Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Ryde on the Isle of Wight is a sleepy, seaside town. Even in the height of summer with hundreds of tourists knocking about it's a fairly somnambulant kind of place. For such a small town though, it has the most remarkable carnival. Several years ago now a group of teachers from the local High School went on a mission to Latin America and came back enthused by the art of carnival and as a result of that and, no doubt, of acres of National Lottery funding or some such, there is now a thriving carnival workshop on the Island and it all seems to come to a head in the annual illuminated Ryde carnival. It's a fantastic mix of Caribbean, Latin American and very British style carnival so there's outrageous costumes, Samba drumming and Carnival Queen Floats and marching bands all mixed in. Even some of the Notting Hill carnival companies round off their season with a trip to the Isle of Wight to appear at the Ryde carnival.

I grew up in Ryde and my parents still live there so we weren't exactly tourists when we jumped on the ferry on Saturday for a bit of mooching in the junk/antique/bookshops of Ryde followed by the carnival. It also happened to be my dad's birthday - bonus!

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