Monday, 6 October 2008

A Super Saturday

Photo by Trident13 at Wikimedia.
I didn't take any pics of my own but this is a fair
example of the sort of floats we get on the Wessex Carnival Circuit.

It was indeed a lovely family weekend. We decided to give the duck racing a miss and drive to Yeovil for shopping. Both my daughter and I needed to buy birthday presents and it was an opportunity to get ahead with the Xmas ones as well. Eryn was very well-behaved until she became very hungry when the clock had passed lunchtime.

Unfortunately the traffic had piled up and just getting onto the road for home took for ever. So we decided to stop for lunch on the A30 in a pub called The Tippling Philosopher at Milborne Port. It was good move. The steak pie was to die for and only £6.50, while Eryn's ham, egg and chips cost even less. And we were all fuelled up for the evening's fun time.

It did rain in the afternoon and was very cold, so although we were back in time, we didn't go to the children's carnival procession, but preserved our energy, and wrapped ourselves in layers, for the big one in the evening. And the gods smiled on us and stopped the rain for the duration.

Seven of us met up opposite our local pub on the route of the procession. There were we three girls and my son's partner, plus hubby, son and his friend who had chauffered them there from Shaftesbury on a roundabout route to bypass the road closures. We managed to get a spot with a flat-topped wall behind us so Eryn could be held up there and have a good view.

She was wild with excitement as the first great steam engines rolled by. My daughter got caught up in it too. "It's just wonderful how these old traditions are being kept alive," was her comment. Next we saw about five sets of marionettes from our various local towns; first the older and very accomplished ones, with the tiny tots bringing up the rear, and all in identical sparkly costumes. For their sakes, I was so glad about the lack of rain.

Then the bands marched past, interspersed with various carnival queens and princesses, with their attendants in limousines or sitting on decorated truck beds and looking rather cold in their flimsy attire. The Shaftesbury band leader turned out to be the father of my son's girlfriend and gave us a big smile as she took a photo with her mobile phone.

We were all throwing small change into the collection vehicles or putting it into the buckets carried along the route by the walking collectors. A few thousand is usually collected for various charities. The totals will be reported in next week's local papers.

But everyone was waiting for the star attractions - the enormous decorated and brightly lit floats that have taken months to design and prepare. The trucks or tractors that lead them pull along up to three trailors that include their own power generators. Each one has several marshalls and guides. One walks backwards in front to direct and help the driver to get around tricky corners on our narrow streets. Others make sure no members of the public are in danger of being mown down and that all the trailer connections remain safely locked in place.

It's very competitive and the ideas are kept secret until the carnival circuit begins. Among the designs this year, we saw a Chinese theme and an Indian theme, but the most memorable one was called Disco Babes. As it came twards us, we could hear the disco music and see the frontispeace - a 40 something man sitting on the floor of his platform, moving manically to the music, dressed only in an outsize nappy (diaper). It was the funniest sight. What a hero - not embarrassed about any of his floppy bits and having to keep moving to stop himself freezing to death. We just rolled up. Other people on the floats behind him portrayed other aspects of babyhood and were equally funny, but they were all well covered.

Eryn was upset when it ended. She wanted it to go on all night. But the rest of us were secretly relieved. It had been great fun but we had been standing up for at least an hour and a half. We headed for home, leaving the yellow-coated marshalls moving the metal barriers that were placed to try and stop the public wandering into the path of the procession, picking up all the plastic glasses that had allowed us all to bring our drinks out of the pub, and still picking up silver and pennies that hadn't found their way into the collection boxes.

A fun night indeed - quite a contrast to all the doom and gloom that greets us on the TV news programmes at present.

No comments:

Writing Tip

Add this to your site