My costume this year is Britannia.

It’s a dress with the Union Jack on the front trimmed with red, white and blue ribbons and a red gown and a nice white helmet with sequins.

I’ve been involved with Elimu for over 30 years, I’m a member of the committee, and I help making all the costumes, as much as I can where I can, sticking, sewing and so on.  I also co-ordinate and organise the costume fittings for the children, and help caring for the children on the road. Again I do the same thing with the adults, make sure that they have the costumes in order and hand them out on the Monday.

On carnival Sunday I get up about 6 o’clock, make dinner, and find out which family members are coming down so I can leave food and drink, and I get myself organised, eat my little breakfast, get my keys, and I am out the house. I come to the camp (at Paddington Arts), organise the kids, get their names get them dressed, and then we go out on the road, until 4 or 5 o’clock, and on my return make sure the kids are all ok, and get back into their own clothes, and check and see if there is anything left to be done for the adults. And then I go home to rest.

On Monday it is practically the same - except I start a little bit earlier, I don't have cooking to do on the Monday, so I just get up, get myself sorted out and my little goodie bags, and I’m out the door, hand out the costumes to the adults, and then I get myself dressed, and made up, make a right fool of myself and enjoy myself on the road, and come back knackered, I try to get drunk but it never works, so I give up on that now.

My best carnival memory is the 21st anniversary where it pissed down with rain, and I got soaked through, hardly any of the bands came out that year, but we thoroughly enjoyed our self.  Ansel was around keeping us warm with a special type of medicine. But it did work wonders for us. And I suffered for a whole week, as it made my eye swell up and I was off work for a week, so after that I make sure I book the week after carnival off.

That was the best, cause in between the rain and the wet, I enjoyed it. I don’t think I ever had a bad carnival, the only thing I don’t like is when they stop our band playing music coming down the Harrow road, and its really painful, when you reach the top of Sainsbury’s and you have to walk, with the costume all the way down the Harrow road, without any music, that is when the pain start to set in, and it’s a shame they had to stop that. What does play mas mean?

‘Play Mas’, there are so many way I can describe that, it’s a jolly time, exciting time, making new friends along the way.

Elimu are like a family, it is nice when you come and see old friends that you know over the years, and a few new ones, and occasionally you see some members, of the band and a few years down you don’t see them for 10 or 12 years, and the last few days down the road, they come in and  join in  with us again.

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