Teynham Carnival – 13th July 2019

This morning started trumaticaly. Bella and I both needed to have a bath before we went to the carnival. To make life easier I had one while she was still in bed. That meant I didn’t have to worry about a little person running up and down the stairs and getting into all sorts of mischief.downstairs.

After my bath it was time for Bella turn. This is where the truma started. Bella has become really funny about being in water recently. We’ve been through this before but it is a battlezone now. I managed to get Bella in the bath but she refuse to sit down. Now she’s been playing outside recently and also playing with felt tips, paints and playdough so I really needed her to have a proper bath and get nice and clean.

She splashed a little, but still pretty much just stood in the middle of the bath asking to get out. I washed her hair which resulted in screaming and her trying to climb out. Good thing I’d also had a bath and was still in just a towel, it meant I wasn’t too fussed about a toddler soaking me in water and bubbles. Now to end the bath I asked Bella to wash her hands. Her hands were filthy and she was refusing to put them in the water. I told her all she needed to do was to go swish swish with her hands in the water and then she could get out.

Man did my child not want to do that! However I refused to give in. She needed to get clean. I can’t let her run around filthy just because she doesn’t want to get clean. We had the same problem this time last year and I nearly resorted to letting her have baths in the paddling pool so she at least got clean. So for 30 minutes Bella stood in the bath screaming at me while I kept reminding her she could get out as soon as she washed her hands. Eventually she gave in. Hopefully bath times will become easier in time.

Once Bella was out of the bath we got dressed and ready to go out. We said goodbye to Daly who was sadly on nights so wasn’t coming with us but he was going to pop down on his way to work. We, however, had to go and pick up the carnival girls and bring them down to the hall. So off we went.

I met the girls at Morgannes. We tried to encourage Bella and Sophie to play with each other while the girls finished their make up. Bella was a bit unsure though because of the amount of people that were around. You wouldn’t think that she knows all the girls and sees them on a regular basis. But nope she was attached to mummy and refused to get off my lap. Eventually the girls were all ready and we set off in the car to Teynham Village.

Once we arrived at the hall, we unloaded the car and the girls set about doing finishing touches. In the hall all the tables had been set up and our friend Smurf was setting up the disco. I sat on the stage and watched all the busyness around me. After a while the girls set of outside to practice their curtsey. Bella was already wanting to go outside, she is a definite outside baby. So I grabbed my camera and went outside to capture the practice.

  • I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this in any of my blogs but at most carnival events the carnival courts will perform a curtsey normally to dignitaries and guests. However at Teynham the curtseys are a little different. Each carnival court has chaperones who look after them at every event. At Teynham they are requested to take part in the curtsey. Most of the chaperones find this highly embarrassing and awkward. I might do a blog that does a break down of carnival so everyone who doesn’t have a clue about this word gets a bit of a crash course.

After they’d practiced their curtsey it was time to chill before getting ready before they had to get ready to meet and welcome their guests – all the visiting carnival courts from across Kent. Now the girls version of chilling was to go Pokemon hunting. It seems to have come back with vengeance. I mean I downloaded the app in 2016 (so before I had Bella) and then deleted it pretty quick. I mean I never even managed to level up. But everyone seems to have got back into it so the girls went hunting. Every now and then you’d just see them walk past the hall door.

They soon returned and got in to their dresses and crowns and sashes. Once they were all ready it was time to open the doors and let the other courts who had turned up in to the hall. The court of Teynham stood by the door saying hello, shaking hands and giving hugs. This is how all carnivals start or end. Depends if we’re having a meal before or after.

Once everyone had said hello it was time for everyone to take their seats and Miss Teynham and her Princess took their seats so they were able to start the meal.

Bella had started to get a bit hungry and grumpy so I went and sat with her in the car. I popped a film on to try and keep her entertained. Luckily I had packed a picnic so we sat in the car munching while all the courts had their meal inside the hall.

After about an hour or so it was time to head off to the field where the carnival floats were all lined up. We had taken Morganne and her mum down to the field with us as they had no other way to get down. And although Teynham is a little village and not exactly a long walk I was not about to make a pregnant woman walk all that way.

At the field everyone was setting up their floats but the girls hadn’t been able to do their curtsey. Due to chaos on the roads, many courts had struggled to turn up or not at all if you were Dover Carnival Association or Margate. Margate actually performed their curtsey on the duel carriage way in stand still traffic as they weren’t able to perform it at the carnival. They videod it and posted it on Facebook for us all to see.

Rachel had turned up which Bella loved. Rachel hasn’t done any carnivals since I stopped coaching cheer. So her last carnival was four years ago, I mean we’ve watched them together but not participated. When she did, it was normally because I needed another adult and Rachel happened to live with me so she got the short straw. Bella was running around playing with Rachel.

It was time for the curtseys. Smurf had parked his car in the middle of the field and rigged up the speakers from Ramsgate’s float on his roof so the girls had some music to curtsey to. As I mentioned earlier the chaperones had to participate as well. The chaperone from Minster had far too much fun with his curtsey but it’s all a bit of fun. It maybe a formal part of carnival but it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it.

I had been asked to take photos of the curtseys as the photographer for the carnival hadn’t been able to make her way up to the field as she wasn’t feeling well. Of course Paige knew I had my camera with me so of course I was able to take photos for them. And boy did I take a lot.

After the curtseys the courts had a massive group shot. We had one with just all the courts and then Paige ran in with Bella and Morganne’s daughter who’d dressed up as Elsa so they could be in the photo as well. I think we’ve done this every year since Bella’s been born. I know she was in the group photo when she was four months old but not sure about last year.

Once all the group photos had been taken. The court of Teynham had some judging to do. They were judging best queens float. Since the group photo they had also ended up with two mini mascots as they called them, Bella and Sophie. They decided that they were going to help them. They all made a little huddle on the floor behind all the floats to discuss which ones they thought were the best.

They made up their minds which floats they thought were best and then set off round to hand out the certificates and the trophy to the winning float. 3rd place went to the court of Sittingbourne’s float. 2nd place went to Ramsgate and the court of Sheppey came 1st. I followed them and took photos of them presenting the certificates and trophies. Little bit of a task when two toddlers are involved, trying to get everyone to look at the camera but I tried my best.

The two girls loved spending time with the court, so much so the court tried to smuggle them on to their float. The girls loved sitting up front with Miss Teynham. We spent all last year letting Bella run round Faversham’s float but she would never stay on the float to play princess. The girls begged Char to let the girls to stay on the float with them but they weren’t allowed much to their upset. The kids were ok though, Sophie was walking the carnival as Elsa with olaf in her pram. Super cute!

I was judging the junior courts of the day so I wandered round the floats to see who had juniors and what they were up to. I’d say luckily not all carnival courts have juniors to make the judging process easier but having a smaller number to judge can make it harder. I had 5 to choose from today and we were only giving awards to the top three. It was a hard job.

For the carnival Bella was sitting in the tow vehicle with her Grandad while Rachel walked beside the float. A task Rachel really enjoyed. I think carnival is kinda in our blood. Rachel might not be as hooked as me but she does enjoy a good carnival. As I was judging I set about might normal routine while judging. I go find spots to watch the carnival along the route so I can see how the courts out the whole way round not just one little snapshot.

Soon it was time to start the carnival, so I settled Bella and then walked off to see my spot.

The carnival went round the route without any major problems. The only real problem there was was that the main motorway near Teynham was closed so all the traffic was heading down the main road which happened to go through the village. Like I said earlier in this blog that’s why things were running late and some courts hadn’t made it to the carnival.

As the main road was not suitable to close the head marshal eventually made the decision to go through a road practically parallel to the main road. This meant that instead of causing more chaos on the main roads in Kent and that all the floats could make it back to the field where we had started. Because of the narrowness of this road Grant didn’t want Bella in the car with him as he needed to focus. So I took Bella out of the tow vehicle, I’d been stood at the front of the carnival with the lead vehicle while the marshals made this decision and Teynham’s was the next float in the line up.

Bella and I walked along the road to find a good spot to watch the carnival. I don’t normally watch the carnivals with Bella so it was a nice opportunity especially as she’s getting to the age where she recognises everyone and waves and cheers as they go past. We found a spot and sat down to wait for the floats to come past. Eventually we could see Grandad coming.

Once the carnival had past us and Bella had waved to everyone we followed the road back round to the field but cut through using a footpath. There is no pavement round to the main entrance to the field and although the carnival goes at walking speed I didn’t really want to take a toddler along a road. The dog walker entrance to the field was much safer. Bella and I had a race across the field to get back to Grandad and Paige and Rachel at the float.

While everyone shut down their floats I got Bella back in the car and we headed back to the hall for the evening party. Rachel also went and got her car to go and park it at the hall and then we were going to meet back up.

Once at the hall we settled in a corner by the stage. Rachel and I chatted and mucnched on what was left of my picnic while Bella danced with a girl who had been my junior princess where I used to stand in as a senior princess for Dover. Bella had a wonderful time playing and dancing with all the princesses and queens. She even made friends with a couple of the rosebuds (the youngest carnival queens) Last year her friend was Sandwich’s rosebud, this year it appears to be Sheppey’s.

It eventually became the part of the evening where the awards are given out. Being the judge of the junior courts my awards were up first. Bella sat very nicely with the Sheppey juniors and rosebud while the awards were going on. It was so cute. Once I handed out my awards the evening moved on to the rest of the awards including senior princess pairs, court and queen, as well as awards such as driver or the day and spirit of carnival.

Once the awards was over it was time for the raffle or in my case getting Bella ready for bed and to go home. We had a bit of a queue for the toilets as all the courts were getting changed as well. It’s not very comfortable to travel in the dresses, sashes and crowns. It’s such a nice feeling when you get to take the dress off at the end of a long carnival day and pop on your own comfortable clothes.

Once we were changed we said our goodbyes and I took Bella home to bed. But no before I’d picked myself up a McDonalds. Can’t miss out on an after carnival treat.

Anyways, night all and let’s see what adventures tomorrow holds for us.

Love CiCi x

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