flora Day figures large on their calendar. Before lunch I had met, hugged and drank with more friends than I had in the past year.
Walking the streets is a lucky dip of meetings and greetings. Every second person seems to be a familiar face or old friend. You find yourself chatting to complete strangers trying to work out if you ever actually knew each other. When you both finally realise that ‘nope we have no connection whatsoever’, you have made a new friend to look out for next year.
The early morning or childrens dance is the first of the day. I remember dancing it with Rachel Laity, (where are you now Rachel?). It is closely followed by the Hal-an-tow. This is not a dance it is general mayhem. I love it. Not least because ChrisJack, who took over from Mr Kernow, does such a wonderful job of parlaying the show for the crowds. I have a particular affinity toward the Spaniards as I played this role the first time I participated. If I am remembered people always mention the pink pantaloons.
After my sisters place, following the dancers and the Hal-an-tow we eventually wondered up to Church Street to listen to the beautiful singing. I met yet another dear friend and we talked when we should of listened to the singing. I sometimes wish I could replay the day in different configurations because I want to experience every aspect of it. I want to listen to Brian Peters and the other singers, I want to talk with my old friends Rick and Viv after a lifetime away but I can’t do both. We left the singers and joined the crowds to greet the Midday Dance in Lismore Gardens. I met more very dear and lovely friends and lost some in the crowd. I had laughed more than I had cried. The alcohol was no longer effecting me and I was waining.
When the Midday Dance arrived we took our leave and went over to the neighbouring town of Porthleven for a pasty and an ice-cream. My brother and Rosie decided to head home after that and dropped me back into Helston. I fell asleep for a time on my sisters couch before Rebecca arrived and rightfully declared me a lightweight. Chastened, I had a cup of tea and relaunched into town.
I found the afternoon dance snaking it’s way through the shops on Trengrouse Way. I begun to notice unusual onlookers. A lady looked at me and then came and stood too close. I noticed her heavy make-up was smeared on her coat. A group of belligerent men pushed through the crowd. A couple staggered and supported each other, eyes unfocused and drunk. I remembered the bad times, the violence. The crowd or I had changed and I decided Flora Day was done for me.
I felt like clearing my head so I walked a long circuit of Loe Pool. It felt right walking home late in the day from Flora Day, as I had done so many times before.Have a comment?