Last Saturday I went to the Cadiz Carnaval with my family.
I've always wanted to go, in the nine years I've been living here, but I missed the small window of opportunity between arriving and having children. Now the little blighters are old enough to appreciate it (nearly-four and six years old), I thought a day trip would be enough to get a flavour without being overwhelmed. Night time is for young people's craziness, drinking and serious partying - while I'm settled here and have adopted some Spanish customs, taking children out on a chilly February night till they fall asleep exhausted in their pushchairs isn't one of them.
My daughter and I dressed up as hippies, using our own clothes plus some face paints, but my son and husband preferred to dress normally. On our wandering around the old part of the city, where Carnaval takes place, we saw insects, members of the clergy and Guardia Givil - all fancy dress costumes, of course.
Then we noticed the Queen accompanied by some beefeaters, which turned out to be a chirigota - a singing group which performs topical songs based around current news events and personalities who've been involved in controversial situations. La Reina Isabel II and her splendidly-attired guards (one even had a pigeon on his shoulder) sang about "emigrating to Gibraltar" to get a job. Take a look...