It was a long wait. Some technical difficulties had prevented them getting off punctually and I think the heat may have slowed everyone down a bit too. The three year old amused herself with some soil and sticks (I sometimes wonder why I buy her toys!) and the Boy amused himself by pulling apart the Carnival flyer with the line up of attractions. Eventually, we heard the unmistakably happy sound of the steel band - a perfect soundtrack to a summer's day - and knew the arrival of the parade must be imminent.
Although it is quite a jolly sight to watch the floats and people parading past, my real interest was to see my daughter Charis who was participating. She and her fellow amateur dramatics group members were parading in costume to advertise their forthcoming production 'Splash'. For Charis, the costume was a sailor suit which would have been reasonably weather appropriate had she not had to wear her band outfit beneath it in readiness for a quick change and a 'Not Quite' performance in the main marquee. She was sweltering but probably not as sweltering as the poor souls dressed as cartoon animals and a gingerbread man to promote various causes.
As it happened, the 'Not Quite' band slot got moved down the timetable of events due to the late arrival of a Children's Entertainer and some ill thought out clashing scheduling. It didn't matter. When they did get to perform, they did so beautifully to an appreciative audience. Their confidence and belief in themselves took another leap as they were approached by somebody asking them if they would be available to perform at a local Beer and Music Festival in September.
As well as thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to perform, they also got to work with the lovely boys from local band The One Hit Wonders. These boys have come up with the fabulous idea of offering people the chance to perform Karaoke with a full live band and have coined the phrase 'bandeoke' to describe it. They have their official launch party on 16th July and of course, Not Quite (and their mum) will be there to offer support. From the response they got at the Carnival, I'm sure they will have great success with it.
Other highlights of the Carnival were:
- The juggler who invited people to select random objects from his box of goodies for him to juggle with. Watching him juggle a plastic chicken, a paintbrush and a soup ladle (the three year old's choice!) was impressive and something for Taylor to consider when she hones her juggling skills.
- The Carribean Cuisine that transported my husband back to his days of living in Sint Maarten
- The fire eaters
- The punnets of fresh strawberries from a local Fruit Farm
- The display of birds and animals that fascinated little ones
- The bouncy castle.
My three year old had desperately wanted to go on the Bouncy Castle from the moment she saw it but we waited for it to cool off a little before venturing anywhere near it. It was actually three bouncy castles - one suitable for little ones, one aimed at older kids with a giant swinging wrecking ball to knock you off balance and an enormous bouncy castle slide.
My daughter wanted to go on all three.
After being flattened twice by the wrecking ball I insisted that she keep off that particular one. I tried to encourage her towards the age appropriate one but she simply loved scaling the heights of the giant slide and launching herself from the top.
It did frighten me. That was my baby up there!! But my husband is a very firm believer in the importance of learning to take controlled risks to develop into the sort of person who is not afraid to have a go at anything in life. And it was all soft and bouncy after all. I let her get on with it.
She climbed, she slid, she climbed she slid and this went on until she climbed and then flatly refused to slide. I'm not sure what caused the change of heart but all my best encouragement from the bottom of the slide was falling on deaf ears. There was only one course of action for me to take. I had to climb up and get her.
The fear I felt seeing my baby girl doing her daredevil stunts was actually quite small compared with the new fear I was experiencing trying to climb up the steps. There didn't seem to be a lot to hold onto or to push up against and it was very steep. Somehow, driven by the maternal instinct to save my baby, I made it to the top. She was all giggles and excitement - perhaps it had been a ploy all along to make mummy climb the big ladder. Once I was up there and had her in arms, I knew there was no way I could climb down. We'd have to slide. Did I ever for one moment relax and think it was actually quite good fun? NO. Categorically NOT. It was terrifying! I didn't stop shaking for ages.
There was just time for a well earned cup of coffee before heading home.