Frost Fair: Collin’s Memoirs Part 1:
Thankyou, friends, for joining me this morning on board the Harlequin Ladybird, do pull up a cat.. er, sorry, I mean a cushion… and make yourselves comfortable as I, Collin The Octopus, read to you all from my marvellous journal of extremely exciting adventures… a-hem…
Good morning ladies and gentleman, welcome to Max and Collin’s spectaculously sparkling and frostulously – friggin – bloody – frozen – solid parlour located in the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster!
True, some have called it an icicle-bedecked hovel where only the most heroically hardy or horrendously hard up would dare to venture, but we laugh in the face of such yellowism and defiantly spit lumps of frozen tea in their general direction.
Yes we’re back, rent in hand, and having trudged through a carpet of disgruntled cats to reclaim our comfortable arm chairs (true some have called them rotting lemonade crates but our mendacity on this front knows no bounds) we are ready to fling wide the parlour doors once more and welcome you all, dear friends, back to a place of incomparable company and incomprehensible conversation…
You find us this morning with our teeth chattering.
This is partly from the indomitable cold which is so tenacious it has even laid claim to our morning cuppa. It is also partly due to the exhilaration of running fifteen miles cross-country trying to throw off a band of (quite unnecessarily determined) Morecambe lemonade dealers who took umbrage at us hawking our superior wares on their turf…probably… that’s our story anyway and we are sticking to it.) And lastly our teeth are chattering with excitement because it is so so cold that The River Lune has frozen solid and that can only mean one thing –
A FROST FAIR!
Frost fairs have been a wintertide tradition here in Ire for centuries. The merry bands of barge traders whose colourful water-wagons traverse the rivers of the scattered isles carrying food and other saleable items from one city to the next are obviously unable to trade when the river freezes over. Not to be put off, however, they cunningly decided to open stalls on the frozen river itself and charge citizens an entrance fee to enjoy the ice. It wasn’t long before they began charging other sales folk to do the same and breaking the legs of anyone fool enough to challenge the legality or ethics of their enterprise.
Well, as you know, we are certainly not in the habit of scrutinising anybody’s morals or ethics, least of all our own, and so we intend to spend the next few weeks out on the ice scoffing illicit tiffin with impunity and attempting ingenious schemes for keeping warm and making the rent.
But before we venture out of our frozen parlour and into the winter wonderland which Lancaster has become, we must begin the whole thing properly with a nice cup of tea.
Our tea this morning is something extra specially delicious to try and mirror our extra specially excited mood aaaaaand fortunately for us it also tastes delicious iced! It’s this Devonly blend of chocolate fudge chai from Post Tea now if we can just use our runcibles to chisel it out of the pot…
Ah yes, dear friends how well I remember those days of hard toil for that frightful scarecrow! Ah well but look what else I have managed to dredge up out of the vaults…
There, how fascinating it is to think that you in your dimension have these Frost Fair things as well! Have any of you ever been to one? Or perhaps can recommend a good book which features one?
Well, I hope you can join us tomorrow for a stroll on the ice and a chat with some of the vendors there, we are hoping in particular to run into Kari Trenten who’s book ‘Wind Me Up One More Time‘ we are enjoying reading immensely.
Until then, please remain always,