It’s Easter and the funfair is in town. Every year I drive miles off-route to avoid the fair in the vain hope that my kids won’t see it. But they’re getting older and wiser . . . and they have contacts, so they were fully aware that it had arrived because their friends had plotted with them. And they weren’t taking no for an answer so that’s where we went today.
When I was younger I loved the fair. I mean I totally loved it. I loved the fast rides, the loud music, the lights. Me and my best friend would pool our money together and spend every night there until the money ran out. We weren’t afraid of any ride. We would try every one. We would ride the Waltzer at least four times back-to-back without throwing up and would scream for the fair lads to spin us faster. The Speedway was the main place to hang out and goodness me – such was our fairground heaven back then that they had three Speedways for us to choose from. Three! We went on each one and thought we were so cool because we dared to stand up for the whole of the ride. ‘Risk assessment’ back then then meant that if it was too dangerous then you simply had to try it. And there was the Cyclone. Now this ride may seem tame but when the sun went down and the toddlers were tucked up, this ride transformed into an evil, speed-freak of a ride. It defied physics I tell you. How those carriages missed hitting each other is beyond me. But I didn’t care.
Becoming a parent changes all that. When you’re a mother you see all the rust . . . you envisage kiddies falling out of carriages . . . you imagine screws coming loose . . you question maintenance schedules . . . you see the fairground lads and assume they’ve cut every corner.
Anyway, today my dear children insisted that I try everything. First they dragged me on the aforementioned Cyclone and I kept my eyes shut tight throughout, utterly convinced that we were going to smash right into the centre pole. Then they forced me onto the Waltzer and the stupid fair guy stayed by our carriage the whole time and spun me to hell and back. Again, I was convinced that the carriage would spin right off and land directly onto the Ski-jump – which brings me to our next not-so-cheap thrill. Lordy me! What a dreadful ride! If you love those belly rolls that you get when you drive over a bump then you’ll love the Ski-jump. And you get extras for free – banged elbows, bruises and a totally shattered spine.
Then they asked if they could have a look around the stalls – you know, the rip-off games where you can win tacky prizes. Sounds good to me. I didn’t care how much money they chucked down the proverbial drain if it got us away from the death rides. My little boy won a sword and shield on Hook-a-Duck and was a bit miffed because I wouldn’t let him choose a goldfish. He also sulked for ten minutes because I wouldn’t let him go on the Dodgems. Well you can call me a spoilsport all you like but I can remember the last time he went on the Dodgems with his dad and came off with a bloody nose and two subsequent black eyes.
Anyway, to sum up, I survived the ordeal and even though my kids laughed at my fears and called me a big softie, I thought I was a brave and sacrificing mother because I conquered all my doubts and fears and went on everything they asked me to. We won’t mention the fact that I might not have been quite so brave had there been a Speedway.
Oh, to be young and invincible again.