It was the town’s carnival last weekend. The procession is always a lengthy affair and can become a little boring after watching hundreds of folk in home-made fancy dress parade past, and floats which are supposed to depict something but you can’t make out quite what! Thank goodness for my friend Rosey. At least the spectators at Newsome Road roundabout had something to laugh about! I’ll tell you why in a moment or two.
I should explain that Rosey was charged with organising a troop of marching fruit and vegetables on behalf of her allotment society. Not actual fruit and veg you understand; making a cabbage march would be a feat beyond even Roseys creative capabilities! No, the allotment holders were dressed in homemade outfits which were supposed to resemble human sized apples, runner beans, parsnips, beetroot and the like. Rosey was a carrot. She made her outfit from an orange sheet of cloth sewed into a point at the bottom. However she hadn't completely thought it through because its design seriously impeded her forward progress making it necessary to shuffle rather than walk. She died her face and hair green and wore a sort of spiky green fascinator on her head to suggest the foliage bit. Because her outfit limited her speed, the ‘allotees’ gradually found themselves getting more and more left behind by the front half of the procession, as were the various bands, floats and marchers behind them.
Anyway, when she and the rest of the snaking convoy got to Newsome Road roundabout, the preceding half of the march was out of sight and Rosey was faced with a choice of five exits from the roundabout to choose from. As you’ve probably already guessed, Rosey choose to lead the half-mile pageant up the wrong road seemingly oblivious to the fact that there was a sudden dearth of roadside revellers to cheer them on. Lester the Lettuce soon realised what had happened and ran to catch up with Rosey, losing a leaf on the way. Unflappable as ever, Rosey simply raised an orange arm in the air, finger pointing skyward and began to make a circular motion with it, at the same time starting on a 180 degree turn with everyone following behind. The road was a little narrow, so when the Bagpipe Band was walking north and attempting to pass the float piled high with elderly folk from the Serenity Home for the Bewildered which was still going south, there was a moment of utter confusion. There ensued a battle of walking sticks and drum sticks, but after a couple of minutes it was all sorted out and Rosey once again found herself leading everyone in the right direction. She decided it would be prudent to tear open some of the stitching at the root end of her costume in order give her legs a new found freedom in order to make longer strides thereby allowing the rear end of the procession to speed up. It worked for her, although some of the poor people behind her, notably old Percy the Potato and the musicians of the Wallingsea Silver Band, found themselves breaking into a trot to keep up. Unfortunately the band member’s breathlessness had something of a detrimental effect on the music they were attempting to play.
I am pleased to report that by the time the front half of the procession was turning into the carnival arena, Rosey and the marchers of the back half had caught up, and were extremely relieved to have the chance to stand still for a while and get their breath back.
The good news is that Rosey and the allotment holders won a prize. Not first prize, but a prize nonetheless. They got the coveted runners-up cup in the Groups and Societies category along with a cheque for the princely sum of 40 Guineas, which I believe translates to £52.50 in today’s money.
The rest of the afternoon was great success. There was much dancing, a dog show and a falconry display amongst other attractions. Ice cream was in huge demand and Rosey held court in the beer tent where she relaxed over a bottle of ice cold Chardonnay with our circle of friends. I wonder what she’ll come up with next year?