Country mouse on village fêtes

I thought everyone locally knew Max. Max is the worst gundog in Britain. On the local shoot, you will know him before you know the names of the other guns. His catalogue of misdemeanours is legendary, and only matched by the incessant yelling of his name by his desperate owner. But on Sunday, at the local village fête and dog show, Max had his day, winning the class for the dog the judge would most like to take home.

The judge must be mad even Max looked embarrassed by his rosette. It’s fête season, and Britain at its best. At ours, the vicar was so desperate to raise funds for the church that his voice had caved in long before the raffle. Children raced from stall to stall unable to believe that their parents were actually encouraging them to spend money.

The grown-ups ate each other’s homemade cakes, drank tea and patted Max’s owner on the back. As I loaded the car at the end of the day with tat that would almost certainly reappear next year, I wondered whether I had been slightly ambitious in buying 12lbs of gooseberries, but triumphant that I had bagged two loads of wood for £50. Nothing makes me feel more British than the village fête.