Charlesworth Carnival 2013

 Posted by at 23:14 on 7 September 2013
Sep 072013

Get ready for some time traveling … or at least posts that I should have made ages ago, really. One thing I want to use this blog for is to share my photos and stories of what I’ve done – and part of that is motivated by my desire to get my photos in order, which have been woefully neglected for a long time.

Whilst getting ready for another Charlesworth event coming up on the 15th (the Charlesworth and Chisworth Village Get Together – facebook, flier), I’m reminded that I meant to post here about the Charlesworth Carnival, but haven’t yet, so here you go!

(Note: For all the images, just click on the image to see a larger version.)

Getting there and touring the grounds

Charlesworth Carnival is always on the second Saturday in July. It was the second of two carnival weekends in a row for me (Glossop Carnival is the weekend before). Thankfully, this second one was a whole lot less work for me (and Chris). I was only helping with one stall, not two, and what I was doing for that one was a whole lot less involved: I just needed to bake some cakes/etc for the Charlesworth WI stall. This was my first time being involved with this one; last year the carnival was cancelled. There was too much rain, and the field is on a slope, so it was a quagmire.

This year we had perfect summer weather the entire month of July, though, so the carnival was definitely on. I put my baked goods in my shopping trolley and Chris and I set off together: we needed to stop by the market first, which was having its monthly farmers’ market, to see if we could find a certain gift. We found a lovely one, yay. Then I set off to the carnival, and Chris picked up a few other bits for us.

It was a glorious, sunny day. When the bus started coming into Charlesworth, my mood was lifted by all the cheerful bunting strung along most of the village. I was so distracted, I nearly missed my stop! I snapped a few photos along the way to the village green. The first thing I noticed was another lady taking photos, looking absolutely delighted. I saw these scarecrows, and I remembered Charlesworth’s scarecrow competition should be about the same time as the carnival (turns out it’s organized by the same lot), so I asked her what the theme was this year. “Adverts,” came the reply. “Oh, right, who are these guys then?” I asked.

She explained to me that when they deregulated the phone service, 118 118 was one of the first directory assistance numbers launched. Their ads always had these twin runners, she said. Most of all, she was just delighted that the church who’d put these up had linked this to the bible – she thought it was very clever. It was a lovely, upbeat conversation which I do no justice to in the telling. Anyway, after our brief conversation, we parted ways. I’d been there a few days ago, in this church, helping put together the well dressing. It has such lovely grounds.

I also found this garden full of interesting and delightful things.

And a lovely bush full of honeysuckle – one of my favorites!

I’d not been to the Charlesworth Village Green before, but had a good idea of where it should be. I was pretty sure this was it.

This was across from the village green. The bunting is from McDonald’s and says “I’m Lovin’ It.”

I was amused by the sign on the village green.

Then I went up onto the village green.

It looked really empty to me for something that was supposed to start at 10am … and this was about 11:15. I later learned that I’d been misinformed: it doesn’t really start til the parade arrives at the village green, and that doesn’t set off til noon. Anyway, I found the WI stand. This WI owns at least one gazebo, but this time opted to share a marquee with a church. A marquee’s a large tent, and many ladies commented on how much sturdier the marquee seemed than the gazebo.

I was quickly set upon by someone asking where the display board was. Chris and I have made two display boards, which we used first at the Glossop Carnival – one for Glossopdale Transition Initiative‘s stand, and one for the WI’s cream tea stand. No one had asked me if the WI could use it again at Charlesworth Carnival. Apparently it was meant to go on that small table at the back. They were in luck: it was available this day, so one of the ladies quickly drove me home and back again to get it, and up it went.

Both of the large tables forming the L-shape were filled with baked goods – as a group, we did produce quite a bit. I’d made apple muffins, banana nut muffins, and bran muffins. There were early promising sales of these, but then it dropped, and in the end these were some of the last to go. I’ll take them again next year – maybe the people who had them this year will want them again, now that they’ve tried them – but I’ll take less, and probably some different things. I’m also pondering adding “American” to the name (since they are) and see what that does. I’m hoping it’ll change them from being “weird things I’ve never heard of” to “Oooh, that’s exotic! I’ll have that!” Companies plop “American” and “American-style” on enough labels here to make me think there must be some benefit to it.

Display board dealt with, I was bored on the stand, so I wandered around the green to see what there was there. The bouncy castle was inflated by now.

I’m thinking of making some bunting – Chris and I currently string ribbons up to decorate the ceiling for various holidays, but I can sew now and all, and bunting looks easy enough to make, and I think it’s more fun. I paid special attention to all the variations in bunting as I walked around the field, and concluded there’s no right or wrong way to do it, really. My eye was caught by this bunting:

In particular, I noticed how the sewing around the letters was done. When I did it around that banner I made for Glossop Carnival, my stitching came out perpendicular to the line I was sewing along, but here it’s angled. Can you see it? If not, click on the image for a larger version. The angles look good, and I haven’t a clue how to do that. Do any of you?

I did ask the lady in the stall, but she said her friend made it, so she didn’t know. She then told me her friend’s sewing machine is “as big as an airplane,” so I wonder if it’s just a feature my machine doesn’t have. Hm.

Leaving there, I found the refreshment tent.

After my tour around the green, the PA system announced the parade would soon be arriving, so I went to watch that. Lots more photos to come in the next part!

The parade!

Once I’d finished touring the ground, the PA system announced that the parade would soon be at the bottom of the field, so I made my way down there to see the parade. Turns out I picked a lousy spot – they nearly all stopped once they got to me – but I got a few pictures anyway. The crowd waited rather restlessly (but at least we had shade – it was a rather warm day).

Eventually, the parade arrived! It was led by the police tractor. Unfortunately, they don’t really use this tractor in policing – we sure have the escaped sheep for it, as well as the marshy ground in parts of Derbyshire, and the occassional unpassable-because-of-snow parts. Nope, they’ve borrowed it to promote their new Farm Watch scheme (I love how the government here always comes out and admits it does nothing but scheme, by putting scheme directly in the name). Farm Watch is like Neighborhood Watch, but for farms. They only plan to use it in shows, carnivals, parades, etc.

Anyhoo, after the tractor was the band.

I think this was one of the carnival queens with her attendants, probably Charlesworth’s. Here’s another queen and attendants.

Next was this horse and rider – two riders, I see now – they’d used chalk to decorate themselves and the horse as skeletons. I was vastly amused and thought it was terribly clever; just wish I’d gotten better pictures!

Another queen.

Click on image for a larger version

Then there was the Walk Like An Egyptian crowd. 🙂 I quite liked these costumes! The music sure livened up the parade; hopefully there’ll be more next year.

Then there was the one and only float of the sort I’m used to seeing – towed behind a truck of some sort, built up on a trailer. This is for one of the churches in the village. I do wonder why this type is so rare here.

Immediately after they passed, the last part of the parade – three floats – pulled up and stopped. These were of the style usually seen here, where they get a large lorry (semi truck / 18-wheeler) and use the back of the truck as a place to stand/sit, and decorate it. The closed up trucks here have sides that can be rolled up, so they roll those up and have a small bit of roof over them. There were two like that, plus one open flat bed trailer.

Once they stopped, the people on them started trying to get off them, onto this sidewalk that was already crammed with people. It was quite a scrum. I liked the decoration of the first float, so went about trying to get pictures of the floats. They didn’t come out very well at all, but here are a few snippets. The first one had a Where’s Wally? theme.

The second one had a Bugs World theme.

The last one was from the Boy Scouts.

After the parade, people poured onto the green – now it started looking much more like a carnival!

The carnival’s really going now!

As I saw on twitter around this time: “Daz/Ariel allergy epidemic sweeps Glossop as more and more men are unable to wear shirts and take to the streets topless.” It’s true!

This band was really good!

You can see and hear a video of them here (warning: it’s kind of loud because of the background noise, so take care with headphones).

Anyways, I spent a bit more time in the WI tent …

… but quickly got bored (I wasn’t serving), so I set off to see that well dressing I’d helped make.

The well dressings, and the tail end of the carnival

On the way to the well dressings, I found the only other scarecrow display I saw at all: another 118 118 display.

I also passed this warning sign, and this woman and child. He should be on her left! – that’s why it was scorching hot instead of nice and cool like a snowflake suggests. Clearly.

I found the well dressings!

The small one on the left and the big one were the ones being worked on in the church when I went; the small two on the right were made by the two local primary schools. One of the parents came by to have a nosy at ours after helping the kids make theirs next door, and the way she talked about it, I thought it’d be awful, but actually, it’s very well done!

Anyhoo, so closeups, going from left to right. My friend Ruth apparently did most of this one herself – they were really short-handed. She did a brilliant job!

This big one is the one I helped work on. It’s huge. This picture from when we were working on it shows the scale better:

On the right is what it looked like when I left Tuesday afternoon. That’s Ken spraying water on it so it doesn’t dry out. Between working sessions, he sprays water and covers it in plastic. To make a well dressing in these parts, you press natural things (leaves, petals, stones, peppercorns, pine needles, etc) into a big board of clay. Then you hope it’s not too hot and dry so it lasts the week once it’s up.

Here’s the finished board!

The design is Britain & Ireland plus a few of the smaller islands, with some national symbols: rose for England, daffodil for Wales, thistle for Scotland, and I really have no idea why the wheat(?) is there. Anyone know? I should remember to ask the lady who designed it sometime.

The primary school next door to the church made this one on the left. The other primary school made the one on the right.

After ogling the well dressings for awhile, I headed back to the carnival. I crossed paths with Ken, who I met while working on the well dressing. He is a friendly man, and we stopped and had a bit of a natter.

When I got back to the WI tent at about 3pm, this was all that was left!

While I was helping to sell off the last few, I saw this lady using a parasol – an actual parasol – I’ve never seen one in use in real life!

Once everything was sold, I let the others pack up since they knew what they were doing – too many helpers in things like that always annoys me, because you spend more time asking what to do and tripping over each other than anything else. I took my display board and headed home. A bus came before too long, and then I managed to catch a bus the rest of the way home after that (only because it was running 20 minutes late!). That display board is heavy, so I’m glad I didn’t have to carry it the mile home from where the first bus dropped me!

As I recall, once home, I peeled off my sweat-soaked clothing and promptly collapsed. 🙂

All in all, it was a lovely day, and I’m so grateful to the committee of Charlesworth Carnival for putting it on. Looking forward to next year’s!

How I Shop in Glossop

 Posted by at 22:18 on 31 August 2013
Aug 312013

One of the many things I had to learn when I arrived here in Glossop was how to shop. There is no Target, no Walmart. There is no Tesco Extra1 in my town. When I want something, I must go hunt it down, like game in the jungle, elusively mocking my inability to find it.

Glossop High Street.

At least, that’s how it felt at first. Coming from the land of find-everything-under-one-roof, where I see more and more small shops have gone the way of the dodo on each visit, to this land populated entirely by small and medium shops, I was very frustrated at first. It didn’t help that I wasn’t even familiar with what I was looking at: where’s the 409?2 the Bounty?3 the Downy? What’s “washing up liquid” and why’s that on the aisle sign in the supermarket?4 Why does searching for “sponges” on the supermarket website bring up cake?5 Where can I buy a hand dishwashing rack and bowl?6 Where do they sell unscented candles?7 WHERE is the baking soda!?!

Okay, a few of those are (slight) exaggerations, but I still really miss the ability to just look for the really big numbers 409 and quickly leave the chemicals aisle (the fumes always bother me), not to mention having just one bottle of cleaner I’m sure will pretty much work on anything.

However, I wouldn’t trade my shopping experience here with my all-under-one-roof shopping experience in the US (most days). What I have here is just too enjoyable to do that. Friday, I was out for 4.5 hours to do the shopping, and it was really lovely. Doing the shopping here is so much more a social event for me than it’s ever been before in my life; I reckon it’s outside the experience of most of my friends and family, and far too many Britons, so it’s about time I write about it.

Read all about it …

On this day, I started by seeing my beautician, Suzanne at The Beauty Room, who has the unfortunate responsibility of taming my wild eyebrows. Usually you think of waxing as rather unpleasant, but I don’t mind going to see Suzanne – the pain itself is far less from her than from other waxers I’ve had, but moreover the natter is always enjoyable and usually interesting.

I emerged from there and saw that the newly-opened bakery in town, One17, was actually open, and I was there, so I popped over to check it out. I met the proprietress, Jane, and we had a lovely chat about all sorts of things. I bought a couple of things to try, and went on my way.

I headed up to the market, to work my way back down again (I don’t usually double back, but Suzanne’s is in the middle of my path down the high street). On the way, I saw Nigel, the proprietor of Sowerbutts, taking stock as I passed by. He was sure to point out to me that they’d gotten in some smoked garlic; I thanked him and told him I’d get some on my way back down the street. Shortly after that, I ran across someone I know but haven’t seen for ages; we stopped and chatted a bit about how life’s going. I told him about Bankswoodberry this weekend, since the rock music playing there struck me as his cup of tea (I was right).

Then I picked up my local(ish) paper, the Glossop Chronicle, from the newsagent. I finally remembered to look for the Buxton Advertiser‘s new Glossop edition, only to find out that this week is the first week they haven’t published it. Apparently it didn’t sell very well, so they’ve stopped. The newsagent and I had a good laugh at the supreme localism – how some people look askance at people from o’er the hill – and how the Buxtonites, especially, can’t be trusted, after having stolen Glossop’s Howard Park gates all those years ago!

I poked around Niche Markit, after being lulled over by half-price sizable water guns. The clerk put her mind to helping me find a gift – no luck, in the end, but I definitely had to relieve them of a couple of water guns. 😉

I waved at Maggie, who waved back while talking with someone at her card stall as I went past, and I headed into the market. The lady who runs the Market Deli was leaving to get some customers something out of the freezer as I was passing by; trust runs high in these parts – I hope rightfully so. The market bakery (The Muffin Stall) still had some oven bottom muffins (also here), so I snapped up a couple for Chris. Then I stopped at the cheesemonger’s, Parker’s, and had a lovely chat with Jean.

Jean’s hiding down at the end in this snap.

Too many times I’m in a rush when I do the shopping, but today I wasn’t, so I strolled through the market and ogled the rug stall (we need a new living room rug, but I keep forgetting to measure our floor). The stallholder came over and chatted to me again – the first time I was drawn to his stall, he told me all about his trip to New York some years ago, and we’d had a lovely chat. I wandered down to Glossop Screenprint, who’s recently set up a stall in the market. He has some very amusing shirts, but I hadn’t realized he was a screenprinter, too, until I saw something from the market’s twitter mentioning it. I have an idea for some t-shirts to make, so I got some prices and information from him. Then some socks caught my eye at Mini Muggles (a children’s clothing stall), but sadly they didn’t have the size I needed. The gal helped me work out size probabilities for a child of unknown size, and efficiently helped me find something to suit. Hooray!

Wandering around, my ear was caught by an acquaintance of mine hollering at me; I turned to find her sitting in the market café with a cup of tea. I was quite hungry by now, so I joined her for a sandwich and a chat. That was really lovely: we swapped stories of our trips around America. Mine was my recent road trip this past spring, and hers was some unspecified number of years ago. She went coast to coast, from Maine to San Francisco – all on a coach! I really don’t envy her that. But it was lovely to reminisce, and to visit with her.

We parted ways, and I finally made my way back down to Sowerbutts to get that smoked garlic, plus the rest of my greengrocer list. Three of the regular workers were there, and two different of them quickly told me about the new loyalty card program (well, the second one started to, but the first one jumped in and said, “I already told her – beat you to it!”). We pulled each others’ legs about our food preferences and dislikes, and after a bit I was the only customer in the shop, so I told them about my accent experience (from my last post), and we talked about accents a bit. I was able to ask them about the offense that might be construed by mixing up two certain accents (quite a lot, as it turns out) – which helps me understand why it is that people always phrase the question as, “Where is your accent from?” instead of “Are you from ____?” Once we’d solved all the mysteries of the universe ;-), I headed on.

I also dropped by the butcher we use, Mettrick’s. I still feel so blessed that we can get meat from a butcher who is patient and knowledgeable enough to answer all my questions (born of continuing to cook American recipes while living in England, where all the cuts of meat are called differently), and has such a short supply chain that should any problem ever occur, it will be quickly dealt with, because all the links are known – personally.

Then I found that the newest shop on High Street (it just opened on Monday) was still open, so I dropped in to have a look around. It’s lovely, and full of nice things. I chatted a bit with the proprietor Darren, and he told me that the nail salon they plan to open is planned for the upstairs – so this gives me hope that the fumes won’t keep me away after all! Happily, he reported that they’ve had a lot of lovely feedback in this first week – fingers crossed that translates into enough sales to keep them around.

Then I needed to pick up the last few things on my list from the supermarket, so I headed there. Ran across two different friends I haven’t seen in awhile, chatted a bit with each. My teacher friend thinks summer’s gone far too quickly, unsurprisingly; my other friend had just returned from ten days in France, and had to restock – especially on bacon, which she couldn’t find there — what scandal!

So that’s how I spent four and a half hours doing the weekly shopping. That’s also (part of) how to be part of a community, which is what’s being threatened by the demise of British High Streets. The connections, the humanity, the non-sterile experience: these and far more are at stake.

Connecting with people was a huge part of what I missed while I was in America this past spring. The cashiers at various supermarkets were friendly enough, but I guess the difference is it’s just one transaction at the end instead of the many different people I interact with each week here at home. The posher supermarkets now have manned cheese counters, bakeries, deli counters, fish counters, etc; I understand some here do, as well. I don’t know about the ones here, but the ones we were in, all across the breadth of the US, were very rarely staffed with workers anywhere nearly as knowledgable as the traders on my high street. They were still supermarket employees who’d never received any training specific to the counter they were manning, mostly. So no, I doubt I’d ever bond with them as I’ve bonded with the people here, simply because how I broke the ice in the beginning was by having to ask about nearly everything.

I still have to ask about Praze deli‘s bewildering array of cheese!

Glossop is incredibly blessed in its richness of traders, particularly independent ones – I’ve only mentioned the tip of the iceberg here, and not even all the ones I visit. There’s the cobbler, whom I only see sometimes, and the other cobbler whom I don’t use; there are at least two other butchers; there are two pound shops; there are a dazzling array of charity shops (thrift stores); there’s a sweet shop; there’s a craft shop I use quite often; the list just keeps going on and on. Unfortunately, too many towns in England are suffering from closures of high street shops.

Even where national chain shops are the only choice, that’s still far better than shuttered high streets. The whole social thing that is the human experience still happens as long as the shops are staffed by people. The WI resolved this summer to work to save the high streets. Hopefully our work towards that goal will accomplish good things for all.

  1. Britain’s answer to Super Walmart []
  2. 409 is an all-purpose spray cleaner; yes, I know there are plenty of them to choose from here, but that still requires reading the “how to use” stuff on the back to figure out which ones they are, instead of just knowing which cleaner does what. []
  3. Bounty paper towels, not Bounty candy bars. I’ve realized now that Bounty paper towels are re-branded Plenty now. []
  4. Turns out washing up liquid is dish soap; they say: “I have to do the washing up” instead of: “I have to wash the dishes.” []
  5. They call ordinary cake sponge cake here, to differentiate from fruit cake (which, strangely, they call a celebration cake, instead of a door stop). []
  6. From the supermarket, the market, or the pound store, but you’ll pay the most at the supermarket. []
  7. Not many places, it turns out, and again, the supermarket’s the worst on price. []