Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hornsea carnival

I traveled up to Hornsea in East Yorkshire last weekend to tell at their annual carnival. I did get the impression that they had forgotten I was coming, but still I was made very welcome and I think it was just that everyone was very busy getting everything ready.

The stunt team doing their thing
Click on any image to make it larger

The carnival had lots going on including a motorcycle display team, dancing, falconry, a chain saw carver, live music and even a magic show. But the weather was against us for most of the weekend and so some displays had to be cut short, although this didn't stop the stunt team jumping their bikes over twenty people and a car as well. Although due to the wet conditions, the safety barriers had to be moved back to my telling tent and i was worried that one of them would end up inside it!

The chain saw carver, chain sawing an owl

The chainsaw carver also kept going, using various size chainsaws to carve bears, dragon flies, foxes and all sorts of creatures. I'd never seen anything like this and being a carver of wood myself was amazed at the fine detail he could make using a chain saw. That said I still prefer chisels, because you really get a feel for the wood.

Music at Hornsea Carnival

Grey skies looming, but still still some stayed to listen to the bands

The interdenominational church service

The rain couldn't even dampen the spirits of those who gathered for the interdenominational church service in the main arena on Sunday morning. I'm not religious myself, but I was impressed by their staying power. From the safety of my tent I watched as the heavens opened upon their service, but still everyone kept singing and stayed until the end. All I will say is that no sooner did the service end, than the sun came out. What that means I do not know although it might suggest that their God has a sense of humour!

Sam playing crazy golf. He's crazy!

Certainly the weather went from hot sunshine and cold showers on both days, but I think the Yorkshire folk must be much hardier than southerners like me and many stayed to listen to music, ride on the various funfair rides and come and listen to my tales. In fact the more it rained, the more people came into my tent!

And not all southerners are soft for Sam came with me and braved the crazy golf when no others would dare. His three main passions in life are his band, Paleopathology and crazy golf!

A stock photo of Hornsea seafront

As for Hornsea itself I was really looking forward to it because I had told last year up at Scarborough Castle and really like the dramatic coastline up that way, much more than I like the sandy beaches of Norfolk. But I was surprised to find that the beaches of Hornsea are flat and sandy and driving along that stretch of coast it was surprisingly like Norfolk. I found out later that this is because Hornsea is set within a large natural bay.

The town itself however is not like a Norfolk seaside town and is funny in that it doesn't look like a seaside town at all. In fact you wouldn't know it was until you walked right down to the beach with its one large main amusement arcade and fish and chip shop which incidentally served fantastic fish and chips! I think that most people probably come to Hornsea to visit the mere, a large open stretch of fresh water formed during the ice age that has its own wildlife reserve, many walks and an island or two.

Sam's pebble before....

And after!

Sam's second and more well worn fossil ammonite

Hornsea is also every different to Norfolk in that its beaches are littered with fossils, which are presumably eroded from the cliffs further north at Ravenscar and washed down south by the waves. Certainly many of the fossils were well worn, but on Saturday evening when day was over, but night time had yet to begin Sam and I explored the beach and he found a well rubbed pebble with a fault line all the way around it. We took it back to the camper and the following morning as I was cooking breakfast Sam took a hammer I keep in the van for such occasions and tapped, tapped, tapped until the pebbles split and the partial remains of an ancient ammonite was displayed for all to see, meaning me and Sam. The first humans to look upon something that died perhaps hundreds of millions of years ago!

Humber Bridge looking across

Humber Bridge looking up

Leaving East Yorkshire behind for the even rainier Norfolk

Hornsea Carnival for all the rain was excellent and I love the friendliness of Yorkshire folk and the fact that they are better at riddles than many down south I have met. We drove home wet and happy, especially since we decided to come back over the Humber Bridge, and I really like bridges!

Thanks to Colin for inviting me to tell at Hornsea and to all the other carnival organisers for their hospitality.

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