After a long day working with the students of Newcastle Business School, I was making my tired way home, acutely aware that whilst I’d shot dozens of images today, none of them were really suitable for the blog since they were part of a commercial contract. As I tracked the setting sun on my journey north I wondered where I would find a subject for today.
But then I saw a sign for Houghton Feast and I had my answer. Houghton-le-Spring is a small town where my father had his car business, so whilst it was a long bus ride from home I spent a good deal of my childhood here, playing beside the Comrades Club or visiting Billy Booth’s pet shop when not getting under the feet of my dad and his employees.
One of the treats that I always associated with Ho’ton was the annual feast, a celebration of the consecration of St Michael’s church that has its origins in the 12th Century. There were two things I remembered about it; an ox roast and a fun fair that always culminated in a goldfish in a bag and the ultimate in exotica, a helium balloon. I’d assumed that the feast had been a constant feature of my life, though recently discovered that it was only revived in 1967; about the time that I started going regularly.
I arrived with low expectations. The Feast was always held in a relatively small field by the church; so there wouldn’t be much happening. Wrong. It was even busier, louder and gaudier than I remembered; a feast for all the senses in fact. Shame I didn’t have time to stay longer, but I had to get home to begin processing the NBS imagery.