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Jersey Battle of Flowers The Week 2015

Pre Departure

With the Van collected and following a last minute rush for the Black Pudding, all the Food was finally purchased and the Logistical nightmare of loading commences. With Nick "Panicky Pooh" itching to get started, the schedule for the Hardware was brought forward and everyone was rounded up for lifting, collecting and throwing of the Cases, bags and Equipment.
The First 5 minute stop was to collect the already Packed Freezer from Trevor's before scooting over to Andy's for the Non perishables. Ten minutes later the Van was Southbound to Junction 29 to collect the additional Fridge for the Beer and onwards to Derby to collect Cases, Bedding and Instruments in preparation to be unloaded and repacked at Newthorpe.
Bang on 3pm the Van arrived and was emptied in to groups ready for the Annual Game of Tetris with the Equipment. Head Chef re packed several trays of food into Cooler Boxes to reduce the space required.

With enough Food to feed the party of 30 for the week, Instruments, 30 Beds, Blankets, Uniforms, Beer, Cases and Party games everything looked nervously larger than the Van hired to transport everything.

Strategically and very carefully the cases and Instruments were interlocked and wedged around the Packed Freezer and Fridge until enough room was made to pack the lighter bedding on top. Bit by bit the Van was filled and slowly the pile of items reduced until the last few feet of the Van was remaining and rather more stuff still stood on the drive than space available.

Miraculously the Bedding squashed down further and managed to pack the roof void above the Cases. With inches to spare the Van was successfully packed and with the customary photographs being taken it was decided to leave the Garden Gnome this year with it's owner Daddad Sansom, who's Bungalow had been used for loading and temporary storage. Meanwhile back inside the Bungalow the ladies made Coffee and chatted about Knitting Patterns and Pugs.
Following a little side bet with "Panicky Pooh" the Van doors were closed and ready for departure at 15:59, 1 minute to spare despite a short Coffee break waiting for the last stragglers to arrive with their cases and "H" stood telling us his recollection of last years tip down. Well Done Tetris Champion KevO.
Due to excessive Road works and a few Accidents the Motorways were rather slower than expected, resulting in the Van not arriving in Poole until after 10:30. Here started the Domino Effect with the first of many problems or issues arising. Next was the issue of Parking. Thankfully and eventually the Driver, "Panicky Pooh" and his mate Madeleine, settled for a comfy night in Bournemouth.
Meanwhile back in Eastwood, to help relax from the stress and to get people in to a Holiday mood a few members headed off to Weatherspoons for a celebratory Meal for Wendy (Emily, Josh & Caitlin's) Birthday.

DAY ONE

Bright and early on Monday everyone was excitedly finishing off their last minute preparations for the trip to the Airport when out of the blue, a call came from Poole Harbour, with not one but two bits of Bad news.
1. The Van was too large for the Ferry......
2. The Van was not Booked on the Ferry.....

After receiving the call Panic hit one of the Organisers who had placed the booking. Unfortunately at the time he was half way round Tesco but was quickly on the phone to Condor Ferries. Following several anxious phone calls to and from Poole, Weymouth and Portsmouth, it was confirmed that somehow, the Booking details referred to a confirmed Booking for Wednesday and the Van was indeed too high to fit on this sailing. The next available slot was Wednesday Morning. Gulp.
For the next hour Kevin had several calls with Supervisors and Managers to beg and plead to find a replacement space or alternative means of crossing and Mark spoke with Nicky to audition Madeleine for Crying, Fainting or whimpering.

Eventually Kevin managed to rearrange the Van on the next ferry on Tuesday Morning which eased the pressure but would leave the members with No Clothes, Bedding or Food until 6:30am on Tuesday. Condor Ferries then managed to improve on the sailing and allowed them to cross on the Monday Evenings slow boat. Kevin then made several calls to Margaret on the Island and with her help and Support they managed to find 28 brand new Camp Beds and 30 Blankets for the night time.

Meanwhile the coach carried on its journey between Chesterfield and East Midland Airport in time for the booking of 10:45. This went smoothly as could have been expected with NO issues with the Names, Seating or ID. This now allowed time for the members to relax, eat and partake in several drinks before the Departure time.

Bang on time the announcement came to head to Gate 9 and then on to Board the Plane which was all set and ready for departure. Within minutes of being seated the doors were secured and the plane was taxiing down the runway. Just before the Safety Briefing the Captain Paul ???? announced the four birthdays that were all being celebrated. Wendy, Caitlin, Emily and Josh hid behind their seats as the Captain reeled off their names in order, much to the amusement of the members.

Becky & Flybe

A swift, smooth flight and the plane descended on time at Jersey Airport to be greeted by Margaret. After a brief welcoming she whisked Kevin & Mark off to St Ouen to look at the facilities and the Arena for the Engagement on Saturday.

Everything was agreed and finalised and the duo returned in the Hired Car to start and arrange food for the Party.

A conversation was had with the St Lawrence Float Committee and without hesitation they thankfully rustled up some Burgers, Hot Dogs and salads for everyone, followed by Desert, which was topped up with Complimentary Chip Butties and Pizzas from the Band.

Later after Tea everyone wanted to walk through a few of the Dances. It was now that several supporters of St Lawrence agreed to take 20 0f the members back home with them to spend the evening in more comfortable surroundings. As the members decided who was going where, Margaret and the Chairman of the Battle committee arrived with 28 padded Camp Beds for the members to use, so it was decided to stay together and enjoy the atmosphere as one Band. An excellent "War Time" spirit was had and everyone knuckled down to enjoy and make something good, out of a bad situation.
After a couple of hours chilling around the Complex a few (10) members headed down to the local Pub for a refreshing and rewarding drink before walking back to fall asleep in their temporary beds. Meanwhile back in the English Channel, Nicky and Madeleine reclined in comfort aboard the slow boat in one of the only 8 Cabins aboard.

Day Two

For some strange reason the majority of the members were awake and drinking Tea & Coffee from 5am onwards in anticipation of the pending arrival of the van. By 6am all the temporary Camp Beds and covers were packed away and the Hall was ready for the proper beds. Bang on 6:30am the Van arrived and within minutes the Food was unpacked and heading to the kitchen in preparation for Breakfast and the Cases and Bedding was swiftly diverted to the Gym Hall with the Instruments being stacked in the lobby area.

Amazingly enough with 1 hour all the beds were inflated and complete with covers and most of the members had tucked in to Sausage, Bacon, Eggs (Scrambled or Fried) Hash browns, Fried Bread, Mushrooms, Beans, Tomatoes and Toast. By 9am everything was cleared away and washed and members started heading off around the Island exploring or starting the Annual challenges of Go-Kart's or Crazy Golf, etc.

Over at Living Legends the customary Crazy Golf Challenge took place with two groups heading down the Red & Blue 18 Hole Courses. On the Blue Course Liam set off into a quick lead and explained to everyone how he had won trophies at Golf in the past. He was so excited and enthusiastically taunting everyone including 7 year old Jack and the two ladies playing to play their shots and explaining to everyone how good his shots were. This wasn't to last long as by Hole 3 Liam had lost the lead along with his enthusiasm and resulted to sulking at the back of everyone only bursting in to life when he managed to pot a long shot. This didn't happen much and he then resorted to telling everyone what a poxy game Golf was.

Meanwhile across on the Red Course Kim was equally excited as she kept squealing out her score every time she managed a good score on a hole. Mr Dependable "Dave" chipped away silently to finally finish in the lead only being matched by Wendy at the final count up.
Back on the Blue Course Liam was still sulking and kicking off inventing rules to explain why he should be winning. Eventually Liam finished 17 shots over par with the remainder matching Par and KevO finishing just ahead at 2 Under Par.

Due to the damp Racetrack the Go Karts were not allowed out due to H&S, So the members headed back to the complex and set up the Table Tennis and Pool for a few games of Killer, Knockout and anything else competitive. First there was the Speed Pool which Liam claimed he had Trophies for....... Liam was Disqualified.... Then there was Pairs which Liam claimed he had Trophies for....... Which Liam lost...... Then there was Poker and Liam claimed he had Won many games......... Liam then lost at this too. In fact everything that Liam tried to get involved in, he lost or was Disqualified.

Tea tonight was a mixture of Barbeque Chicken with Rice & Potato Wedges followed by Victoria Sponge Cake. Meanwhile back in reality everyone had plenty of fun singing dancing and playing games and laughing at Liam's consistent downfall. Slowly the members trickled off to bed one by one leaving the last few to play cards in peace whilst chilling with a late night coffee.

Day Three

The aroma of Fried Breakfast drifted across the complex and everyone woke up together and drifted in for their share of freshly cooked food. This was quickly eaten and cleared away as everyone was eager to get down Town while the Sun was shining and the temperatures were in the mid 20's. Almost everyone headed down an hour earlier than planned and spent time checking the shops or sitting in the sunshine eating Ice Cream.

At 11:30 the Van arrived with the Instruments and everyone quickly tuned up and wondered across to Liberation Square where a larger than normal crowd had started to gather in anticipation of listening to the music. It was planned to play a couple of tunes here before heading off to the Town Centre. Alas 25 minutes later and 10 tunes later the band had to stop for refreshment, much to the frustration of the swelling crowd.

The members headed over to the Town Centre stretch as planned and so did a lot of the crowd. Lining up at the bottom the band set off at a steady pace up the main street to the delight of the locals, shop keepers and tourists alike. Every time the Band stopped for a static interlude the crowds swelled to appreciate the music and clap along to the tunes. Due to popular demand the band played an extra set outside the street cafe and the Opera House before concluding their set at the bottom where they had started. The last section was shadowed by a local Police officer who had come down to see what all the people was watching. He was joined at the end by two other Officers who greeted and clapped the band at the finish.

Following the Parade the members then headed off in different directions with the youngsters setting off for the Aqua Park, Some Adults headed off for a tour of the Island and Sara took a Party of people to the Island Famous "Blush" Coffee & Bistro Bar. Tea was planned for 5:30pm but due to the Bs timetables everyone was back for 5pm and coincidentally the St Lawrence Float people had asked for a little show. So in typical Muskie style the Instruments came out to perform a Full 15 minute Arena display for them, dressed in anything from PJ's to Onsies. This was the first time in three weeks and the first time since Newton that everyone was present for the Arena Display but more importantly parts of the display had been changed specially for the Jersey Parade.

Nevertheless everyone managed to overcome the obstacle and performed the corrected dances at the correct time and not too bad either.
Just to confuse everyone further the Band followed the Display with a run through the amended Dances to be completed just as the Dinner was served. Today it was Pork Steak with Mushroom Sauce, Boiled Potatoes, Carrots and Green Beans, complemented with Strawberry Gateaux. Bloody Delicious.

Someone had a brilliant idea to set the Table Tennis up and have a mini tournament and team game that had everyone especially Kevin in total stitches with laughter as the members took it in turn to hit the ball across the table and then run round the table. A simple task that bordered on impossible at times specially as there were only 4 bats and 15 people all enthusiastically trying to return a single ball.

After a couple of hours of amusing entertainment everyone retired back to the common room to relax and laugh again at some of the comical antics that had just taken place in the Gym. One by one the members finished their drinks and retired to their beds in anticipation for Battle Day.
Just as people were heading off to bed an Electrical Storm hit the English Channel around the Island of Jersey, which apart from releasing 4 months of rain in less than 6 hours it gave one of the most spectacular Thunder and Lightening shows I have ever seen, with flashes all around the skyline at an interval of 5 to 10 seconds for over three hours.


It was during this Storm that inside the Hall there was a very loud pop and squealing as everyone in their beds were suddenly woken by a disturbing incident. This noise suddenly changed to laughter as the lights were switched on and Mark was wondering around dazed wrapped just in a white sheet. Apparently his Airbed on which he was snuggled up soundly asleep had exploded inside and catapulted him nearly six feet across the room towards his Mums bed. On closer inspection the Airbed had ballooned to twice its size but nobody could understand why.
After several reconstructions of the comical episode everyone then nodded back off to sleep with the echo of chuckles still heard around the room.

DAY FOUR

Bright and early everyone woke up in anticipation of the Parade, but looking out on to the field it was not only raining but flooding had taken place around the Island. With less than 4 hours to go before the collection time everyone feared the worst. With the reputation of "Never Having Rained On The Battle" it looked like this year would be a first. Strangely enough with one hour to go the rain stopped and there was a small shiny outline of something that resembled the Sun appear above the Island. Quickly everyone started to change, half ready, for the collection and short trip down to the sea front for the Afternoons events.
The usual order of events with the Meet, Greet and Packed Lunches all to be sorted before heading down to Stand C to Entertain the crowds sat in their seats awaiting the Parade to start at 2:30pm.

With the Floats and Entertainment already parked up at the ends of the Roads awaiting being fed in from both ends meant that the Road was completely empty so it was a smooth and quick March straight down from Lay by 5 to Stand C in glorious Sunshine. With the crowd starting to take their seats and places it was a somewhat strange experience as there was nothing else on the carriageway but the crowd were clapping, singing, taking Videos and Photographs nevertheless.

The Band arrived bang on time at Stand C and were straight into their Dances a Musical Arrangements in front of a nearly packed Stand. 20 minutes later they concluded and headed back to Lay by 4 for the start of the Parade proper. Just like clockwork the floats set off from each end at the command of "Let The Battle Commence". The Muskies were the first of the three bands to leave from the First Tower end of the Parade, with the Band of Jersey, The Dolphins and one of the two Samba Bands heading the opposite direction.
At a much more leisurely pace the Band set off straight into their repertoire of Dances and Movements to the pleasure of the waiting crowds. Just before the Band passed the Main VIP Stand there was numerous explosions of Confetti in front and to the side of the members giving a fantastic and very amusing site as thousands and thousands of pieces of Confetti fluttered on and around the Band as it marched along the Parade.

After 50 minutes and no issues along the way the band turned round at the bottom end and stopped for a brief Water Stop and Toilet Break before falling in and setting off back down the Main Parade route.

As the Band approached Stand A they noticed the BBC & ITV TV Cameras filming on a large remote Camera fixed to a swiveling Arm. Low and behold just Yards from the Band being filmed breaking into a Dance, The Herne Bay Sea Cadet Band, who were actually marching down the opposite side of the road, shuffled over the central reservation in front of the quickly approaching Musketeers and started to perform a Drum Solo immediately in front of the TV Cameras, meaning the Musketeers had to stop and take a short break until the Sea Cadets had shuffled back over the central reservation on to their side of the road and the seated stand they should have been Entertaining. Not the best of Banding Etiquette specially as ten minutes later they would be passing the same Camera set up with the whole road and as much time as they needed to do what ever they wanted.
Due to the unscheduled Break there was a bigger than normal gap in the Parade so the Band set off to shorten the gap whilst still entertaining the Crowd packed in the Stands along the way.

Bearing in mind that the Grande Finale was scheduled for 4:30pm and the time was still only 3:20pm the band ignored he over active Marshalls and Stewards and did what they were booked to do. They counter marched and headed back off down the main Parade in front of the Paying spectators and Entertained the crowds packed in the main stands.

The Gap was not a large one and could be closed within one song but the Floats behind would not be able to keep up so the Band performed several dances to keep the Party atmosphere and slowly but surely the parade closed up again.

The Band played 8 or 9 ore dances and even stopped several more times to Entertain the Crowds along the route ensuring they did not complete the Circuit too early and in plenty of time to rest in preparation of the Grande Finale.

Bang on 4:30pm the Floats and Entertainers slowed and parked up ready for the Grande Finale. In a second explosion of Confetti the Parade was officially over but not for the Band as it quickly reformed and set off again playing as they marched along the street back to Layby 5 where the Coach was parked.

Following the Parade the Members headed back for a well earnt rest which started with a good shower and Pasta Bolognese. Some members headed back in to Town for a few drinks whilst some visited the Fair down in St Helier. The ones remaining at the centre decided to have a chilled drink whilst watching DVD and listening to Music. The night soon ended as one by one, exhausted the members went to bed.

 

DAY FIVE

It was planned to play for an hour in the Main Park while the Parish people dressed their Floats with hundreds and hundreds of lights, before heading in to Town for a repeat performance of Wednesday dinner. Sadly due to the onslaught of heavy rain the main Battle Director Margaret stopped us after 25 minutes as we were getting extremely wet through.

Some members changed and headed off to Town, Shopping, Swimming or just chilling, heading back to Base Camp around 5pm for Tea. Tea was out the way quickly, leaving a little time to relax before the Coach arrived to transport everyone down to Layby 5.

Once down there everyone excitedly changed into their Uniforms which had been specially Illuminated at great expense of Sarah Twigg, who had spent weeks setting up and installing 100's of Batterries to all the light packs. The Band headed down on time to Lay by 4 ready to be slotted into the Parade.

Following several photographs and a quick chorus of Happy Birthday to Charlotte, one of the young girls on the St Lawrence Float, the lights were carefully turned on in anticipation of the start. It was just then that an Emergency call for Entertainment in front of Mr Battle and the Main VIP Stand.

7

Unfortunately someone had let them down so in typical fashion the Band geared up, fell in and headed off down to the Main Stand playing as they went. Within minutes the Band was in front of Craig Phillips and the Packed Main Stand playing as they arrived. The Stand erupted and Mr Battle clapped along to the music as the local TV Station and Radio Station replayed the Music over the PA System which then reverberated along the whole Parade route. 3 songs down and the Band stopped just 15 seconds before the Big Count Down for the Parade to start.

After the Big Bang the Band moved in to position lead Mr Battle and Miss Battle of Flowers down the route towards St Lawrence.

Within Minutes the Band had reached the half way stage and with an immediate turn round they headed back down the main route not even stopping for Water.

The Band quickly completed the parade in record time so without hesitation, and following just a 5 minute water break they set off and headed back down the Parade for a third leg with still 20 minutes to go before the anticipated "Laser Show" to close the Moonlight Parade.

Nevertheless they continued to Dance and perform all the way back down the First (Third) leg towards and past the Main VIP Stand. Once past the Main Stand they decided to swap sides and head back down the Sea Front (Fourth Leg) just in time to witness the Laser Show close up.

Once the Show had finished the Band set off again along the very crowded road, playing louder than ever to warn the people on the road that they were coming. Due to the limited space the Band changed from Three Files to Two Files and even down to Single File in places, before returning to Two Files, then Three. As a treat we also allowed the Drummers to go on the Front Rank, which Liam, David, Josh & Yogi gleefully accepted. With Four Side Drummers and the Band being in Threes it left a solitary Side Drummer stuck on the second rank....... Until the road cleared and low & Behold the Band were now in Fours.

It didn't take long to negotiate the Main Stands and as the Band entered Lay By 4 the Officials and Stewards Clapped as the Band broke into yet another Song. It was at this Point that several of the people on The Optimist Float stopped doing what ever they were doing and stood up clapping and acknowledging the Bands performance. "Thank You Optimist"

The Band now left the Parade Arena but continued playing along the closed roadway to the delight of the people stood lining the roadway. The Final touch came as the band finally dismissed, shattered at their Coach. The House opposite were holding a Post Battle BBQ & Drinks on the Balcony and all their guest started cheering and shouting for more. Tired but still buzzing from the Parade, the whole Band trekked across the road and lined up on the pavement outside the Balcony and started playing "Don't Stop Me Now", which went down a treat with the 20 guests on the Balcony and also the other 30 or 40 people who had stopped to watch as they left the Parade.

Finally at 11:15 pm on Friday 14th August the Jersey Battle of Flowers 2015 was over.

Now it was time for St Ouen's & Sark Festival which would be starting in a little over 12 hours time.

DAY SIX

After a very short night everyone was up ready for Margaret to arrive along with the Coach. Margaret was the Bands Guest of Honour and she would chaperone the Band for the day at St Ouen Manor. Follow the link to read about the day at St Ouen Manor 2015

The day was spent in glorious sunshine in the beautiful surroundings of the 950 year old Manor house. After being treat like Stars the members returned back to the Comple in time for tea. This was Pie, Chips and Mushy Peas followed by Angel Delight. Following the Tea the majority of the members showered and changed ready to either visit the Cinema, Fair or just hit the Town. Again you can judge by the photo's, everyone more than enjoyed themselves, Again.

 

 

Lottory GrantChesterfield Borough Coat Of Arms

 

All comments written are purely an opinion of the event by members involved. These are not by any means intended as derogatory or defamatory in anyway to the organisors or the people involved.

 

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Revised - Tuesday, August 25, 2015

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