Miles Kington: Blackberries, brutal slayings, and other Bank Holiday fun

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The Independent Online

Going out and about this Bank Holiday Monday, but still not quite sure where to go? Here are half a dozen great ideas for an excursion with a difference!

Village Fruit 'n' Veg Show on Tour (Hyde Park)

It's been years since most of us went to a genuine village horticultural show, with prizes for everything from the three best garlic roots to home-stitched cushions, so someone has had the brilliant idea of bringing a real village show to the heart of London! It has all the traditional features: too many prizes won by the same person, a silver band with a dodgy girl trombonist, a vicar nobody has ever seen before, and prizes given away by a celebrity no one recognises (it always turns out to be a local TV newsreader). Marquee in Hyde Park, well away from real countryside.

L ost Family World

At Genealogy House, near Milton Keynes, there is a special section devoted to families which have been well researched but have no living descendants, and desperately need new owners. "Very often," says curator Tristram Brent, "you'll find the last member of a family doing all the historical research and then keeling over with the stress of it all, leaving the pedigree high and dry. If you think you'd like to take over the care for an abandoned family tree, just pop in and see us."

Medical Art Show (various hospitals)

NHS hospitals are full of well-meaning art. Sometimes it dangles in the entrance hall, sometimes it lines the corridors in a series of prints chosen by well-intentioned committees. Hospitals are also full of medical staff who have to pass this stuff every day. Now, a group of doctors and nurses who think they can do better have got together to put on their own show, currently on tour.

In Constable Country

Nothing to do with Constable the painter, all to do with the lowly police constable who has to deal with this country's current spate of shootings and killings. Make your very own trip to Stockwell Tube station, where an innocent Brazilian was shot down (by a constable, as it happens). Visit the exact spot on the M40 where the Hell's Angel met his end ... Not for everyone, perhaps, but for those interested there is a complete list of murder sites on Ghastlyghouls.com.

The Blackberry Experience

Blackberry? We're talking the fruit here, not the gadget! This is the time of year when blackberries are ready for the picking, but sadly many health and safety authorities have ruled that the risks (scratches, lacerations, purple-dyed skin, falling into unprotected bramble hedges, wasp stings etc) are not worth courting and have made it illegal to pick the fruit. So the object of the Blackberry Experience (Oxfordshire) is to preserve the tradition in a safe environment. Under strict control, and wearing protective clothing, visitors can get as near to a real bramble as they will ever be allowed again. Of course, to be really safe, you can just buy blackberry products on-line, without visiting the centre.

The Sealed Flask

The Sealed Knot was formed to recreate ancient battles, but the Sealed Flask was started to commemorate great epidemics of the past – nobody who saw their triumphant re-enactment of the Black Death will ever be able to look a rat in the face again. Tomorrow Sealed Flask groups will be all along the South Coast, in seaside towns, doing graphic demonstrations of the effects of full-blown rabies. Dogs welcome.

Dental Floss-on-the-Wold

Enthusiasts have rescued the last steam mill in Britain which spun dental floss by traditional methods, and put it back in working order. They are anxious to restore the dental floss heritage and reintroduce the British public to the thousand other uses to which floss can be put, from fishing lines to sewing thread. Tomorrow at 3pm there will be a grand tug-of-war between teams of visitors, using a rope woven from many lengths of dental floss! They claim it's unbreakable. Come and try your strength! In the Cotswolds, off the Fosse Way.

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