Five Fleet Friars Float

Fleet Carnival 3rd Place

Nick Keeley writes:

At the start of June we committed ourselves to enter a Fleet Pond Society float into the Fleet Carnival Parade.  The theme was “Food, Glorious Food” and we quickly linked this to Fleet Pond’s history as the provider of fish to the monks of Winchester in the Middle Ages.

This would involve us dressing as monks. Were we to be monks or friars? Monks, of course, but friars provided the alliterative heading to this blog.

That was the easy bit done, but how to make it happen? Beth would make and paint some brightly-coloured fish and Mandy would acquire the monk costumes.  Terry, Nick and Geoff built the float.

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Geoff, Beth, Mandy, Nick, Colin, Terry, Cathy and Thura

A very sturdy A-frame was built to fit it to the trailer and Nick spent many hours trying to restore a couple of very old four foot square paintings of the pond only to have his efforts rejected whilst he was away on holiday! Decades of grime had left them looking rather drab even after cleaning and varnishing, so two of Colin’s photographs of the pond were made into four foot square posters, which should also be useful for future promotional events.

These posters were generously provided at less than half price by Colin Povey of A Team printers.  Colin got another poster (with another generous 17% discount from Fuji) explaining the Pond/monks connection, just so as to ruin any rear-view vision the tractor driver might have had.

Emails soon promoted us to being a sub-committee. Perhaps we should have been a sub-cloister, as we would not be senior enough to be a sub-conclave.

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Terry The Tractor Driver

The day before the Carnival, Terry, Colin, Nick and Geoff met up to decorate the float with appropriate foliage.  Terry, our tractor driver, took the completed float for a test run and mastered the art of reversing in a matter of seconds. He was probably helped by his past military flying career, when it helped to approach from an angle that nobody expected.

Carnival day arrived and Beth’s colourful fishes provided the finishing touch.  More volunteers turned up to help collect donations and hand out sweets to the watching children. We were also pleased to find that, despite being a very small float surrounded by very large lorries, we had won third prize in the Private Entry Section.

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Merrymaking Monks!

Off we set in the Carnival parade, and when we had a spare moment we were already working out our plans for next year’s float.  The drizzly rain held off until we were approaching the Views, where the parade ended.

Mindful that the Carnival sub-cloister had not actually had a synod the five monks headed for one of the fairground rides, which hurled us up into the air and was not really ideal for a meeting. Finally four of the monks got soaked going down a rather high kiddies’ slide.

Terry had the job of taking the tractor and trailer back to the workshop and that was the end of our Carnival, apart from dismantling the float next morning.

Beth, Geoff, Mandy, Nick, Terry were the famous five.

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It’s A Long Way Down!

Photo credits: Michelle Salter and Colin Gray.

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