Friday, 2 December 2011

Camberwick Green

Here is a box, a musical box, wound up and ready to play
But this box can hide a secret inside, can you guess what is in it today?
Ah yes - Fantasy Bob's world wide readership of 3 goes weak at the knees with nostalgia for the delights of Camberwick Green.

Camberwick Green was a small village near Trumpton, the main town in the county of Trumptonshire.  Camberwick Green had a green surrounded by shops including a fishmongers, bakers and post office. Nearby was Colley's Mill (owner and operator Windy Miller), Pippin Fort and Jonathon Bell's Farm.  Trumpton had a town hall, with a clock tower, numerous shops, and a fine market square in the middle of which stood a statue of Queen Victoria. The town also had a park with a bandstand.  Chigley was a small industrial community nearby with a railway, a wharf, a stately home, a biscuit factory and a pottery.

Pugh Pugh et al -
ready for another match at Pippin Fort?
These 3 13 episode series were made between 1966 and 1969 but repeated  regularly throughout the 1970s.  They give an uncannily accurate portrayal of English life.  But their vision of that life is spoilt by only one thing - the complete absence of a cricket field in any of the locations.  Nor are there any cricket players.  There is no Camberwick Green CC.

It is beyond belief that such communities would not have had active cricket clubs at that time - no doubt in modern Trumptonshire fields have been tarmac-ed over as part of the latest Tesco development.  But in its golden days, cricket would have been the thing.  This oversight is never explained in any of the series.  FB is sure that the Firemen of Trumpton - Pugh Pugh Barney McGrew Cuthbert Dibble Grubb would have from time to time had a challenge match with the soldier boys from Pippin Fort, but any report of these tightly contested matches have been suppressed.  

So, if there was nothing of cricketing interest in these programmes, what was it that gained FB's attention?  For he was, and remains, an avid fan.  There was the delight of Freddie Phillips' guitar tunes for each character and the comfort of Brain Cant's voice narrating the tales and interacting with the characters.

But even more compelling than that was the fact that at Chigley there was a biscuit factory - Trumptonshire's biggest employer.  And FB will go anywhere that biscuits take him.

The biscuit workers -
 no time for nets
Mr Cresswell was the factory manager - and from the look of him was probably a fairly determined middle order bat.  Mr Fletcher was in charge of the loading bay - it is not clear if he was related in any way to Duncan Fletcher and Mr Patterson was one of the van drivers and probably had been a pretty pacey bowler a few years ago.  The workforce is kept hard at it until 6 o'clock each day when they attend the 6 o'clock dance which closes each episode.  You would have thought at the factory might also have had a cricket team but with all that dancing there is no time.  The biscuit workers, Stakhanovites to a puppet, show their priorities in their their own hymn to the efficiency of their production -   its lyric was
Nicely precisely and all untouched by hand.
Efficiency our motto, by which we proudly stand.
Cooked, cartoned, checked and crated, labelled and dispatched.
Efficiency efficiency at which we can't be matched.
Efficiency efficiency, our watch word while we work
The customer is always right a fact we never shirk.
Automation for the nation, time is not to waste,
Although at times we gain more speed by using much less haste.
None of your talking animals or that childish stuff for pre-school children in the 1970s - economics tutorials started young.  Thatcherism was still 10 years away but they started early then. No wonder there was no time for cricket in Trumptonshire.

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