Notting Hill is still looking a bit grubby after the carnival, metal barriers are remain piled up everywhere, and the whole place seems to be coated in a thick layer of ground-in rice and peas, Red Stripe beer, and multi-national vomit. I must say I've been generally bemused by the telly and newspaper coverage of the carnival, showing elaborate costumes and beaming faces, as when Tito and I went on Sunday neither of those things were much in evidence. It was a gorgeous sunny day, and we arrived at about 2pm, generally looking forward to the experience - ever optimistic, us (though I had indeed read descriptions of the event that mentioned the possibility of much warm beer, overcrowding, and unglamourous dancers). Tito and I do pride ourselves on our ability to enjoy things against the odds, but even half a mickey of brandy and a spliff couldn't get me fired up about the straggly bunch of fat t-shirted dancers the parade seemed to offer, so we went off in search of something better. We found it in the form of the Latin Music soundsystem, and had a brilliantly fun street salsa... Tito carrying off the crown for best male hip swiveller in the vicinity; possibly in the UK. This was all very nice and civilised, but we thought we'd better explore what else was on offer. I popped to the skanky male toilets (Tito made me do it when it became apparent I'd be queuing for the ladies for about 7 hours) and then we picked up a plate of scrumptious barbecued jerk chicken and scoffed it double quick. Things, unfortunately, went downhill from that point on. We headed towards a few decent soundsystems, only to be put off by the absolutely deafening levels of sound, bouncing and echoing around the narrow streets. People blew plastic whistles and horns forcefully and indiscriminately. I immediately developed a banging headache and ringing ears. Teens pushed and shoved and occasionally caused organised panic by all starting running in the same direction at the same time. The streets were piled high with rubbish, people skidded around on plastic plates and twisted ankles on discarded beer cans. Children wailed to be taken home, but were consoled with noisemakers whilst mum tried to ram a way through the litter with the pushchair. It was absolutely horrible. We tried in vain to find relief, but it semed that we must have missed the' good bit' of the parade, if there was indeed one. By that time the shadows had begun to lengthen and it became obvious that we were being herded out of Notting Hill by the police. I was jolly pleased. Never again, I tell you, never again. But at least we know now!