Last night, Chris and I saw the Carnival in Shepton, and it was amazing! We really are incredibly lucky to have such a spectacular free event every year, and even the rain held off. We always choose the same spot, next to a lovely old ash tree on Commercial Road, opposite the Salvation Army building. The procession reached us around 7.45, and we were thoroughly entertained from the very first cart (Naggers: You won’t stop talking) to the very last (New Orleans Voodoo). Even those without lights or music didn’t lose their appeal, and I hope the loud cheers and clapping helped to lift the spirits of those who had obviously worked so hard all year.
The Shepton Mallet Carnival is now in its 52nd year and I’ve grown up with it being held every year. When I was younger we used to watch it from the railway bridge at the ‘top’ of town by the Ridgeway estate, and I remember it always being freezing cold! Over the years a few things changed, in my teens and early 20s it became a very social event, going to the pub afterwards and turning into work the following day with a very sore head. Later I started working in Bristol and stopped seeing the carnival for several years because I was just too tired by the time I came home and had eaten.
After changing jobs, I tried taking Whiskey one year, but he really did not like the noise, although he did enjoy the walk back through town with his nose to the ground searching for scraps of fast food. I do remember one year walking home afterwards feeling like I was in my very own musical, with the night sky filled with light and music all around.
When Chris and I started dating, I thought it would be nice and romantic to see the carnival together and eat afterwards, and made a butternut squash and sweet potato soup. It was very nice but lacked a bit of ‘bite’. Chris did say that he enjoyed it, but he does have a much sweeter tooth than me, and was probably too much of a gentleman to say if he didn’t like it anyway! This year I chose a recipe from the BBC Good Food website: Butternut squash with red chillies - the only thing I changed was using Greek Yogurt instead of Creme Fraiche, but I don’t think Chris noticed, and the baguette helped mop it up!
My personal favourites included: Naggers & Three Little Pigs (so funny); Ass Haul & Jack (Christmassy); Be Our Guest (thoroughly entertaining); Thriller (of course); The Locker (so clever); Braveheart (how on earth do they stand so still); Beautiful Creatures & The Flying Dutchmen (both completely spectacular, beautiful colours, just wow); Run To The Hills (Chris enjoyed this because it was not Bruce Dickinson singing). But …all of the carts were fantastic, with a very high standard - what will we see next year?