Sunday, October 22, 2006

It's Carnival Time here in Somerset

October and November are Carnival Time in Somerset

For all you bloggers outside the UK the English have what might seem a very odd tradition - 'Bonfire Night' aka 'Guy Fawkes Night' where we celebrate the thwarting of a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in the 17th Century by one Guy Fawkes Esquire by lighting bonfires burning a 'guy' (effigy of a man made from straw and old clothes) on the top and setting off copious quantities of fireworks

In Somerset these celebrations also include a number of town carnivals all around the county where on various weekends the townsfolk line the streets after darkness has fallen to watch a procession of illuminated 'floats' interspersed with individuals and local groups in costumes.

All throughout the year various carnival clubs work in secret to build these illuminated floats in great secrecy hidden in out buildings away from the general public and the prying eyes of their competitors ready for their unveiling at the first carnival

The floats have countless electric light bulbs often mounted on moving parts with lots of loud music and people dancing away on them and take the form of a long trailer with a huge structure on top linked with a second vehicle usually housing a generator to power all those light bulbs and the PA system blaring out the music

It is a real spectacle peculiar to the county and brightens up those early winter evenings - lots of money is collected for local charities around the way with several dump bin type vehicles that the kids love to throw coins into to hit a painted target along with many people shaking collecting tins as they walk by

Last night was Taunton's carnival and having watched it as new residents last year it really brought it home to us that we've now been down here over a year. It took well over an hour for the parade to go past our spot in its entirety and thankfully the weather stayed dry as we've had some terrific rain over the past few days.

This morning Sarah had county training about an hour from here at Wells - home of a beautiful ancient cathedral - mind you standing out in the drizzle watching the girls hone their passing skills meant the cathedral was the farthest thing from our minds

Fortunately the ankle stood up to the session and should be okay for the TID day on Wednesday

This afternoon, as her coach still hasn't produced the youngest supporter of the Fillies Team and will be induced on Wednesday if nothing happens naturally before, I've pulled out his quilt top and am going to sandwich it next thing - that'll test my knees :o( scrambling about on the lounge floor with a box of safety pins and my pinning tool.


Angie said...

Wow, your carnivals sound like such fun!!! Enjoy for all of us on the other side of the pond! :D

DubiQuilts said...

I have not been to a carnival only parades here in Illinois. Carnival looks like it much more fun.

Susan said...

Thanks so much for sharing these pics! I want to make that pink peacock girl in crazy quilting, with lots of beads!

Tazzie said...

Gosh I miss Guy Fawkes night, we used to celebrate it here in Australia, until someone in a position of power deemed it unsafe ... those were the days ... super fun ...

Pam said...

The floats covered in lights looks so great.

My husband and I got married on November 5th. All the English relatives - their comment - that people didn't get married on Guy Fawkes day!!

I've been to Wells and the beautiful Cathedral there. You live in such a wonderful area of England - so rich in architecture and history.

Carrie said...

What great pictures! We have something similar here around Christmastime.

Hope you're having a great day! God bless :)

Tonya R said...

Wheee, looks like fun. glad the weather cooperated for you.

dot said...

Looks like a fun time.

Clare said...

I miss Bonfire Night. I really do. Baked potatoes cooked in the embers of the fire, writing your name with sparklers, Catherine Wheels and rockets going whhhhhhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeee! I can remember Alex's first and being worried that she wouldn't like the bangs! "Make it go bang again Mummy" was the response! Have a great time.