Having said all of this, I must make it clear that the delights of the Carnival were always taken in from one of my great friend's brother's flat. Ana was the second youngest of four and there was enough of an age gap that her eldest siblings were all doing well at work and lived in very salubrious surroundings whilst we slunk back to our compact and not so bijou, cramped, shared flats.
Anyway, the point was that I never really dealt with the throng of the Carnival, other than to run down and pick up rum supplies and armfuls of food orders. We'd join in with the hubbub later in the evening or move across to someone else's flat party before getting the dreaded last train home.
So it was with a little trepidation that I accepted Man's invitation to join him at some of the local events for a nearby village. He spouted that Party on Potton was a countryside version of Notting Hill but without the violence and possibly without as much food but plenty of night time entertainment and he also promised me a dance or two. These were encouraging words of course and being the townie cynic that I am, I agreed that I would attend two of the four nights for this Big Weekend. Tickets bought and activities arranged, I was still really none the wiser as to what I was off to see or do.
I don't really know the history as to why the biennial event started but what I do know is that money collected over the four days is then donated to various local charities and organisations; supporting and keeping the community prosperous and connected. It started on Saturday day (for us) when the carnival was lead through the town by Potton's Fire Brigade and their Engine, followed by Arco Iris Samba Band and then the floats filled with children dressed up to depict each classic decade of the 20th Century. The floats where made from haulage trucks (donated for the day), spit and polished classic cars (and their petrol fumes) along with antique tractors pootled through the Market Square. And bringing up the rear was 'Sound Express', a German Swing Band.
I can honestly say that for a small village, it was an amazing experience seeing the whole community come together, much like the Jubilee Street Parties held throughout Wandsworth but the atmosphere in the Market Square was even better! I loved the Carnival ... okay there where no 'big bird feathers' and Rio costumes, and neither was there a throng of policeman and women keeping their eagle eyes out.
I'm a little gutted that I managed to miss the Wheelie Bin Races but I'm sure that could be rectified if I really desired being transported on two wheels by the Man and then unceremoniously dumped in a heap somewhere. We also missed out on the Games Night (a mash up of games and a battle of the ages) for which I was slightly relieved; there is only so much Dusty Bin, Bulls Eye, Blankety Blank etc that you can relive. And I didn't find time to whiz over to see the 'Dog of all Dog Shows' but that was because Man wouldn't let me enter our two black labs, I think he was concerned that they'd win.
What did surprise me was the Big Band night. A band called 'Sound Express' had flown in from Germany to roll-out all the classic Swing songs, along with a few from the Bubbles (Bublé) collection. They had us toe tapping in our seats until we couldn't tap anymore and resorted to full body wiggling on the dance floor. Man was true to his word and he did manage to spin me around a few times and leave my toes in tact!
We skipped the Sunday Night Vegas Vibe mainly because Man had indulged at the Beer Festival for the best part of the late morning/afternoon and early evening. It must have been a great beer testing session (I was cooking for a client) as the heavenly sound of snoring emanated from the sitting room almost the moment he got home.