Saturday, 30 July 2011
Sink or Swim?
Or paddle valiantly on? So often the dilemma in life. But it's not one of those posts today. Instead it's a post in honour of the 28th Aberdour Festival Raft Race - and the joys of homeland, parents, love and celebration.
This weekend has been an extended stay for me in the homeland with the parents, my big sister and the 8 year old whirlwind of energy that is my nephew. The reason - apart from enjoying time with family - was to celebrate Mum and Dad's 50th (Golden) Wedding Anniversary. I confess there were times I didn't think they would make it that far - either for reasons of disagreement or ill health. But make it they did, and we had a party in the garden to celebrate.
It was a small select gathering, and all the better for the intimacy. Everyone either knew or knew of each other. Mum's two remaining bridesmaids were there - one of whom had travelled from southern Germany for the event (and remains with us for the rest of the weekend) with close friends and family making up the rest of the party. The sun shone, the caterers outdid themselves and a great time was had by all.
And then this morning it was up bright and early for the start of the Aberdour Festival - something which didn't really play a particularly significant role in my childhood years since it wasn't really invented until after I was adult and away from home, and so this morning's procession of the Festival King and Queen was my first ever. Probably my last as well - in true village style it was a somewhat understated event - Aberdour types appear to be far too sophisticated to turn out for a procession, and definitely too cool, on the whole, to take part in the fancy dress element.
The raft race wasn't a first. In fact, by my calculation I was a participant in probably the 2nd ever raft race. It wasn't a great success from memory - and Mum's photographic evidence. Our raft got as far as 10 yards from the shore before sinking spectacularly and heaving us all into the drink. Actually, 10 yards might be an exaggeration. These year's entrants were all more successful - they had rafts that were actually sea-worthy and if not steer-worthy, they did at least manage to make it round the course and still be (almost) floating by the end of the course.
Much to be admired - paddling on even when there's no hope of winning the race just for the sheer hell of staying the course. I suspect there's a lesson in there...