And then there were clowns


In the week before the carnival in Funchal the broad boulevard beside our apartment turned into a riotous mass of swirling shapes and colour. Madeira was in party mood.


Such fun to be there for this.

Bright awnings pierced with shapes were slung between trees. Beneath these, numerous stalls sold poncha, a favourite local brew made with aguardente de cana, alcohol distilled from sugar cane juice. Sugar cane used to grow in abundance on the island, but these days bananas and grapes seem the main crop. Other ingredients of poncha are honey, sugar, lemon rind and fruit juice which varies according to the version of poncha. Traditionally lemon juice is used.


The sound of the samba, never too obtrusive, never annoying, always joyful.


Fascinating decorations – fancy trying my hand at making these.

And attracting crowds were bands, most dressed up for the occasion, all playing sambas with gusto.


Madeirans really get into the carnival mood. Any excuse for a party we were told.


Entering into the carnival spirit.

When no bands were around, samba music played from loud speakers hidden in the trees.


A promise of things to come.


Loved the colourful awnings pierced with designs. They added so much to the atmosphere.

Whenever music played you could watch groups of people dancing or just swaying to the rhythm, a dreamy smile on their faces. Such a wonderful atmosphere, too – relaxed yet joyous, people enjoying themselves.


Young and not-so-young get involved in the fun.


Big specs, big drum.


Magician with his pack of cards.

In the small Municipal Park entered from the boulevard more entertainment could be found at the open air amphitheatre where community groups gathered in their gladrags.


The reddish brown ‘hat’ with the eye is part of a wonderful octopus costume. I was sorry I didn’t get a better photo but didn’t like to be too intrusive.


No celebration is complete without balloons and these animal shaped ones must have been irresistible to children.

So many clowns, presumably all from one organisation. No idea what a group of so many might be called, but a chuckle of clowns seems appropriate.


They’ve gone to so much trouble with their costumes. Look at the shoes, the makeup, the ‘Easter bonnet’ hats. Wonderful!

As we didn’t realize all this entertainment would be on when we booked our break, it was truly an added bonus to the scenery, the sunshine and the friendliness of the Madeirans.


Nature, too, added splashes of colour with these stunning flowers on one of many African tulip trees.

And in the evenings when the street-partying was over for the day, we were left with the lights strung through the trees reflecting in windows and on the designs of the limestone-cobbled pavements.



About jingsandthings

I am me. What do I like? Colour Shapes Textures Paintings, photographs, sculptures, woven tapestries, wonderful materials. The love of materials probably comes from my father who was a textile buyer, and I grew up hearing the names of mills and manufacturers which sounded magical and enticing. Glass in all its soft and vibrant colours and flowing shapes, even sixties glass which makes its own proud statement. A book I can immerse myself in. Meals with family or friends with lots of chat and laughter (and probably a bottle or two of wine). The occasional trip abroad to experience the sights, sounds, food, conversation, quality of light and warmth of other countries. To revel in differences and be amazed by similarities. I like to create and to experience, to try and to achieve. And then there are words – read, heard, written at my keyboard, or scrawled on sticky notes, or along the edges of dog-eared supermarket receipts excavated from the unexplored nooks of my handbag. What do I dislike? Cold Snow Bad design Fast food Condescension
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2 Responses to And then there were clowns

  1. walter- says:

    You’re an excellent reporter. Always the post are very interesting.

    • Thank you Walter. I’m not getting many posts written these days as other distractions have intervened. And we’re now into better weather so it’s good to swap desk and computer for getting out.

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