Thursday, 26 June 2014

Flitwick Carnival and Tunstall Carnival

Photo by Andy Timms

Photo by Imogen Barnes

Last weekend we had a brace of carnivals!  Saturday was Flitwick Carnival, and as it wasn't very far and the event didn't open until noon we decided to drive down in the morning.  It always feels very strange on a Friday knowing we've got a show the next day but not packing up and going!  Bright and early Saturday then and Tinker, Casper, Monty, Helen, Imie (who had helped us previously at Lambourn Open Day), Adam (my boyfriend) and myself all piled into the lorry and set off for Flitwick.  Despite me putting the wrong postcode in the sat nav and having an impromptu drive through Woburn Park (beautiful) we arrived in good time and only had to set the stables up.  We had the arena marked out in no time, and took Casper in for a rehearsal.  He was so full of himself it was unbelievable! We were haring around at breakneck speed, even after an hour and a half!!  I was full of trepidation for the show, as there were a few people that I knew coming to the show so I wanted to put on a good performance.

Before long the carnival procession arrived, and what had been a relatively empty field was absolutely rammed within a very short space of time - there were so many people it was untrue!  Our performance time came around in no time, so into the arena we went!  Casper was STILL full of bounce, and the first freestyle was fast to say the least.  However, I'm quite used to him going so fast now, so I can still do every move - even going upside down twice!  Everybody in the audience really loves it when he goes fast, and Helen has come up with a brilliant line: 'He's really putting the galloping into Galloping Acrobatics!'.  He did all his dancing and tricks very well, so I was pleased with him for that, and he settled down for the final freestyle so I didn't have to hang on quite so much.  The only slight problem we had was that we only had one microphone between us, so had to keep swapping between us - microphone baton change!

Following the show we were joined by my oldest friend Alice and her family.  She has a lovely little boy called Albert who had met Tinker and Casper a couple of months ago at home and had a sit on Casper.  Before long he was up on Casper's back again, sitting up there as happy as anything!  It was lovely to see Alice, as she has been wanting to see a show of ours for years.  Flitwick was the first time we'd been local to her, and thankfully we didn't mess up! 

The organisers were so lovely, and they were really happy with how the day went.  It was the first time they'd put the carnival on in fourteen years, and it was so well supported by the town.  We had a massive audience for Casper's show, and they were all still there for Tinker's later on in the afternoon.  Tinker was absolutely brilliant as usual, he hasn't put a foot wrong all year - where would I be without him?!  

Following our second performance we packed up (in record time thanks to Adam), and headed off for Tunstall, where we were due to perform at their carnival the following day.  The journey was only 130 miles, and mostly motorway so pretty easy.  Adam has his HGV licence, but unfortunately isn't on the lorry's insurance - yet!  I would have loved for him to drive, as having been up since 5am and done two shows I was pretty tired.  Luckily Helen is a good co-pilot, and after three hours or so of chatting nonsense we pulled onto site.  We set the tent up in in record time - far quicker than the six hours it took at the Royal Bath and West Show!  This was because during the week I had taken the offending tent poles with thick spikes to my Dad's workshop, and he had done a fantastic job with his metal lathe making them the correct diameter - hooray!  Within an hour and a half of pulling onto site we were sitting down to supper with the horses tucked up in their stables.  Perfect.

In the morning we were gratified to see that the weather was an improvement on last year - not that it could have been much worse!  We weren't due on until the afternoon, so we had a nice morning pottering away sorting everything out.  Adam's parents arrived so it was another day when I had people I knew watching so really didn't want to mess up!  The other arena act was the Mighty Smith, a lovely chap called Adrian who I haven't seen for a while.  He does a great act where, amongst other things, he rips telephone directories in half - and I think I'm quite strong!  

Before long it was time for Casper's show.  He'd been full of himself again in the warm up, and I was dubious as to how he'd behave in the show.  I wasn't mistaken and we went in all guns blazing!  He was FAST!!  Tunstall is quite tricky as the arena is on a bit of a slope as well, so I was having to time all my moves really well - not helped by my silly flying horse!  I can't get too cross with him though, as it only seems to add to the show - the audience were loving it!  He did a really nice dance as well, but then in the dog agility he decided to go for one of his laps of honour.  He was flying around the arena, with absolutely no intention of stopping or being caught whatsoever.  Everybody was laughing at him and he was having a whale of a time. Eventually Imie managed to get hold of him and we carried on with the show, much to his disgust!  He was actually really good to finish with, and I was especially pleased with him as he really concentrated for the final freestyle holding himself up perfectly around the full circle, even down the slope.  It just goes to show he CAN do everything absolutely spot on, it's just whether or not he chooses to!

Once again Tinker was fantastic.  I always feel like we've redeemed ourselves once we've done his show!  I shouldn't though, as whenever we ask anybody which part of the shows they like best, the answers are generally always along the lines of 'when Casper was going fast!'  It's just so much easier for me to do Tinker's show, he is so reliable that I don't even have to think about him and vaulting on him is a pleasure, whereas Casper exhausts me both physically and mentally!  I wouldn't ever change the little bugger though.  I don't have many photos from the weekend, but you can see the ones we did get by clicking here.

Next weekend we're off to Todmorden Agricultural Show, which I have been looking forward to for years.  I have been in email contact with Helen, the organiser, for about three years now.  She tried to book us back in 2012, but we were already booked elsewhere.  Then last year the show unfortunately had to be cancelled, but we're finally going this year, so I'll let you know how we get on!

Love Rosie

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