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Fascinating talk covered the history of carnival

By Wells Journal  |  Posted: November 15, 2012

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Rodney Stoke and Draycott WI

The magic of the carnival came to Draycott Memorial Hall when John Dando came to talk to us.

His obvious enthusiasm and love of carnival was apparent from the outset and he fascinated us with its history and origins. We learnt about its beginnings in Bridgwater in the 17th century and the use of carts to keep carefully made costumes clear of the mud. We learnt of phosphorous flares, the use of generators and squibbing. The Somerset carnivals are magnificent and John had a DVD showing some of the best entries over the years. Hundreds of thousands of people come to see the seven Somerset carnivals and the floats can take more than two hours to go by. The DVD, and squibbing, went to the Olympics at Weymouth and John goes into schools to the delight of the children. He brought some of the many lovely costumes we see on the floats and then judged the competition for a sparkly mask. The winners were: first, Gillian Salt; second, Helen Marshall and third, Lesley Davy.

We then learnt that our entry in the Big Walk, Little Splash competition, at Somerset Federation level, had won the under 35 members category and had gone on to be judged at the national level. Congratulations to Jean Reeson for putting it together and Mary James for her help.

We had a good time at our social skittles evening and are looking forward to the next ones. We are playing in the WI knockout competition against Walton next Wednesday. We are looking forward to Annie's winter warmer lunch, the lunch club Christmas lunch and our Christmas meeting, where we will be trying Lebanese food. There seems to be a theme here.

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, December 6, at 7.15pm, in Draycott Memorial Hall, when Wafaa Powell will talk to us about Lebanese-style cookery.

Jan Warne

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