If you happen to pick up a copy of the June issue of the Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special, you’ll find it includes my story The Camel in the Garden. The story is about Sally, a recent divorcee, who has moved to Somerset with son Ollie, in order to be closer to her parents. Ollie discovers a camel in the garden – not a real one as it turns out, but a fiberglass model originally made for a carnival cart.
The story started out as an exercise for a local writers’ group. We each circulated some photographs around the group – any subject matter – then each chose, from the range of photos collected, one to write about. One of the photographs submitted was of a large model camel hidden in some undergrowth. Being a Somerset lass, it reminded me of ‘Humphrey’ the camel who was stationed in a field by the side of the M5 for many a year. Humphrey had apparently originally been made for a Bridgwater Young Farmer’s carnival cart in the 1980s, and as a huge fan of Somerset carnival, I loved the idea of Humphrey being saved from post-carnival destruction and allowed to live on, watching the world (well, traffic) go by.
For anyone who’s never been to watch a Somerset carnival, I urge you to go. In fact, it should be on everyone’s bucket list. I firmly believe that even the most world weary could not fail to be enchanted by the spectacle. Held in November (part of the Guy Fawkes’ celebrations) in the darkness of early evening, the carnival floats (or more properly ‘carts’) are lit up with hundreds of light bulbs, and the clubs go to great lengths to design decorations that completely cover tractor, trailer and generator. If you need anymore encouragement to attend, this great piece of entertainment is FREE to watch – though you should take handfuls of coinage to throw into the charity collections.
So whilst I hope you enjoy the story, I also hope you’ll consider going along to watch the carnival one year (check out the website for more info and lots of great pictures: http://www.bridgwatercarnival.org.uk/). I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.