It is that time of year of summer fetes, festivals and carnivals.
The Farnham Carnival takes place on the last Saturday in June, which is where I happened to be. Last June it was the Washingborough Church Fete.
I was there with my friend Sian, though strictly speaking we were not actually there for the Carnival, we were there for the music in the evening, or more specifically Mike Dawes and Amy Turk who we had seen and enjoyed earlier in the month in concert at the West End Centre, a little cultural oasis in Aldershot. But having never been to the Carnival before, not even known of its existence, we thought we’d make the day of it as Farnham is a pleasant market town to visit.
The theme of the Carnival was fashion through the ages.
We arrived around lunchtime as stalls were being set up in Castle Street. We walked up into Farnham Park and ate lunch on the grass under the shade of a tree. By the time we walked back down the carnival was in full swing.
For us, highlight of the carnival was an invite to look inside the local Masonic Lodge and performance by Mike Dawes and Amy Turk early evening.
The invite into the Masonic Lodge was fascinating and we had a long and very interesting discussion with the Masons we met. As it was pointed out to us, the Masons is not a secret society, it is a society with secrets. The same quote or something very similar can be found within The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (paperback edition due out shortly).
What surprised us was a Masonic stall at the carnival to recruit new members. It used to be by personal invite only. The times they are a changing.
Late afternoon there was a fly past by the Red Arrows.
Organization of the carnival left much to be desired. There may have been programmes saying what was on, but we did not see any. No fresh drinking water. Two sound stages but nothing to say who was on or when, not even anything to say who the acts were who were on stage. We were very lucky that we did not miss Mike Dawes and Amy Turk as we were at the wrong sound stage and we only caught them because we took a walk to the other sound stage to see who was on.
There was a carnival procession, most of which we missed as like a couple of Muppets we remained in Castle Street expecting the procession to pass by.
Why junk food? Why burger and hot dog vans? Why not invite Matt from The Deli in North Camp to set up a hog roast? Why not invite Hunts Hill Farm in Normandy to run a barbecue? Food does not have to be junk.
After Mike Dawes and Amy Turk had finished we wandered back to the main sound stage where a very good rock n roll group were playing, but no idea who they were. Sadly we did not stay for them as we were hungry, tired and thirsty and wandered up the street to Nelson Arms where luckily a table was vacated. We sat outside and had an excellent smoked salmon and avocado salad.
After our excellent smoked salmon and avocado salad at the Nelson Arms we sat outside drinking until late, then began our long trek home, tired but happy after a very enjoyable day out. The next day we were off to the Ambient Picnic at Losely Park near Guildford, part of the Celebrating Surrey Festival.
A hot day, probably reached 28C.
Farnham is a small market town in Surrey, roughly half way between London and Winchester.