All aboard the Sidmouth Special
All aboard for the Sidmouth Special.
For just £9 a head, we weave our way out of Lush Places through narrow lanes, high up as anything and looking out over the hedgerows to the hills and views beyond and into people's back gardens.
And then we cross the border into Devon and make our way to the elegant seaside resort of Sidmouth, where, for the past sixty years, the renowned seaside folk festival clatters, tinkles, strums, beats, sings and dances its way through the crowds.
Usually, the town is home to some 15,000 souls, sixty percent of whom are over sixty five. But during Sidmouth Folk Week, the population soars and takes on a life of its own. My uncle, George Withers, sang in the pubs here for many years.
Today, there are tickets to be bought for those who want them and street performances for those who are quite happy to potter around and see what turns up. The esplanade, with its genteel, Regency buildings looking out across the stalls, is full of morris dancers and people soaking up the atmosphere.
A puppet spies a gap in the strolling legs and dances for money.
Musicians gather together on the seafront and play a tune.
And then a raucous band, Phat Bollard from Cornwall, strike up in the town and people of all ages and backgrounds dance to the catchy tune and sing along to the jaunty lyrics.
Our day done, we head back over the hills in the bus, the only ones singing in the back seat.
And then when the week is over, Sidmouth will go back to being genteel again.
That's about it.
Love Maddie x