Wartime wardrobes come to Peacetime Pickering!
Once a year, the small and discreet market town of Pickering, on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors in England, plays host to a unique event. For 72 hours, the town is transformed into what can only be described as the embodiment of V.E. Day.
The children donned their gas masks (literally!) and I spent a good 30 minutes cursing the woman on YouTube who had demonstrated how to turn my lank mop of mummyish style-free hair into a passable version of Vivienne Leigh. Is it my 21st century hair products and their awesome smoothing effects or am I just crap at this? I could have done with putting my hands on backwards and washing my hair in authentic carbolic soap, but I somehow overcame the struggle and wrestled my mane into a Victory Roll.
I stepped from the bathroom to find my hubby dressed as a comedy Frenchman. “No, dear, I am from the British Army in North Africa, so the man in the costume shop said. ” (Chortle). He reciprocated by almost falling over backwards when he saw my red Jane Russell lipstick. Laughter, I explained, was not an option due to severe smudging hazard…
We arrived, feeling somewhat self-conscious amongst the 21st century suburban housing and modern vehicles as we parked the car, but we need not have worried. As we turned the corner we were met with a fabulous sight… the town was abuzz with banjo players, steam trains, spontaneous tea dances and vintage clothing.
A parade was just about to begin, so we sought a good vantage point for our two evacuee children and settled in to watch. Jeeps, marching military bands, flapping headscarves and red lipstick, tanks and bicycles.
There were G.I.s and Tommys side by side, and the glorious blue of the RAF uniform brought a lump to my throat.
Our youngest son stood transfixed as we stumbled upon a 40s singer entertaining the crowds on the High Street. Couples were dancing the Foxtrot with authentic perfection.
A tug at my skirt brought me down to my son’s enquiring face…..
A small boy was coining in the cash in an old box, simply by looking cute in his shorts & cap, standing on a home-made wood-and-tin-can scooter contraption.
The sun reliably cooperated all day as we munched on bacon ‘butties’ and browsed vintage clothing stalls.
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