Visited my youngest daughter's school today for their Annual Summer Fair. There's something reassuring about a school fete - as parents, we're all perfectly happy to donate all the old bits and pieces of 'stuff' that we accumulate in our kitchens and garages - only to fill the space we've created by lugging home everyone else's old tat that by now we've paid good money for!
This was a particularly well-organised event, with 'magic' as the theme, and it started with a procession down the road to the school dressed as wizards and warlocks. There were at least twenty five Harry Potters, each with a nasty looking zigzag scar on their forehead - mysteriously in the precise shade of their Mum's eyeliner...
Books, videos and DVDs were bought and sold, along with second hand school uniform, cakes and buns. The barbecue and beer tent were welcome additions this year, as were the "Ocean Blue Twirlers", a local majorette troupe. Performances from the school wind and brass ensemble led by the head teacher, and a very good magician kept the kids and parents thrilled.
But it was the maypole dancing that fascinated me. It seems to herald in the summer every year in schools across Kent. And you know, it certainly doesn't seem four decades ago that I stood in precisely the same costume, learning the same dances as these little ones did today.
When we all seem to be rushing too fast, burning our collective candles at both ends (and sometimes in the middle too!) it's strangely reassuring to see that some things stay the same across the generations.