Every summer, final year apprentices were allowed one week away from work, to construct and prepare an entry for the Coventry carnival. Prizes were awarded in numerous categories; best apprentice association, scout group, church organisation, etc. There was usually a total of over fifty floats, taking over three hours to pass, and no advertisements. Judging took place in the Memorial Park before the procession began, while everything was still in reasonable order, and the sequence of floats was organised.
Our theme was based on a television programme: 'The Army Game'. Even we could manage to pitch a tent on the back of a lorry and surround it with rubber plants borrowed from the sales offices. ('They'll never notice').
Somewhere in the procession was Lady Godiva, but we were sandwiched between the Daimler Pipe Band and the Paradise Co-operative Society ('Ladies of the Empire'). One of a group of natives, I walked behind the float, in company with a gollywog on stilts, Sherlock Holmes riding a penny farthing bicycle, and a pantomime horse.
Leaving the park after the procession, we drew alongside another float, delayed by a marching band of ten-year old pixies from somewhere in Derbyshire; twirling pom-poms, blowing kazoos and high-stepping on the spot. On the adjacent lorry was a group of young harem girls; one of whom I recognised. Once a gawky schoolgirl, she now seemed -- well somehow different.
Later that evening the park would host a fairground and fireworks display. With this in mind, I stepped across to greet an old acquaintance. Deep in negotiation (unsuccessfully), I failed to notice departure in opposite directions of the two floats.
Anyone seeking a new and exciting sensation should avoid walking from Kenilworth to Coventry, clad only in swimming trunks, loin cloth, and sandals; covered in cherry blossom boot polish.
Carrying a spear.