This weekend I happened to be in Kent.
Happily this coincided with the annual War & Peace show at the Hop Farm in Paddock Wood, so I decided to pay it a visit. The entrance fee was £18, so I ummed and aahhed a little, before parting with my cash (seriously, no one gets much over £1 off me without good reason) but in the end I’m really glad I coughed up.
In theory the War & Peace show is, and I quote, “the largest military vehicle spectacular in the world!”.
In practice it is is a huge festival of war reenactors, military vehicles, entertainment, and plentiful shopping opportunities. Visitors appeared to be a mix of military vehicle geeks in socks and sandals, families with kids inappropriately attired in buzz cuts and camo gear waving plastic guns, middle aged men in army fatigues who’ve never been any closer to combat than the first half hour of Saving Private Ryan and Vintage enthusiasts.
Mysteriously I completely failed to take any photos of Military Vehicles, but I did take plenty of lovely vintage clothes and lemonade stalls.
The eagle eyed among you might notice a picture of the beautiful new “Fleur” dress from Heyday. I am lusting after this dress quite badly, but I suspect it will be winter before my bank balance is anywhere near up to it! I got to meet Shona from Heyday, who was lovely, as expected! She was busy dressing a semi naked man at the time, so we only had time for a brief chat and a pose for a picture.
If you’re reading this Shona, it was lovely to meet you! I hope we bump into each other for a longer chat one day!
Once I tired of shopping (it can happen!) I wandered into the Living History area. I was stopped a couple of times here and people asked to take my photo, so out there, somewhere, are some photos of badly in need of a touch up roots and my face covered in a fine layer of dust. If I find them I’ll let you know.
In this area reenactors had dug in for the 5 days of the festival and were living, cooking and sleeping in trenches.
The last shot is of a display of photos from The Kent Photo Archive. These were found on a rubbish tip and are an amazing record of the damage done to Kent during the Blitz.
Frankly the day wasn’t long enough to see everything. The Victory Marquee featured Swing dancing and Big Band, while the veterans marquee offered a chance to meet and chat to WW2 veterans, who were signing books for visitors. By this time, however, I was tired, hot, and more than a little dusty, so I retired to the USO to enjoy the entertainment, along with a hotdog and a beer for my lunch.
The War and Peace show is an annual event, so if you were put off this year by the idea that it was all about tanks, or if you’ve just never heard of it, I really recommend popping a note in your diary to visit next year.