The RCS Motor Club web site contains a cross reference to “A brief history of Jezebel”. This claim to brevity is all too accurate in respect of the trip to Köln in 1982 which is covered in one sentence:
“in 1982 she appeared on Blue Peter just before being transported to Cologne in Germany to take part in the Karnival of which the twenty five crew have only hazy (alcoholic) memories”.
Hazy memories or not Jezebel deserves a fuller account than that, says Andy Stevens who provides the following account of the trip abroad with Jezebel.
A Trip to Germany
Karneval has been celebrated in Köln since time immemorial but the 1982 format was of indoor balls and parties and outdoor street parades culminating in grand parades on the Sunday and Monday before Lent. The theme for the parade is traditionally declared at 1111 hours on the 11th day of the previous November after which floats and costumes are made and stocks of chocolate, eau de cologne and flowers assembled to shower upon the bystanders. Karneval is also an excuse for the consumption of lots of the local beer, Kölsch, which made it very appealing to the Motor Club members.
All the Motor Club needed to join this fun was: an invitation, a place to stay and Jezebel in Köln. John Walkington’s friend Rolf Kuschel arranged with a local school for Jezebel to accompany the children in their parade, organised our supply of sweets to ‘distribute’ and also arranged with an international haulier (Westermann) for Jezebel to be transported to and stored safely in a warehouse in Köln. Andy Stevens borrowed a public address system from EMI to play Karneval music on the parade, and John Walkington provided the floor to sleep on. NB the RCS Motor Club web site records that 25 people came for Karneval; but John and I believe that there was only room for 15 on the Walkington floor. It should also be recorded that everyone wanted to sleep on Debbie’s side of the room rather than Charlie’s; since Debbie was Queen of Jez and Charlie was a large piranha in a tank you will understand why.
After much polishing and cleaning in the warehouse and the fitting of boards, balloons and sound system, Jezebel was ready to take part in the school’s parade and her picture duly appeared in the local newspapers and WDR TV report. Jezebel was then off to the Deutz fire brigade for a little pumping demonstration. The local feuerwehr were amused that our first hose leaked a bit but when we attached a better one they were impressed with Jezebel’s performance. Fun was had by all until the boss arrived on the scene and told us to stop as we were lowering the water pressure in his main. Killjoy.
Although I know that Jezebel featured in the newspaper report of the Sunday parade I do not have a copy but John Walkington has rounded up some photographs which are reproduced below. NB The words on the boards on Jezebel: “M’r losse nix aanbrenne” are local Kölsch dialect; almost untranslatable but I’m told that “Whatever happens we are there” gives some flavour of the meaning.
Parade over. Now is the time for the Rolf Kuschel to show us hiss skill in the Culinary art of Reibekuchen (potato fritters). The women in the green hat is Rhea Kuschel, provider of these photographs.