Suitably refreshed and fortified by the WI’s tea and cakes, the expectant crowd waited for more sensations. The flag ceremony had been most satisfactory and the audience was eager to see what would come next.
Sir Gilbert emerged from the Great House having restored himself with several glasses of Pimms No3 and instructed his valet, Stirrup, to give the signal for proceedings to, er, proceed.
Freddie Pitt-Bulstrode’s mortar section were the first of the new recruits to be introduced to the crowd. With a tremendous display of éclat, they set up the mortar and gave a humorous demonstration of its use. This was a great success with the audience in general and was received with something approaching hysteria by the WI section. A crescendo was reached when the Honourable Freddie announced that the section had been fortunate enough to acquire a forward observer who henceforth would be attached to the section. This, it transpired, was Miss Violet Ironsides, a leading member of the WI. Apparently there had been considerable competition amongst the WI ladies for this post but Miss Ironsides won hands down by virtue of the fact that she owned a pair of Zeiss binoculars.
As the hubbub surrounding the announcement of Miss Ironside’s elevation subsided, a commotion of a different sort was apparent from the far side of the park. Emerging from the shadow of the ha-ha, belching clouds of steam and making a noise loud enough to cause even Wrench to momentarily raise his right eyebrow by one sixteenth of an inch came a mechanical contrivance of an eccentric nature. This was the GVR Mk1 Armoured Scout Car (Steam) – the pride of the ex-railwaymen in the Volunteer’s ranks. Since being found hidden in an old shed in the abandoned army depot, this machine has been restored, thanks to the expertise of the railwaymen, to full working order and is now a potent addition to the Volunteer’s order of battle.
Sir Gilbert has not yet decided upon who will have the honour of crewing the machine (although he has firmly rejected his son’s request to have command of it). It is believed that Constable Broadbottom has expressed an interest in becoming one of its crew but this is no more than unsubstantiated rumour.
After the Car had successfully driven up and down in front of the crowd several times, it withdrew from the scene, not without some loud complaints from members of the WI concerning the specks of soot it left swirling about the heads of the crowd and settling on their Sunday Best finery.
There followed another pause in the proceedings, during which Sir Gilbert was seen in deep conversation with Inspector Andrew. During this lull, there was a demonstration of morris dancing by the Wormbridge, Abbey Dore and Pontrilas morris side.
The morris men set about their business at the end of the park in front of the Welsh
Gangsters Nationalists who gave every sign of being astonished by this display
Elsewhere, more tea was served and the crowd readied itself for the final event of the day. Anticipation was high as Inspector Andrew stepped forward………