Every year the Rangers enter the village scarecrow competition because we believe in getting involved in the community. We never win but we at least don't get beaten by Debbie and her Wildlife Trust team from the Environmental Education Centre.
I have to admit that it's always a last minute thing and I have been the mastermind behind our past efforts to recycle old ranger uniforms. My scarecrow rangers have received favourable remarks from the public such as "They look more lively than the real ones" and "I've never seen one standing up before."
(Thanks for the quotes Phil. We know who you are and we know where you live.)
This time, Ranger Matt Hall offered to carry the torch using his treasured collection of oil drums (don't ask where he got them, or why) to make a squad of Minions. These characters star in the Pixar movie "Despicable me". If you have not seen it, this all means nothing.
Every day last week the mystified and surely used voluntary wardens would arrive to find the centre filled with minions (or oil drums if you haven't seen the film). They had to be manoeuvred outside and set up in glamorous poses for passing photographers to snap at. They also attracted the odd dog that mistook them for fat lamp-posts.
The photographer from the "Hunts Post" thought they were not glamorous enough and dragged Sophie the Ranger out pose with them. She protested, but he said he would not leave until she obliged and he settled down in a chair and started ordering cups of tea. I can't wait to see the result.
The level of participation in the village was disappointing this year, with only 27 entries. The first time we had a scarecrow festival they had over 120 scarce crows to judge. But we are still thrilled with our silver cup and the massive prize money that it contained. (£10) Matt said that we need to use the money to buy an antique trophy cabinet.
So, what happens to the Minions now? I fancy taking pictures of them looking out of the hide window or cuddling on a bench. After that we thought we could recycle them and bring them back as Daleks. (Please save your old plungers for us). However, Martin Runchman has offered to give them a good home.
On Saturday I took my family to the Scarecrow Festival event on the village playing fields where we bumped into many old friends (and old Friends) including David and Marjory Chappel, and Trevor Gunton who was working hard to recruit members for the Friends of Paxton Pits Nature Reserve and generally flying the flag for us. The organisers had done a great job and we had a good time, but I'm guessing they were disappointed at the turn out. The craft stalls hardly sold anything. All the same, they raised £1200 for charity.
My son loved the outdoor gym, made up of rows of robust exercise machines. These are a permanent fixture and absolutely free to play on, so look out Little Paxton, we will be back.