Sunday, 2 November 2008

My Fun Fair Phobia

I’m not a fan of fun fairs, in fact it's almost a phobia. I’m not exactly sure why, but my instinctive response is to cringe when anyone asks me to go to one and I always refuse.

I’m sure I enjoyed them when I was little, when you see the coloured lights, the candy floss and toffee apples, it all looks so good. I remember my grand dad taking me to one at a nearby seaside town and I still have the photo. Poor soul it doesn’t look like he was enjoying it much with 3 small children complete with candy floss in tow.

As I got a bit older I started to see them as tacky places full of scruffy blokes, tattoed with greasy Brylcreemed hair and pierced ears, (before these became fashionable) twirling the waltzers. It shows I had stopped seeing the world through those rose tinted glasses and also the standard of the travelling funfairs we had in those days!

One really awful experience I had was when I was first going out with Eric (eventually my husband) and we decided to go to The Hoppings in Newcastle. It’s a huge event where lots of travelling fun fairs gather together for a couple of weeks in the summer. To be truthful the experience was nothing to do with the fun fair at all, just the fact that we had been there. When we got back to the car, Eric couldn’t find his car keys and he called the RAC out. Instead of taking us to a garage to get a new key, the prat started the car up himself. The car jumped and banged all the way home. I have no idea what he did but it cost a lot get the car repaired. Big fun fair psychological damage!

On the fun fair plus side, about thirty years ago, when our children were young, we went on holiday to Sweden. Neil and Claire persuaded us to visit the Liseberg Amusement Park in Gotenberg and it was great. Clean, safe, in a lovely setting and it was staffed by young people who were extremely polite and dressed in yellow uniforms. I’ve also seen the glorious ads for Disneyland, Disney World, Port Aventura, Alton Towers etc but my response is still the same, I don’t want to go.

Last week my daughter asked me to go to with her to Light Water Valley, a fun park about an hour drive from where we live. My initial response was no. However she had already bought the tickets and it was the last day it would be open until next year. She didn’t want to go on her own with 2 children of quite different ages wanting to go on different rides. Her husband didn’t want to go either. She knows I’m a soft touch and love spending time with them, so I agreed, reluctantly.

Well the weather forecast was quite good so off we went and arrived there at about 10.30am. It was a glorious autumn/winter day and the funfair is set in a lovely country park area near Ripon in North Yorkshire, not at all tacky. The rides were well spaced out in the park, yes a real park not just a name. There were very few people around too so the children could just walk onto any of the rides with no qeueing. Great!

Ah Sweet! (They're not always like this!)

The weather was great for most of the day. It was chilly but the sun warmed things up a lot. At one point there was some rain but luckily it didn't last.

Big Wheel in the Rain

Now I gave up riding the waltzer a long time ago but I have to say I took a real fancy to getting onto what they called the Skyrider. It was what we used to call "chairs" when I was little. However this one was different! A lot bigger, faster and as you can see from the photo it had a tilt to it. I have to say it was almost a work of art. I admired the colours, the lights and the designs on it, not at all tacky.

My grandson loved it and kept going on over and over again as there were no queues. I have to admit that I was sorely tempted to get on with him but I had been left carrying the coats, bags etc. whilst my daughter took Lauren onto the rides for younger children. It was probably just as well, I might not have lived to regret getting on it. What a wimp!

The Skyrider

Never mind I really enjoyed listening to the music, all 'sixties stuff. I hadn’t realised how well suited Telstar was to fun fairs. Spot on!

I wasn’t the only one feeling their age. My daughter took Nathan onto one ride called The Ultimate and hurt her neck. She thinks it will be her last time on a roller coaster ride, after all she’s 35! Another wimp in the family.

Roll on next summer, we'll be back now that I'm getting over my fun fair phobia.