The tune for today:
Rummaging through my sketchbooks (49)

Carnival Time

Around here, the end of summer means it's time for the village Carnival. What better way to mark the changing of the seasons than to dress up crazy and parade through the streets with all your friends and neighbors, dancing in the square and carousing at the pubs and making as much music and noise as humanly possible? Carnival has been a vibrant part of European folk culture for generation upon generation...and here on Dartmoor, we're doing our best to keep this old tradition alive.


In the picture above, my god-daughter Ely Todd-Jones becomes the latest member of her family to take up the stilt-walking trade. She's pictured here in a pretty pink dress, looking distinctly taller than usual. And that's her dad Todd, a master stilt-walker himself, in the rude blue dress on the right.

The photos below were taken on the village school grounds, where people gathered before the big procession through town. First we have a gathering of lovely faires from the Chagford Filmmaking Group, with Alex Lathem on stilts:


Fairies & Stiltwalker

Next, some "synchronized swimmers" from the group that runs our village swimming pool:


Artist Danielle Barlow and assorted kids explore the subject of pollination:


Howard and I joined the parade as members of Beatroot, our local drumming group. (He's lurking between the two top hats in the picture; I'm holding the camera.)

Beat root

Another group is walking (and riding) like Egyptians:

Every parade needs a pirate or two . . .


. . . and a band of pipers to lead the way.


We're all on the move now: pipers and pirates, dogs and drummers, fairies and bugs and giant vegetables. . . .

The parade begins

The pipers lead us through the school yard gates and onto the village streets. . .

Pipers on the move
...while Beatroot follows at the back of the procession, keeping those fairies moving to a samba beat.

Beat root 2

Beat Root 3

Beat Root 6

As the procession now winds through the village square, that's me & Howard with Beatroot, above, and harpist/filmmaker Elizabeth-Jane Baldry with her bevy of fairies, below. 

Carnival crowd
Stiltwalker in the square

Pyramids and boats and bumblebees...

Egyptians 2

Little bumblebees

Some circus escapees join our ranks....
Circus escapees

And a couple of tiny dancing fairies....

Dancing fairy

Little fairy

Ely & Todd's "father-daughter stilt-walking team" steals the show...


Father & daughter stiltwalkers

. . . and earns a hug from one man in a skirt to another.


Happy End-of-Summer everyone!

Photos by me and Thomas Hine. Thanks Tom!