England’s Green & Pleasant Land, Part 4: The Real Calendar Girls

You remember Calendar Girls, yes? That was filmed around here in Yorkshire. If you remember, it concerned the racy yet charitable adventures of some very respectable English ladies who are Women’s Institute members and make a lot of jam and Victoria sponge cakes, and then suddenly do a nude calendar.

As I was in Yorkshire, you can imagine how thrilled I was to meet some actual Women’s Institute members, out in force on a Saturday afternoon, selling jam and cakes. It is a real thing, not just on the telly.





I was able to meet these pillars of British society because I was attending the annual Children’s Gala in the delightfully-named village of Harden. The Gala begins with a procession.



The local theatre group, including a man in women’s clothes, as is tradition.




The procession ends in a field where there is a children’s party, with rides, fancy dress and competitions, as well as jam and cakes.

The tallest of these adorable little girls is the Gala Queen, she’s on stage to hand out prizes. The two little sisters are her attendants. Aren’t they the cutest thing you’ve ever seen.


This gentleman patiently spends the whole afternoon driving children up and down a section of railway track, using a very small train.





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