Below the house in Astley Park, there is an ornamental lake covered in water lilies, sadly not in bloom in late July, and the home to noisy ducks. On an ordinary day there is a permanent path from the house, round the lake to the lower lawns where there were more exhibits to enjoy at the flower show.

To cope with the crowd they put in a temporary pontoon bridge across the lake. A perculiar thing happened as we were crossing it. Back in 2000, they opened a footbridge across the River Thames in London. It connects St. Paul’s Cathedral to the Tate Modern Gallery on the South Bank. It’s rather elegant and cost a fortune. They opened it and, almost immediately, had to close it down. When people cross a bridge we do a strange thing. We unconsciously match our steps to the steps of everyone else on the bridge rather like a platoon of soldiers marching. The steps set up vibrations and the vibrations caused the bridge to sway alarmingly throwing people off their feet. They had to close the bridge for months and add features to stop the movement. Before they reopened it they had platoons of soldiers march across it to see what would happen. It stayed still. Crossing the bridge at Astley Park on Saturday, the same thing began to happen. It felt like being on an unstable boat in bad weather. On the way back we used the other path.

Before we checked out the other marquees we had a drink. There was a pop up theatre surrounded by street food vans. The concept of street food has moved way beyond the big metropolitan areas like London and Manchester and every festival in the smallest of places has vans selling artisan this and small batch that. We wanted a drink. It was a choice between the Presecco Van….

….or it being Pimms-o-clock from the bar made out of a butchered classic Mini…

We went for the Pimms. It’s Pimms mixed with lemonade with ice, cut fruit and cucumber added. It’s a staple of the English summer and drunk by the tanker load at places like Wimbledon…

We listened to this young lady singing. She is a local girl with a good voice. Throughout the festival different, local, amateur acts entertained people. She sang an eclectic mix of songs from the likes of George Michael to Katy Perry. Then she did a little speech. She’d promised a friend she would do something. Her friend had been injured in the attack at the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena a few weeks ago. She said she wanted to sing a song as a tribute to her and the others. One of the victims who died was from Chorley and the youngest victim who died, just 8, was from a small village not far from the town. She did a beautiful rendition of ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ by Oasis. It’s become an anthem for the city this year. Good girl.

The Red Rose flag of Lancashire was flying proudly reminding us where we were. Sorry Yorkshire…

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