In two weeks time, the Fenland town of Wisbech will be getting into the festival spirit, as it plays host to the annual Rose Fair celebrations. It's East Anglia's Premier Flower Festival, and a chance for the town to pay homage to its horticultural heritage, with a huge range of floral displays drawing tourists by the bus-load.
I grew up in Wisbech, and I remember pottering round the local churches with my family each year, checking out all the displays. But for me, the main attraction was always the parade.
It's a procession of home-made floats; local rotary clubs and scout groups dressed up and waving from atop brightly-decorated lorries, snaking through the streets of Wisbech. The trucks are interspersed with marching bands, local dancers and even the odd bagpipe display team! Not only is it great to watch, but the floats also collect money for various charities and good causes, which means it's great for the community too!
So, when I became Fenland Poet Laureate, I knew I had to write a poem about the Rose Fair. It's called Carnival Cargo, and there's a video of me reading it at the bottom of the page.I really hope you like it!
I'm standing on Elm Road, perched
on the kerb. Feet arched into points
to observe the ribbon of road before
me. I long to explore, but you implore
me to listen. Then, sure enough, I hear
drums in the distance. The crowd, now
assembled, await the parade and a hush
fills the air, like the rush of a wave. I'm
feeling brave; I catch hold of your hand,
snatch a glimpse towards Dad and pull
you forwards. We stand in the gutter,
with all of the rest, till the splutter of
trumpets fills my heart in my chest. The
scene, once all grey, is now bright reds
and greens. On this day a school girl
can become a Rose Queen. The marching
band passes, the majorettes twirl, the
dancers with ribbons are the best in the
world. And lorries, once laden with veg
and sugar beet, now have carnival cargo
to take through the streets. These floats
drifting past in a flurry of flags, steel
drums are our soundtrack, and nothing
can drag down the feeling of joy on this
overcast day. So we stand, hand in hand,
as the samba beat plays.