Hunters Inn 2017

2017 - Carry On (Not) at Your Convenience
(Photo report by Hotrod Hector)

Oh the optimism that sustains us! Long may it continue, and long may it survive the worst endeavours of fate and chance that beset us on so many occasions. This year we really believed that there were going to be toilets...
It was looking good. The venue had assured us they were under way and would be completed and installed by the time we arrived for the August bank holiday. Ever trusting we believed it would be so and thus we set off from our Northern fastnesss with the usual packed van fully believing that the modest sized block we had hired to supplement them would be more than adequate for the weekend. Imagine our surprise then when early arrivees at the site texted photographs of the ‘work in progress’ as we were actually on our way, demonstrating that the new toilets were in fact nothing more than a pile of breeze blocks on a pallet with a couple of trenches roughly marking where they might one day be. It was an immediate disappointment and once again our trained and efficient latrine orderly staff resigned themselves to a running battle with the cludge-on-wheels. We’d need at least one extra service call and the damn thing was going to run out of water…
Still, undeterred we made it down and set up our usual Thursday afternoon camp on a site that was already becoming well populated. It was good to be back in spite of the lack of facilities. We settled in and prepared to get on with business as usual.

Mr Porter decided that perhaps these particular 'portable loos' were not necessarily suitable. However, he did by all accounts thoroughly enjoy giving them a test drive

Ms Kitty Bartleet knew that if she got there early enough she could have her patented wifi receiver up and running before anyone else arrived

A splendid photo taken by Mr Paul Stapleton, showing his recreation of the temporal schism from Dr Who, something he always likes to take with him whenever possible


Which as it turned out was pretty much as usual only better.  After an uneventful Friday daytime, during which the fire lane was about the only excitement for our yellow-jackets, the music kicked off with the usual Friday evening acoustic affair so thanks to all involved. Imagine everyone’s surprise when Friday headliners Ketamine Village turned out to be none other than Cracktown. Laugh? The tears ran down our legs.


Mr Kickgypsy thought his novel way of transporting his mobile home was such a good idea at the time

Project Adorno's merchandise caused a few raised eyebrows and certainly put a strain on the merch table's legs

Although not playing this year due to legal proceedings on the part of Raul Moat's family and a lass with certain national socialist leanings, here's an early promo pic of Cracktown back in the day


Saturday dawned with its usual inevitability and all was so far well. No toilet issues to report and lovely weather. Performances kicked off just after midday with Mr James Bar Bowen, followed by an astonishing half an hour during which Mr Silver Fox and chums presented a live onstage version of Radio 4’s Just a Minute, which saw our own Joseph Porter outgunned as usual by the shabby Slash-lookalike, ably supported by contributions from Russell Adorno and token woman Yvette Stalaens. It was certainly new ground for The Ashes and we can only wonder what is planned for next year’s slot. Perhaps Mr Fox will present The Shipping Forecast, naked whilst eating chips?
Pog topped off the morning after which the cricket got under way, and what a tense and exciting match it was this year! It seemed to go on forever, and was narrowly won by Blyth Power after a tense and hard fought eternity at the end of which they simply had more runs than the opposition so poops to you Foxy and we’ll be back to do the same again next year!
A splendid evening followed, with a cracking opening to the evening session from Refuse/All and we kept a weather eye on the rapidly filling latrines as the evening wore on until the Blyth Power Saturday slot ushered everyone off to bed at close of play. Well, not quite everyone, as there was a degree of activity round the campfire until around 06.30 that kept even the dogs awake. I don’t know – the youth of today!


By 9.30am on the Saturday Ms Annie Hatcher and Ms Gunseli Hatcher were fully into the swing of things

A very early publicity photo of Pog when they were a trio. And doesn't Mr Stapleton look lovely in a bonnet and frock - my how he's grown!

Although the weather was dry this year, this hasn't always been the case, as this rare photo shows. No matter the weather, the cricket is always played!


More fine weather saw no one going to church on the Sunday morning, and it has been remarked upon that this is one facility we should consider providing, so that everyone can lie in and feel smug about ignoring it. The nearest we came in fact was the Blyth Power matinee performance for which Mr Porter had rounded up a gang of assorted children and handlers to perform a piece of disgusting innuendo celebrating his tragically unsuccessful courting of one Zena Tamara Genevier Sobchenko, a lady whom he held in some esteem back along and whose virtue is celebrated in a number of Blyth Power songs (see next year’s Ashes Monday booklet). This was performed with some aplomb and included one Hugo Hatcher on drums, making his stage debut on that instrument. The whole thing went surprisingly well according to Mr Porter.


A lovely self portrait of Mr Keith Stafford, one of this year's team captains

Whilst it was agreed by all that the production values were quite superb, some did question whether Hugo's amateur dramatics were entirely suitable for the younglings

Mr Roger Johnson's normally excellent Wildlife Walk didn't end quite so well this year


Other highlights of the day included Boatless Maniacs, whose strangely poignant Camp Commandant celebrated the same Mr Porter’s obsession with his yellow vest, The Antipoet, who had been asked to dial back the swearing and thankfully didn’t, and a headline set by Wob who had drafted in Jerry Hellfire on bass and Joseph on drums to round off the evening. Actually for some of us the evening was rounded off by sticking our hands in the back of the toilet block and filling up the water tank by torchlight as the bloody things had run dry during the course of the day. Why do you have to wash your hands so bloody much…?


Fishwife's Broadside's entourage was, as always, quite a sight to behold

A rare photo of The Antipoet, pre makeup and wardrobe, before taking the stage last night

Another photo of the Marquee Madame, hovering spectre like behind Paul and Wendy Warning


So on to Ashes Monday, and the usual thanks and thumbs up to all performers and revellers who were on hand to make it such a good day. A midday start with the music saw some fine performances leading into the Village Fete, which this year was topped off by the first ever Ashes Dog Show, an event of unrivalled hilarity, which not only saw our own Barbara Woodlouse judge and preside, but a number of bizarre categories, one of which was won by a marrow. Mr Porter was deeply touched by the appearance of Reggie the Spaniel who was entered into the Ashes Lookalike category wearing a yellow vast and carrying rubber gloves and a sink plunger. The whole thing was awesome.


Mr Ian Hodgkiss and his colleagues were very pleased with their stand at this year's fête

For the 58th year in a row, Mr Porter won the coveted Wasp Balancing trophy with his customary display of facial contortions and his uncanny ability to somehow hypnotise the winged creatures

Hotrod's ventriloquist turn for the Children's Storytime was perhaps a little misjudged


So back to the evening and the tension mounted as we surged irrevocably on to the bone-crunching climactic finale. Blyth Power final arrived onstage around 11pm to deliver The Guns of Castle Cary in its entirety. Once again the Monday turned out to be the best bit and we hope to see everyone back next year for the one off performance of Paradise Razed that Hugo’s poll established was to be 2018’s album of choice.


It wasn't Mr Hellfire's set that caused the brouhaha, more the unscheduled and highly inappropriate 'feather dance' performed by Mr Aston Martin


So thanks as ever to all performers, to the staff at The Hunters, to the toilet people who we really do hope we have seen the last of, and to everyone who came and made it the event it has somehow morphed into. It’s come a long way since we first threw a frisbee in the paddock behind the White Hart in Ufford. Come and see for yourself!