So, the dust has settled a little on Ossett’s first Flocking extravanganza. If you didn’t come, you missed a terrific day, one of the longest but finest days I can remember.
It began at 2am, after not very much sleep, I’d been up until midnight crocheting lanyards for hastily produced ID badges … I could’ve gone to bed earlier but my new found ‘everything in life must be knitted or crocheted’ mantra was ringing in my ears so I set to with the crochet hook and made 30 brightly coloured lanyards instead of going to bed. The car was packed with STUFF, wool, spraymount, ukuleles, music stand, plastic sheeting, gaffa tape, song sheets, bunting, pom poms and the dog. And off we went.
The most nerve-wracking thing about any of the activities we’ve planned under the Ossett Observer banner has been ‘Will anyone come, will people be arsed’ Ossett wisdom has it that ‘oooh Ossett people don’t want that, oooh Ossett people can’t be bothered’ but the very nature of this project has demanded that people will be bothered, that they’ll make an effort, step up and take part, in the name of change. What’s that old adage, if you keep doing what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always had. Well it was time for Ossett to change the way it’s done things. As I drove onto the Ossett market place a little after 3am, I almost cried with delight that an army of women and men were up trees, suspended from railings and already tackling lampposts to install our SOCKS Yarnstorming project.
There was one of those sharp intake of breath moments when you think, I’m not on my own, people are here, I didn’t drag them out of bed, they’re here, they’re here because they want to be. I have to say it was one of those bursty heart moments when you can’t believe the loveliness of people.
The day continued in the same vein, we’d planned it well and given our small army of volunteers tasks to carry out and everyone just got on with it. Messrs Jamie and Matthew Austerfield ages 8 and 11 respectively just cracked on as exectutives in charge of pompoms and finger knitting and by 6am Ossett was looking pretty damned smart.
Folks turned up unexpectedly and said ‘Right, what do you want me to do?’ … the offers of help and people wanting to get involved, to participate overwhelmed me. 7am walking the parade route with John Parrish and a pile of discarded chips were strew across our path … ‘I’m off to get a broom’ and with that he was off, he found a broom and swept the market place himself … I shan’t get into an exocet rant here about how the local authority had promised ‘IN WRITING’ that the town would be cleaned in advance of the event … it wasn’t … although a sulky bloke riding a street sweeper did turn up at 9am and wondered why the place was covered in wool and there was a market on. Duh!!
Everything was on our side.
Given the utterly miserable weather we’ve had this summer, the sun shone, people came, people stayed and they joined in and they smiled. The sun shone right up until the moment we didn’t need it to shine anymore, once our paper sheep had been paraded around the town and were safely back in their pen in Ossett’s Library, once people had bought things from the market, listened to the storyteller, seen Torvil and Dean, been barked at by a madman with a megaphone, chatted to a ten foot Heron, listened to a fine brass band, been serenaded by the street cafe’s accordionist, taken part in the swap shop, seen the street theatre, made something lovely in Space To Create … only THEN did The heavens open … and boy did they open … they opened on top of an assembled throng of about 50 ukulele players singing ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’. No one worried, everyone was happy. The assembled audience shouted ‘Carry On, Carry On’ and so we carried on.
No one went home and if they did they came back with their kids to make something in Space To Create or with something to swap at the Swap Shop or to catch something else they’d noticed in our programme.
By 4pm it was all over. Sodden Tarpaulins had to be folded back into the car. Heavy wet wool was left on our trees and railings. The Brass Band had played their last tune (ironically ‘Singing in the rain’) and only our Sheepy Sirens remained, playing songs in the coffee shop entertaining with their Ukuleles as they had all day, in Barber Shops and Hairdressers and in any gap or space they could find where folks weren’t being entertained.
It was truly a magical day, we planned it, we delivered it, people came and they enjoyed it.
So … what next? well who knows. Flock To Ossett 2? Son of Flock? Flock – The Revenge? …
We’ve planned a SOCIAL for Wednesday July 25th at The Red Lion in Ossett. Our knitters will be in attendance but we’d like anyone who wants to get involved next time to come along and say hello and anyone who was involved this time to come along and share a group hug and pat on the back.
There’ll also be a screening of a specially commissioned Short Film that we made about Flock To Ossett. And Cake, did I mention the cake??
Be lovely to see you there.
Below are some links to lovely articles, videos and photographs of Flock To Ossett.