Saturday, April 01, 2006

It's Carnival Time

It's the school carnival season. Why go to Rio or Venice when you can enjoy all the 'fun' on your own doorstep? So it might not be so sophisticated, granted, or drunken, or decadent... but it is at home! Mind you, now I come to think of it, drunken, decadent sophistication is also quite appealing.

However, a lovely spring morning spread its generous douceur over the village where my eldest goes to school, and off he set in his 'costume' - an orange tee-shirt and black jeans. The tee-shirt had been hurriedly ordered from La Redoute on Thursday, for a next-day delivery, and we picked it up last night at the flower shop depot. I had quite forgotten about the pressing need for the right coloured shirt and it was only when I caught sight of a scrap of paper handed to me some weeks ago that I realised the imminence of the event. For once, La Redoute had the right garment in the right size and saved the day, and I took advantage of the fact I was ordering to add in his summer's shorts and additional tee-shirts too. A whole delivery just for him. My youngest is, for the moment, doomed to wear his brother's cast-offs although this will not last for much longer as trousers never survive beyond the age of 5. He is still the right age for Natural Childbirth Trust gear though which my mother attends avidly twice a year to stock me up on essentials. Were I not to rely on charity, my boys would be dressed in rags...! (well, I may be exaggerating a little...).

Having dropped off my eldest, we hurried over to Norma to do a quick shop and then made our way to the Mairie park. The theme of the carnival was Latin America, and had I known this may have made an effort to conjure up a poncho in orange together with a nifty Peruvian hat. There again, I may not. All my son was interested in was having that ribbon-type stuff squirted from a canister.

In the park, an area was fenced off, and at one end a band called 'Guacamole' was setting up their gear. They were made up of two guys and a woman dressed in a long tutu, pink underskirt, sparkly waistcoat and extremely high pink sandals. She didn't strike me instantly as being from Latin America despite the Peruvian landscape naively painted onto the backdrop. However, she did put on a dramatically Portuguese accent when she spoke, and the music was good, so it was all good fun.

The kids marched in, to Latin American music, from their different schools; each year dressed in a different colour. Even the Maternelle kiddies were there with their multi-coloured ponchos and 'Peruvian' headgear. Each colour had its zone, and once everyone was in place it looked terrifically festive. Some classes had made headgear, and some mummies, more assiduous (and well-informed) than I, had concocted ponchos in the right colours. Snakes of children wound their way around the fenced in area, with increasing silliness leading to breaking lines, shrieks and charging about trying to get back in place.

My youngest wiled away the time eating biscuits and doing acrobatics on the fences hanging upsidedown and giving me the willies that he'd fall off and then there'd be trouble. He didn't though, clever lad.

Eventually, at 11am it was getting a bit boring and I was dying to get to Intermarche to do my second series of shopping. Thankfully, the music and snaking stopped and the kids made ready to parade around the village. This was our chance! I've done the village thing before, and while it's fun, it's not like I would never forgive myself if I missed it, and I needed to buy lunch. Feeling a little like I was bunking off, I skipped off to the car and lunch was saved.

I've got to go through all this again next Saturday when it's the turn of my youngest's school, in a different village, to have their carnival. Hopefully, next week I'll be able to take some pictures as my camera batteries were found to be dead, and the spares were snugly tucked in my eldest's Gameboy... at home.

It might have been a two-gin day except that time was getting on, so, I consoled myself with a nice glass of my favourite Norma wine (2€59/bottle) over lunch on the terrace, in the sun. Ahhhh.

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