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Thoughts from July 2007

ainsdale show

Legend has it that the Ainsdale Show is probably the oldest one-day show in the North West, and when Row, Karen, Amy, Helen and Matt (below) rocked up, things hadn't been plain sailing for the event organisers in the days prior to show day. As if gales blowing down the children's tent wasn't enough, vandals also wrecked the main tents 48 hours beforehand. But acts of nature and mindless vandalism wasn't going to deter anyone from enjoying themselves at the 87th year of this show. Oh no, especially since Matt was going to wear his now-famous trousers.

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First off, it was time to crown the new Floral Queen, Lauren, aged 11. Clearly a sought-after position, Lauren wowed us all with her speech, and she told us, exclusively we might add, that she's a keen football player and scored a hat trick on her very first match for Birkdale United.

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We then went and had a wander through the different tents, and Matt reminisced about the time he won best floral display. Matt's Mum even won first prize for her jam, so clearly the Atkinson family are a hotbed of show-winning-talents.

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By lunchtime, the gloomy skies had cleared and the sun was shining brightly. The show was packed and we were treated to the local cheerleaders strutting their stuff, the Rosebud competition, and displays by the YMCA Gymnastics Club to name but a few. Our ball in the bucket game proved to be quite a hit with several youngsters trying for up to an hour to get the ball in the err .. bucket.

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The tempo started to pick up once Simon Jay, the "Dynamic Vocal Entertainer" took to the stage and we were all dazzled by his sparkly shirt, his ability to get everyone dancing, well, at least Helen and Row, and his extraordinary dance moves.

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But it was the arrival of the H&M Dog Display team which really got our pulses racing, as admittedly, it was what we'd all been waiting for. The thought of dogs leaping through hoops of fire was too exciting to contemplate.

One particular dog, Pep, a relative newcomer to the display scene was our particular favourite (he's seen here in a "Learner" dog-gro) but didn't let that stop him getting involved.

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No dogs were harmed during the display, and remember kids, don't try this at home.

Of course, the day wasn't complete without having a traditional northern meal to help us keep going. Matt took us to the Busy Bee, the "best fish and chips in Ainsdale," (his and indeed their words), where we enjoyed a truly glorious portion of chips, mushy peas and gravy.

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All in all, we had a great time, leaving to the strains of Chris de Burgh accompanying the Tai-Kwando team. A perfect ending, we're sure you'll all agree. Our thanks to the lovely people of Ainsdale, Oliver and Lindsay for their help, and for Oliver giving Row a lift home.

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I meant to post this as a video for Friday afternoon but got a little busy. Here it is as a video for a Monday though, let it be your inspiration to 'think outside of the box' this week.

(Give it 60 seconds or so to get going then you'll be hooked, we promise).

ball in the bucket

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This weekend our mini fete made its way to the Cornbury music festival near Oxford, where among other highlights such as The Proclaimers, Echo and the Bunnymen and Blondie, our ball in the bucket game was clearly a big hit.

our VAT campaign gets juicy

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Today was a very exciting day because we got to spend some time with a real live MP, Tom Watson. He’s recently been described in a newspaper as Gordon Brown’s ‘special operations’ man. We weren’t quite sure what that meant, but it sounded impressive.

He’s backing our campaign to get VAT on all 100% juices and smoothies reduced to 5%. Tom agrees that a government wanting the nation to be healthier shouldn’t let foods like pies and chips be sold VAT free in supermarkets, whilst healthy juices and smoothies get the full 17.5%

We went along to his local school, Grove Vale to announce our campaign to help the nation consume up to one billion more portions of fruit a year. The kids greatly enjoyed our grassy van as you can see.

If you haven’t had time, yet don’t forget to sign our petition and join the 12,000 other people who reckon that juices and smoothies should be more affordable to help us hit our five a day.

Claire

just smashing

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From our friends at Taylors of Harrogate

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Jacob, Chris and Kate show us how it's done

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From the kind folk at Soup

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Sent in by the lovely Rebekah

You may know that we're trying to smash the world record for the longest piece of bunting ever, to be displayed at our Village Fete on the 4th and 5th of August. We've had some truly insprirational pieces in so far, as you can see. If you'd like to help out and get creative with your pinking shears, we'd be really grateful. Click here to find everything you need to know, including the pattern and where to send the finished product. Just think, you could even show off your handiwork to your Granny at the fete (we reckon she'd be pretty proud).