After a very dreary and incredibly rainy Saturday in London town yesterday, the skies cleared, the sun came out and all was set for the first day of the 2013 Notting Hill Carnival – children’s day! Given that the weather turned out to be so darn nice, it was no surprise that the masses were out in full force in Notting Hill today. Barely a single street within the Carnival zone (and many just outside) was anything less than utterly rammed; space in front of the many soundsystems was entirely filled with many revellers making up their own special dance routines; and queues for jerk chicken and goat curry were round the block. Okay, that’s a slightly exaggeration – but queues to buy cans of Red Stripe at the corner shops did literally stretch around corners. And I’m using literally correctly.
Of course, with all these people in a relatively small bit of London it’s rather obvious that – how do I say this politely? – certain parade-side stretches of road rapidly became a slow-moving crush of people. (The junction of Westbourne Park Road and Great Western Road, for one.) Still, it was all rather good natured (amazing what a rum cocktail in a coconut can do to lift the spirits!). And we always got through the crowds eventually.
We were there for the parade in the mid-afternoon today, watching plenty of mobile sound systems, parade partygoers (who – at some point – had doused themselves in powder paint, and then later chocolate milk that had been given out!) and cute children in some rather elaborate costumes. Westbourne Grove by Ledbury Road ended up being a particularly good viewpoint for us, and in close proximity for the essentials (food and beer).
I do now feel slightly deafened from walking past those soundsystems – how people can stand in front of those massive blocks of speakers for hours at a time is a little mindblowing. (Do I sound old?) And I don’t want to think about all those piles of rubbish left over on the streets (or the state of toilets in private flats that owners had opened up to the public for a charge…).
Check out some photos of today’s Carnival below:
If you’re heading to the Notting Hill Carnival tomorrow – enjoy!