Sunday, 23 October 2011


The best person to have written this piece is Susan Hardy who ran/drove around like a lunatic co-ordinating everything and transporting people and fashion show stuff, but she wouldn't do it even if I asked, so the person who is writing it is one of the Animal Krackers staff who had just about the least to do with it -Susan's husband, otherwise known as me, your not so humble blogger of this parish.

First off, a big thank you to everyone who worked behind the scenes, wore the clothes, sold the stuff, and St.Aidan's Church (in particular Stephen) who allowed us to use their hall for a very modest fee. Secondly, apologies to you and everyone else for the poor quality of the photographs because the photographer (me) is clearly better at taking closeups of cats and kittens than anything else.

What follows is a my-eye view of the evening, nothing more, nothing less.

I got there just after six in the evening while things were still being set up and, after a bit running around, ended up taking money on the door with the help of Gary and Derek, our announcer Heather's husband. Susan hadn't really arranged this bit as we had no float and she hadn't anticipated the large number of people who turned up without tickets of which we'd already sold out. So many people turned up that, as I watched the hall getting more and more crowded, started getting worried about health and safety (for which I have a qualification as a union rep). It was decided to not allow anyone else in without a ticket which I managed very unsuccessfully as most people seemed to have a valid reason for being admitted and ending up turning away very few. Around 7.40, people seemed to have stopped arriving, so I went inside to catch the last fifteen minutes of the fashion parade.

As I said, the place was packed with standing room only. Around the walls were various stalls selling stuff, rows of seats and U-shaped space in the middle for the models to parade up and down. I took a few pictures from the back then squeezed through the throng to stand next to my retired library colleagues and friends Denise and Sylvia who were seated at the end of a row. I was reluctant to take photos of children due to the prevailing paedophilia fear. Now in an earlier 'humourous' self piss-taking post I allowed myself to persuaded to attend by the prospect of masses of cleavage on view. This indeed proved to be the case but, because I actually am anti-sexist I was reluctant to take any photographs of the several models who actually did reveal their decolletage, which is another reason the photos which follow are not only crap but boring.

Once the fashion show was over, the hatch opened for people to claim their free glass of wine and sample some cheese and biscuits. Attendees were also encouraged to spend spend spend at the various stalls which they did. I mooched around, chatting to various people, claimed my free glass of wine (and, later, a second) and some cheese and biscuits. Things began tail off after 9.00 but we didn't start clearing up until half an hour later and I was after 10.00 by the time I got away with Susan arriving home nearly half an hour after that.

That wasn't the end for us as Susan and I, with Big Ian, Anne, and Andrea   back at the church hall at 9.00am the next morning to transport the unsold clothes (quite a lot), clothes rails, and boxes back to the Animal Krackers shop and haul them upstairs. It took three (or was it four?) full van loads and at the end of it I was completely knackered.

So, was it worth it?

Most definitely. We made in excess of £1,000 which wasn't bad at all. The event went off well and seemed to be enjoyed by all who attended. It raised our profile as an organisation and there'll be a piece in the Sunderland Echo this week. Would we -or rather, Susan- do it again? That remains to be seen but it was well worth doing in the first place.

And now, what you've all been waiting for, my crummy photographs of the event.

And this being my cat rescue blog, here are some recent cat and kitten photos.

Lastly, look in the top left of this photograph and you'll see a tiny feral kitten which had escaped from its cage taken refuge here with the big friendly dog. 

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