Fair Dos

November 1, 2014



pedal powered rice thresher

It was the Bigtown Fairer World Fair today – always a good opportunity to get a bit of early Christmas shopping done (and then collapse in a virtuous heap feeling you are ahead of the game till about Christmas Eve…). Also a chance to catch up with such splendid things as this pedal powered rice thresher – the brainchild of local agricultural supplies dealer – recruit some folk to my planned guerilla knitting army, and other such right-on activities.

cake spread

Oh, who am I kidding, I go for the cakes. £1 for a cup of coffee (proper coffee too – none of your village hall dishwater) and a massive 50p for a cake, which suggests that whatever they may be paying their farmers, they’re not remunerating their cake makers very well.

I did not have a go at the rice thresher, which looked like a hernia-inducer if ever I saw one, but, having got a lift in, I may have taken a cake-powered mode of transport home with all my loot …

view from the handlebars

And I remembered one aspect of cycling I didn’t miss one bit.

chain marks on trousers

For those suffering similarly, white spirit is the answer.


Coffeeneuring: the Final Frontier

November 10, 2013
giant coffee mug

Now THAT’S a large coffee

This Saturday saw not one but two coffeeneuring opportunities, allowing me to complete my challenge on a high – assuming they’re allowed because both weren’t actual permanent coffee shops but pop ups in a good cause.

The first was Nearest Village’s Big Breakfast which is in aid of the local church. We’re not church people exactly but we are ‘village’ people, as it were, and besides there was the promise of bacon so the other half was even tempted out onto the bike for the mile and a half down to the village (helped by a lovely sparkly November morning). The village hall was absolutely packed and we were glad we’d got down early as we have it on good authority that they’d run out of food before it ended at 11. We’ve learnt the hard way that you can’t hang about when it comes to village events – the concept of being ‘fashionably late’ just doesn’t compute in these parts.

village breakfast

Bacon, eggs, sausage, two kinds of tattie scone and tea dispatched (I steer clear of the village hall coffee as it’s generally instant), we parted ways and I cycled down to Bigtown for the Fairer World Fair, which was showcasing fair trade products, including a pop up cafe with home made cakes (from fair trade ingredients of course) and fair trade coffee. I did some early Christmas shopping which is possibly a tactical error because I’ll now collapse in a virtuous heap and not do any more until the absolute last minute. Rather disconcertingly, because the things I liked were on sale, it all worked out rather cheap as well. I’m pretty sure that’s not how fair trade is supposed to work.

fairtrade coffee and cake

I then bought Friday’s rescuer coffee and cake while we explained to our baffled table companions why we were photographing our food. I’d feel I’d paid her back more thoroughly if the whole thing hadn’t come to the princely sum of £3…

I headed back in the last of the sunshine, having dealt my small blow against global capitalism and feeling good about humanity, a feeling which lasted until I passed the fly-tipped washing machine, bin bags and car tyres dumped in a lay by near the river. After a morning spent with people who are all in their own ways working to make the world a better place, I suppose it served as a salutary reminder that there are also people who go around making the world a worse one too. I do wonder how they live with themselves though.

two bikes

So that’s the coffeeneuring challenge over (pending final adjudication). It’s been fun – I’m not sure it’s done much to get me out on the bike any more than I would have done, but it has extended my range of local coffee shops, encouraged me to be more sociable, and sometimes tempted me off my normal beaten track, which is all to the good. Assuming my fellow coffeenaut completes her challenge today (she was cutting it a bit fine) we shall also have firmly put Bigtown on the coffeeneuring map.

Mileage: 17 miles, or not nearly enough to burn off all the extra calories…