Making our debut in a Worm Charming Contest alongside a Worlds Championship Competitor.
On Saturday 2nd July 2011 fellow Minigolfer and Blogger Oliver 'The Machine' Florence invited me to the St Mary's Village Carnival in Edlesborough to compete in their annual Worm Charming Competition. With Florence having competed in last week's World Worm Charming Championships in Cheshire it would have been rude and quite silly to turn down such an offer, so off we headed.
With Emily and I living a mere 11 miles from the village of Edlesborough (which lies in Buckinghamshire, rather than Bedfordshire as I thought), and with our nephew Kallum (a keen bug hunter) staying with us for the weekend, we arrived a good hour or so before the Walton-on-Thames based Ollie, so had a good look around the Fete/Carnival (Fetarnival?) and had a go on a lot of the games and stalls. When the announcements for the Worm Charming were being made we headed straight to the MC - St Mary's Village Carnival chairman Gordon Gray - to nab a Plot. We drew number 68.
It wasn't "the worlds" but the Worm Charming Competition at Edlesborough Carnival was brilliant fun. All 20 minutes of it.
Once Ollie arrived our team of Freebooters posed for a team photograph at our Plot.
Ollie tested the ground using his professional Worm Charming equipment.
And then after giving the Plot a liberal dousing of water before the off, we got underway with our Worm Charming.
With the skill and experience of one-third of the 112th Ranked Worm Charming Team in the World we began using a mixture of techniques including 'simulating the movement of a mole' using a Garden Fork, beating the ground using small bits of wood - one of which was the leg off of a small coffee table - and dressing like a Chicken. Fellow Minigolf Pro Richard 'Michael Skaggs' Skeggs, a member of Ollie's team, had dressed like a Fox in the Worlds, and with the thinking that 'the early bird gets the worm' was worth a shot. It didn't work.
Video of the team in action.
Despite our best efforts, professional equipment, enthusiasm and Chicken costume we finished in tied third place in the 12 team competition. The winners were a group of four girls who managed to get two worms. The runners-up were a team of children in Plot 67 who got one worm, which was the biggest of the three worms caught. Everyone else got none.
As an aside, Kallum became possibly the first person injured in a Worm Charming Contest! With the St John Ambulance medics being pressed into service after he either got bit by a Red Ant (we did find loads of them in our plot), or was stang off of a Wasp while fetching some water for us. This meant that for part of the 20 minute competition we were down to two players, as when Kallum returned from the First Aid Tent he decided to play his Catch a Mouse game he had won on a Tombola.
When we got home Kallum managed to 'Charm' loads of worms in our back garden!? A text from Ollie in the evening confirmed that conditions had been less than ideal in Buckinghamshire, as he'd managed to get a worm out of the ground in his garden in under a minute once he'd got home!
The St Mary's Village Carnival has a different theme each year, with 2011 being 'Pirates'. Driving into Edlesborough via Eaton Bray you could see that the villages had gone to great lengths to decorate houses, pubs and shops in the area. The event itself also saw many people dressed up as Pirates. As Freebooters from lands near and far, me, Kallum and Ollie wore Skull & Crossbones Wristbands while we were Worm Charming.
Some examples of the Pirate decorated houses are below, along with some more snaps of the Carnival itself.
A Captain Pugwash Ship
A Pirate Ship with its cannon aimed at passers-by!
One house allowed you to vote for your favourite type of Pirate!
Me and Ollie competed in the 'Chicken in a Basket' Target Game
I didn't dress as a Chicken for this game
The man stands watch over the basket, a dangerous position indeed!
Video of me and Ollie playing the Chicken in a Basket game.
Kallum on the Crockery Shy
Kallum plays Whack a Rat
Kallum lobs a wet sponge at me!
I missed spectating at the Cow Pat Bingo as I was putting the Chicken costume back in the car, but was told the event did not involve a real Cow!?
Unfortunately we all missed the much hyped "sausage eating contest for dogs and their owners" that had been mentioned in the Dunstable Today news story "Hidden treasures at village carnival carnival!" - what a spectator sport that would have been!
A great fun day out. I'm looking forward to the 2012 event!