Jersey The Battle of Flowers 2011 - The Journey

Tuesday, 9th August and the Chesterfield contingency are having early morning coffee in ‘The Wood’ before the coach arrives. It’s now 6:45 and with everyone from Chesterfield on board, the coach departs to collect the rest of our party at Plumtre Way, who were eagerly waiting to board for the start of the journey down to East Midlands Airport in time for our 10:30 flight and our 6th visit to participate in the World famous Jersey ‘Battle of Flowers’. Once everyone was sitting comfortable the first of many renditions of Happy Birthday was echoed out for Brother and Sister Josh & Emily, who uniquely both share the same birthday.

This years Battle event had already started some 17 hours earlier with the collection of the hired vehicle from a new source. This year we owe gratitude to Freeway Van Hire for the very competitive arrangements. Also for this years trip, “Twiggs Travel” had kindly provided Printed Polo Shirts for the trip down and for use on the Island.

This year the responsibility for the safe travel was placed in the new hands (Old Head) of Madeleine and Nicky. With some £30,000 worth of equipment stashed on board from Chesterfield and Eastwood including, bedding, instruments, a 6ft freezer full of food and a Kitchen fridge full of Beer. This also included pots, pans and ingredients enough to feed an Army for the week’s activities. But first Madeleine accompanied by her son Nicky, must get the vehicle down to Weymouth Ferry terminal in time for the 9am departure of the Condor Fast Ferry. This was achieved by Departing Derby 12 hours earlier and taking a leisurely drive to arrive at the terminal a little after midnight. This allowed her plenty of time to have a snooze and be fresh and ready for the 4 hour Ferry ride on the Condors Viscount.

After waving goodbye to the coach at 8am our entire passengers were booked in and allocated 6 rows of seats on the plane within 10 hassle free minutes. As the members toggled off to the next stage, Airport Representatives noticed the writing on the New Polo Shirts and suddenly flagged down Muskie to try and Book the band to perform inside the Airport in 2 weeks time at their Beach Party Themed event. Details were exchanged and it was straight off to the Security Check In and into the Departure lounge as news was filtering through that Madeleine and Nick had boarded the boat on time. It was now just a matter of waiting for our Departure call. This allowed the member’s time to enjoy a choice of Burger King Breakfast’s; Full Fry ups all followed by a Pint or two and a Vodka and Valium for Alison.

Just as the excitement started to grow came the bad news that Emily had misplaced her purse somewhere between Plumptre Way and the Departure lounge along with a large amount of her Birthday money. A swift run round the airport was actioned before recollections identified it was last seen on the Coach. After a quick call to Daniel, our Coach Driver, who was now back at his Depot in Chesterfield, the matter of the missing item was cleared up. The Purse was still sat nicely on her seat where she left it.

So with this good news, Birthday girl Emily along with brother Birthday boy Josh were able to relax and enjoy another of the Bands renditions of “Happy Birthday” before climbing aboard the BMI “Jelly Baby” plane for the short flight over the English Channel to Jersey. 20 minutes into the flight the Captain announced the flight details of flying at 27,000 feet and gorgeous sunshine with temperatures of 25 degrees before craftily including Birthday wishes for Brother & Sister Emily and Josh along with Best wishes for the Bands visit to the Island. The rear of the plane spontaneously erupted in a third rendition of Happy Birthday this time whilst flying over the Channel.
On arrival at the airport the members were soon being greeted by the ‘Battle Band Co-odinator” Margaret and the members were ushered on to the coach and heading for our 5 star Community Centre at St Lawrence. On opening the doors the Band were greeted with the site of a newly installed kitchen area much to the approval of our Master Chef Mark’s whooping of delight.

With just about one hour to go before the White Van docked at St Helier Port everyone was preparing in readiness to off load the vans contents of instruments, personal belongings and especially the blow up beds, which have now gone from motley thin mattresses to double bedded deluxe models with designer bedding set out around the sports hall. Within 10 minutes of docking the van was en route for St Lawrence and the member’s eager arms.

The disciplined members performing like well drilled worker ants made light work of the off loading into the designated areas earmarked within the building. The beds were all soon installed and food and perishable goods stored in the fridges, cupboards and freezers. With time on their hands till the evening meal some of the party decided to catch the service bus down to town for a break in the afternoon sun, while others lingered around the centre doing various chores including playing football on the newly laid pitch.

At 5pm prompt Mark commenced dishing out the first prepared meal of this visit with a superb Chicken Curry, Rice, Chips and Naan Bread that was devoured at a fast rate by the now hungry party. Meal over and showers were in order before the frivolities of the birthday party evening to follow.

The only down side of this opening day was from silly Liam, as usual, keenly volunteering for Kitchen duties but deciding to buy and eat a full MacDonald’s in St Helier during the afternoon and only arriving back at the centre 30 minutes after the meal started and being too full to enjoy our beautiful curry, which in effect got him his usual admonishment for not making an appearance to help prepare this meal. The SACK.

The day was not finished by a long way yet because a surprise birthday party was about to commence. With Nibbles, Wedges and a beautiful Birthday Cake was all ready to compliment the pre chilled cans of beer and bottles of wine. Everyone was well prepared for the surprise party except Josh, who after a quick search of the centre was finally found tucked up and fast a sleep in his pit and a load of nudges and pokes were necessary to bring him round sufficiently to enable him to join his sister in blowing out the candles on their joint birthday cake amidst another round of ‘Happy Birthday’. However, it wasn’t long before Josh went missing again as he returned to his pit for another session of shuteye having put his celebrations on hold for the evening.

After everyone had filled up on the well selected treats and Lisa and her troops arrived at the Centre an impromptu game of Rounder’s was started on the open field of the Football Pitch. This was interesting as it was 10pm and the field was lit by the moon, stars and the room lights. After 20 minutes the game was well in swing and was rather comical as nobody apart from the bowler and the batsmen could see the ball. Frantic bodies were seen scampering into the darkness in vain search of the ball. After an hour of this everyone stopped exhausted and continued with the Karaoke and refreshments until late into the night.

Day Two

The Sun shone brightly as the members started to awaken and filter through to the kitchen area to be greeted by the Egg, 2 Sausages, 2 Rashers of Bacon, 2 Hash Browns, Beans, tomatoes and Toast with black pudding thrown in for good measure. Strange names for the Drummers but we can’t complain as they cook a great Breakfast...

After breakfast a few of the lads decided to have a kick around on the pitch and during a mini match, in which Karim was given a short spell in the nets, he not only broke the hearts of everyone on the opposition side by keeping a clean sheet but he broke his left wrist during a miraculous Gordon banks like save. This allowed him to visit the hospital for an X-ray to confirm the damage before receiving a lot of attention and special treatment from everyone including a free pick at Kevin’s Biscuits and a Cheese on Toast Special from the house Chef.

Having decided earlier to take up an offer made by the organisers for the band to perform in Liberation Square at 12:30, this was unfortunately abandoned because of the care and attention being metered out on Karim by Paramedic Mark (another string to his bow shortly after finishing his breakfast duties) using his first aid skill and driving along with Child Welfare Officer Alison.

The rest of the day was spent by either visiting St Helier Town Centre in retail therapy or spending time on the Beach acquiring a nice suntan as the day continued to warm up. Back at the centre several brave members used the facilities of the portable Swimming Pool set out on the field for a little relaxation and swimming exercise.

Following another delicious evening meal of Fish Chips and Mushy Peas with bread and butter the lads sat out in the evening sun watching the St Lawrence FC football match, whilst the ladies mustered round the bedroom area cackling away to each other and pontificating with their beauty aids before visiting St Helier Cineworld, KFC and Pizza Hut.
A few of the elders had a sing song on the Karaoke with Janice and Madeleine acting as backing dancers. During a rendition of “Ghost Riders in the Sky” by Trevor, Janice was simulating a cowboy riding a horse on her chair, during the Chorus, when all of a sudden like a big finish at Aintree Madeleine came sailing along the floor on her chair as though she was riding Red Rum, oblivious to the fact her chair was the only chair with wheels on, she shot past Janice and the rest like pooh off a shovel much to the hysterics of everyone around.
On their return from the pictures, several more verses of Karaoke and a Can or two of Amber Nectar flowed before they headed off to bed. Liam and a few boys however decided to split 1,000 poker chips and attempt to play Poker.
After a few minutes Liam had lost everything and borrowed 100 Chips and lost them all within a few hands. As everyone was feeling sorry for him they allowed him another 100 chips as long as he promised to change his game plan. Liam returned to the table wearing thick rimmed Sun Glasses and a straight face. Due to his enthusiasm everyone stacked after one round, in hysterics and Liam claimed his first and last winnings. The game flowed for another hour as one by one they all retired, leaving Nicky and KevO to share the spoils.

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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.