After just over a week of rest and relaxation, the Uncle Tom boys and girls were out in force again. Gathering at Lower Leigh Farm for around 6pm on Thursday, the horse and most of its passengers set out for her annual engagement with the good people of Ilfracombe.
Once more ‘The Old Gray Mare’ looked resplendent, neither her looks nor enthusiasm have wained over the years. Unfortunately the same can not be said about her memory, as Kevin Irwin discovered to his cost on Thursday night. In her eagerness to complete the short trip down the A399 she failed to stop for Kevin who was booting up at the time. What then ensued was a high speed pursuit, (within the confines of the speed limit), through the Combe Martin. Quick thinking, combined with the generous assistance of those around him, ensured that our rider was able to make this years engagement.
As usual the Rugby club provided some much needed pre-carnival refreshment and the opportunity to reduce the number of unscheduled stops. Discussions as to the merits of catheterisation combined with a much shortened route this year seemed to do the trick as the riders made their way through the streets of Ilfracombe without the need to pay a visit.
As always, the revellers welcomed us into their home with great enthusiasm. “The Carnival wouldn’t be the same without you” said one of many who lined the streets (just before getting drenched with the customary flick of the horse’s tail).
On completing the carnival, the crew made their way back down the A399 finishing at The Globe, Berrynarbor for a well earned drink to wash down a substantial plate of ham, egg and chips!
So onwards to Barnstaple in just a few short weeks by which time hopefully someone will have tied a knot in the old girls neckerchief to remind her that she has 7 riders not 6! We look forward to seeing you there.
The riders for Ilfracombe 2013 were: Gerald Walters, Darren Smallridge, Norman Sanders, John Webber, Kevin Irwin, Christian and Graham Rice. The ground crew consisted of Ena Walters, Pat Rice, Mark Sanders, Sue Muir, Sarah Rumson, Josh Rumson, Matthew Rumson, Millie Jeffrey, Holly Lancey, Lynne Parkinson, Will Smallridge, Erin and Shay Smallridge.