Sunday, 4 July 2010

Ware Carnival

We had a lovely day at Ware Carnival yesterday, although when we arrived on Friday night we'd never have guessed it! Tim, Alex, Tinker, Casper and myself set off on Friday evening - without Becca! We were later leaving than originally planned as Tim had been working at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (his 'normal' job is working with vintage Buggatti racing cars), and having been held up there due to a crash had had to beast his little car back to Oxfordshire - apparently imitating much of the driving he'd been watching all day! All this meant that by the time we reached Ware it was about 9pm, and as we pulled up alongside the playing fields where the show was to be held the following day we were greeted with a rather unnerving sight - a police officer leading a young man down the road in handcuffs! What kind of place was this we wondered!!

Our first hurdle was manouvering our lorry into the playing fields. Easier said than done! Having squeezed through one gate I then had to turn and reverse through another, even smaller, gateway. I managed it without too much shuffling, but there's one hedge in Ware that looks slightly different to how it did last week! We managed to set up without any further problems and went to bed wondering what tomorrow would bring.

Saturday dawned hot and sunny, and before long the show ground began to take shape. The show wasn't due to open until 2pm, so we had plenty of time to sort everything out. As soon as they'd set up the arena I took Casper out to have a training session with him. Casper has never been to a show before, so I took the opportunity to bring him along - and I'm so glad I did! We did quite a bit of work in the arena with everybody setting stalls up and busying around, and none of it bothered him at all. He was a bit clingy in the direction of our tent and called for Tinker a few times, but did everything I asked him without fuss. We did a lot of walk vaulting, and a bit of canter. I would have done more canter but the ground was very hard and the circle quite small so didn't want to push him. I also ran through his full dance routine with him which he performed perfectly! This was especially pleasing as he is due to dance in public at our local village fete in a couple of weeks and I really don't want to be embarrassed by him!

To warm Tinker up before the first show I took him for a lovely long ride through the town, over the bridge on the canal past the lock, along the tow path through the trees and past all the decorated narrow boats, before crossing another bridge and arriving back in the car park next to the show field. However, I couldn't get back into the show field as the main carnival parade was just about to start coming past and the pavements were lined with people! Having explained why I couldn't turn around and ride all the way back to an official I was allowed through the people before joining the parade between the majorettes and the first float! I was trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, but it's not easy on a 16.1hh coloured horse! I only had to go about five metres before ducking back through the people and into the show field, but we still got a ripple of applause! It wouldn't have been too bad if I was in costume, but unfortunately I was bare foot in just shorts and a vest top - oops!!

As soon as the parade arrived into the show field it was time for our show - and Tim's commentating debut! He did really well, despite the radio mic being a bit intermittent, and took us through the show with only a couple of stumbles. The crowd we had was absolutely huge - I think practically every single resident of Ware was there! Tinker was fabulous, and loads of people came back with us after the show to have their photo taken with him - he even pricked his ears for some of them! The second show came around quite quickly, and although Tim seemed cool, calm and collected he's since admitted he was absolutely bricking it! He needn't have been though, his commentary was much smoother throughout the second show with only a few prompts needed from me! Alex did the volunteer part of the show really well, having only had one brief practice on Tink at the Three Counties Show, and I managed to stay on until I was supposed to fall off, unlike last week!

After the second show we went for a wander around the rest of the festival site (on a hunt for an ice cream van!), and there was loads going on. There were about eighty stalls all together, as well as fairground rides, the decorated narrow boats and all sorts. It was a really lovely festival and we had a fantastic time there - which just goes to show that first impressions aren't always correct! We were really well looked after throughout the day by Ros, but especially by Shirley. It wasn't until later in the day when we were chatting to Shirley's husband Stuart that we found out Shirley used to be on the British Women's Basketball Team and has represented Britain in international tournaments numerous times! We were very impressed, and then found out that Stuart himself has competed in the Olympics - what a pair! Stuart now commentates for a lot of sporting events for the BBC, at which point Tim was keen to get some advice on commentating techniques!

Before we knew it it was time to pack down, and whilst we did so I turned my boys out into little makeshift pens were the arena had been. This was mainly for Casper's benefit as I wanted him out and about as much as possible. He was really good as there was still lots of flappy red and white tape strung about, stall holders tidying up, a big bunch of white balloons and endless people fussing over him. He took it all in like an old pro, and spent most of the time wandering between different people to see where he could get the most attention! Having wriggled the lorry back out of the playing fields (sorry hedge!) we trucked on home without incident. All in all we had a lovely day, even after the dodgy start on Friday night! The shows both went really well with Tink being fantastic, Tim coped brilliantly with his new role (and actually quite enjoyed it I think!), Casper had a lovely first show experience, and Alex was his usual glamourous self! There are quite a few photos from the day, just click here to see them all. You can also see the Town Council's official photo galleries from the entire day by clicking here and here - and see just how much was going on!

We've got a very local show on Saturday, at the Kingham Commotion, so I'm sure they'll be lots of familiar faces in the audience! I'll tell you all about it next week.

Love Rosie xx

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