Friday, June 15, 2012

Time Travel Weekend Part II: 1940s Day at Valley Gardens

The day after we went to the 1480s encampment at Fountains Abbey, we went to the 1940s Day at Valley Gardens! Obviously that meant lots of World War II memorabilia, dress, and activities.

Most of the action was centered around the Sun Pavilion, a great art deco building that features an amazing sky light.

Before the crowds got there

Here comes the sun!

Down the hill from the Sun Pavilion is a small stage which was flanked by some booths selling food and drinks or offering carnival games.

The beer tent wasn't open yet

The stage and a couple of booths

So you can tell by the pictures we were there a bit too early. Things didn't start till 11 and we were wandering around at 10:30. Luckily, the display of World War II vehicles was all ready for visitors.

Approaching the encampment

Rations for display, not consumption (though the ale probably did see some action)

Jacob spotted a jeep and wanted to try it out. We were unsure so we asked one of the guys standing around. He went off and found the owner. The owner said it was fine for the kids to get in and enjoy the jeep.

That's the owner in the background

Jacob pretends to start it up

Lucy pretends to drive

Uneasy rider

The bloke told us how his father had bought the jeep but never had the means to fix it up. He bought it from his dad last year and spent a good bit of effort getting it back in shape. He said it is road worthy, though the wheels shake a bit over 30 mph. He took it off-roading once and it performed admirably.

We walked down the row, as if we were inspectors. We saw many fine vehicles. At one point, Jacob said, "I wish these all were toys." One of the ladies dressed in forties attire piped up, "They are toys, for grown up men."

Just the thing for a great escape!

More camping

The Aussie fully locked and loaded jeep (yes that is a motor bike on the front)

Lots of ammo from the good old days

We saw some other period pieces that weren't involved in the war. This stripped-down version of a milk truck was fascinating to me. If you only have one or two cows, I guess you probably don't have a lot to deliver.

Maximum storage for a unpowered bike

A steam-powered tractor seemed like it was old-fashioned even for the 1940s. It looked quite handsome anyway, and surely could deliver a lot more milk and butter.

This could haul a lot of milk

The front view

Another attraction was the "Flying Yachts." For £1 per child, rides provided the excitement of flying through the air in a small sea ship. Jacob was delighted. Lucy kept looking over at the hand-powered round-about (merry-go-round to us Americans). But she had fun anyway.

Okay, in this shot, Jacob is the one looking at the round-about

A happy flier

Since we were already at Valley Gardens, we could not get away without going to the playground. Another massive construction project is underway. It looks like it will be toilets. I didn't take any pictures because we've done enough of that already.

Jacob did want to go to the loo while we were there. Walking down, we discovered that the Old Magnesia Well Pump Room was open for curious people's satisfaction. Jacob had no interest in seeing it. I said we could check on it when we came back. I completely forgot about it.

After playing at the playground, we headed back to our car. It was parked on the other side of the 1940s area, so we had one last glance at the goings on. Unfortunately, the band had not started playing swing tunes yet, so Mommy and Daddy couldn't dance. We did see another band, though they were marching away from us rather than toward us. They played a marching tune. Take a listen:

Too bad they were going the other way. We were on our way out, otherwise we'd have tried to get some better footage. There's always next year!

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