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Life Chez Dee Episode #18: Carnival Day

Carnival Day … St Annes was buzzing.

We decided to enter the charity into St Annes Carnival Parade after the fantastic comments, feedback, and indeed reception we had in Lytham at Club Day.

The bikes were yet again adorned with flags, balloons, charity logos, streamers, bubble machines. We were all here kids of all ages and adults; bikes, three wheelers, prams, kids on child seats …. all enthusiastic; all wanting to be a part of our group; all raising awareness #forEdward.

We were a sea of blue and orange assembling outside the gates to Ashton Gardens, and if I may say so, looking the part, and very “carnival like”.

We were behind the “red barrows” from the Round Table, and in front of another group, who I’m really not sure who they were but they were dressed in checked shirts, wearing cowboy hats, and had two dogs with them.

The judges came and judged, and we were awarded second place – not sure how that was judged as I reckon we should have taken first – we looked fantastic – even though I say so myself! Maybe the judges found us too bright and colourful … maybe the checked shirts were easier on their eyes! Lol x

Again there was the usual waiting around after the judging and before the parade. It’s really hard for the children, as they just want to get on with the parade, but they were so well behaved and patient. For me, it was nice to catch up with some fabulous people, including Dawn and Edward, from Roland Whitehead & Daughter, the funeral directors who looked after Edward; really lovely people. “Lancaster” came over to say hi … the Beaver Scout Commissioner, who has known all three of my boys through Beavers, Cubs and Scouts. Tony Ford popped over; he has worked so hard recently in helping St Anne’s in Bloom create that marvellous living selfie frame #forEdward. And if you didn’t get a chance to see it on Carnival Day or over the weekend, it will be at the station on 16th July too. Tony was busy this weekend welcoming a team of cyclists who cycled all the way over from our twin town in Germany.

About half an hour later than scheduled, the parade eventually got going! I was hoping it would move faster than the parade in Lytham as it’s not easy cycling at a snail’s pace. Fortunately we managed to cycle sporadically, much better being able to cycle as opposed to scooting round like we did in Lytham – gosh that was a slow parade. I think the thing I missed most in this parade though was music; I couldn’t hear any as we were going along. We needed a band. When you’re in a parade you need a band, it gives you a pace, interest, something to sing in your head, or out loud if you’re inclined, something to tap a beat to whilst you’re pausing and waiting to move on again … there was so much more music, singing and all manner of bands playing in the parade at Lytham.

The weather started off a bit rainy …. not heavy rain, quite light in fact, but enough for me to have words with my boy above that we needed it sorting for the parade. It was a bit cloudy initially, but then that glorious sunshine came out and baked us to the point of emergency application of suncream just as we turned off Church Road.

The crowds were friendly; and there were even drinks for those that wanted them, the jewellers on St Albans Ave were there with orange juice, or even bucks fizz; Orchard Estate Agents were there on Wood Street with bottles of water, which were really welcome; that was something we missed in Lytham, which would have been rather nice.

Thousands of leaflets were handed out again by Aidan (doing a fabulous job again for us); Sarah joined us this year too, she’d seen my appeal for help and wanted to be involved; Henry, who didn’t want to cycle this time, after his inability to cycle in the slow Lytham parade, still wanted to walk with us, so he created many bubbles with his bubble gun, and handed many leaflets out too. Linda from Bonney Fabrics joined us on the parade too; an ongoing supporter of the charity, she is again going to be coordinating #TreesforEdward this year, so was handing out leaflets to try and get all those who can sew, knit and crochet to get involved with this lovely community project, and help #raiseawareness #forEdward this way.

So many familiar faces in the crowd, I spotted many, others shouted me, feel like my face was aching with all the smiling and waving. Thank you too to those who came and introduced themselves to me, lovely to meet you, and I can now put a face to a name. If I missed anyone, I’m sorry, but you should have shouted louder!

From the photographs I’ve seen, and from what I witnessed that day, I think we were fabulous. We looked amazing; we looked the part; we were right in the heart of our community, bringing the “spirit of Edward” with us; we engaged with the community, we raised awareness, we had fun too – totally what this charity is all about.

A quick cycle past and a wave to the dignitaries brought the parade to a close, so we took a right at Ashton Gardens, left the parade and cycled back through town to stash the bikes before heading back to the Gardens for some fun in the sunshine, with a pit stop en route for pasties (or in the case of Oliver, a fish finger buttie) and a brew for me (a must) – sadly my fears were realised as the brew was in a polystyrene cup (which I loathe), but since the brew was only 50p, one can’t complain too much.

Popped by to see St Anne’s in Bloom, and the wonderful frame which they’ve planted for Edward. After having a family selfie, I went to speak with the in bloomers. I chatted with the lovely Fiona and even posed for a photo with her. I’m thrilled with the way the frame looks, and hope that there will be many occasions where we can wheel this out, so I’m really hoping that people will ask can it be borrowed, so it can go to quite a few events.

Sitting on the grass, I was approached by an elderly couple asking what on earth was going on today. I told them about Carnival Day, and asked if they'd watched the parade. No they hadn't, and they only live overlooking the gardens. They'd missed the parade, and hadn't a clue what was going on. I felt sorry for them, that living so close, and at the very heart of the town, they were still cut off from knowing what was going on here on their doorstep. I waved to them wishing them a lovely afternoon ... I hope they did have.

After a quick wander, and a meet up with my sister-in-law, we headed to where the entertainment was happening. Fabulous acrobatics, dancing and a big shout out from me to Mr Oliver Dee who was asked to join the Clifton Samba Band who were performing too – they were brilliant, and the perfect sound for Carnival Day in my opinion.

Great company, conversation, entertainment, sunshine and Pimms – an idyllic afternoon. William joined us – he’d been playing trumpet all day with Lancashire Schools Jazz Orchestra, so was unable to be in the parade. Worn out from a week away with NCS, a long day for a performance in Birmingham; followed by a day’s jazz rehearsal; he arrived and chilled out with us whilst enjoying his delicious and extremely calorific Tommy Shakes milkshake, asking why we were watching “old ladies dancing” …. his words, not mine!

Late afternoon, we meandered back …slowly …as we bumped into so many friends we knew, collected our bikes and headed for home. .

We’re all feeling tired today. Justin had an early start as he’s gone off on a work trip to the US; William is still in bed … and may be there some time. Oliver is chilling out still in PJs. I predict not much will be done today; time to relax, reflect, and enjoy a day off.

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