2007 was the year of Jessica’s death and my return to London to try to set up home alone once more. My usual meticulous filing system broke down. Consequently I kept slides unidentified in the processor’s little boxes. When Jackie and I were reunited in 2009 she helped me identify the contents, although I had never incorporated them into my archival system. Jackie had remembered this process and thought it was possible that she had labelled one box Notting Hill Carnival.
Indeed she had.
Even then businesses in Westbourne Grove, Westbourne Grove Mews, and Ledbury Road would all prepare for the vast influx of humanity. All the shops put up barricades against the inevitable damage, including the use of walls and doorways as urinals.
For a couple of years I lived in Sutherland Place, very close to this corner where one of the sound units was situated. In 2007 I was one of only two residents who stayed at home for the Bank Holiday weekend. The other woman wore earplugs and, as the music shook our houses, advised me to do the same. The sound from the speakers was actually painful.
I do hope this young lady occupying one of the floats still has her hearing.
The wonderful light on this August day, and the sparsity of some of the clothing belies the fact that the temperature was very cold. When I left my spot on the railings beside St Stephen’s Mews to go home to use the lavatory and add another layer of clothing
I was able to reclaim it on my return. Other visitors could either use the rows of portable toilets or, as some preferred, our front gardens, where they also disposed of their other waste, including takeaway meals and their containers. Two years later that would not have been possible. I couldn’t get near any of the floats, and when I left my flat I had to prove that I lived in the road in order to pass the barrier to reach home. At least our gardens were no longer accessible to intruders. 2007 may well have been the last manageable year of such a popular event drawing visitors from all over the country. I have never been back to find out.