I've just heard the local Morrismen [yes there is a village troupe] preparing for the onslaught. The accordianista is practicing endlessly. There is the claquing of sticks and the jingling of bells. The whole is disturbing the peace and irritating all of us who are trying to work.
The police have already been around putting up no parking cones everywhere making it impossible for residents to park in their usual spots. The field behind the doctors' surgery is the car park. Luckily the recent deluge has abated, the ground is not too muddy and no tractors will be needed to extricate marooned vehicles.
Oh and there is a little funfair on the village recreation ground where the exercising of horses and dogs is absolutely 'verboten'. There is a nostalgia for we established villagers about the fair. It used to be the favourite annual village event for ... well let's call him Arthur, though that wasn't his actual name. He was the village's simple soul. Arthur died recently having sent a lifetime rearranging dustbins, closing gates and wandering around the village bouncing a rubber ball. He was easily scared and desperate to please. Children were scared of his volatility and strangeness. The fair proprietors knew him well and, to their eternal credit, allowed him free access to all the stalls and rides. The village is poorer without him.
This afternoon will be spent by around 2,000 people wandering around remarking on the quaintness of this place and sticking their inquisitive noses into every nook and cranny which the purchase of the 'At Home' programme entitles them to.
There are two types of folk who live the village who react to 'At Home' in two very distinct ways. Those incomers who are proud of their efforts to improve the village [like stopping the church clock from chiming during the night] will open their gardens and walk around this afternoon as if they own the place speaking of 'our village' in loud proprietorial voices. Their children [all called Barnaby and Alice with a third called Torin if they've allowed themselves that degree of irresponsibility] will dutifully trail after them in the sunshine, cowed into compliance by bribes of 'ice creams if you're good'.
Then there are the rest who will sit inside watching Manchester City beating Queens Park Rangers on their wide screen, high definition TVs, or sit outdoors on their patios or terraces waiting for six o'clock and normality to return. Most of them have lived here all their lives and have seen the 'At Home' develop from a little local event into one which now pulls attendances from as far afield as London and Birmingham.
Tomorrow the village good causes will learn how much they are to benefit from the afternoon's takings.
Only in England.