Friday, October 06, 2006

Roll up, roll up - all the fun of the fair!

How that shout used to excite me when I was a kid! To be honest, it still does.
I was born, and lived until I was twenty years old, in a place called Strelley, on the outskirts of Nottingham. The city is famous for Nottingham lace, it's castle, the Olde trip to Jerusalem pub (circa 1189) , Nottingham Forest football club (maybe not so much now, but in Brian Clough's heyday, we were known the world over) and it's Goose Fair! The latter is what this part of my blog is all about.

Well I remember, in the early days, the short trip that seemed to take FOREVER as my Mum, brother and sisters sat on one of the the special buses that were laid on for the Goose Fair. The knot in my stomach had been tightening all week, and was now so tight that I couldn't sit still. As we approached, you could smell the fair first, then hear the throbbing of the huge engines that provided power for the whole affair, and the cacophany of noise from the many loudspeakers on the rides.

The bus disgorged us onto the street right at the side of the fair, and at once we were in the melee. The first thing you saw were the 'hawkers' - these were people who were selling small items like hats, bows and arrows (we ALWAYS had one of those), and, one thing that sticks in my mind, those little 'magic Mexican dancing beans'! They ALWAYS fascinated me, and the sellers were very adept at making them run this way and that in their hand. I could never seem to get the same performance from the ones I bought!

"Hold my hand, and don't let go". These were the usual instructions from Mum. My sisters were also charged with keeping hold of me, as I was the youngest of the brood. Being small at a fair is NO fun! You spend you time looking up from the middle of the slowly moving crowd. Sometimes, if Dad came too, he would put me on his shoulders. That really WAS a treat - I could see EVERYTHING from there!

The 'old days' (God - I really sound old) seemed the best. The coconut shies seemed good value, and the rides were an affordable price. These days, when I go, the rides seem exhorbitant! One was FIFTEEN pounds each! many were a fiver. I must admit though, the atmosphere is just as electric these days! I LOVE to walk round and see the faces of the excited kids, smell the smells, listen to the sounds, and just imbibe the whole experience! The fair is always best at night, and that's when these pictures were taken.

Here's a view across the forest recreation ground, with the fair in full swing.

And here is the hub-bub of the crowd. Some would feel threatened by this, but I LOVE it! Saturday night is always the busiest.
It's like Blackpool come to town! This view really gets the hairs on my arms standing up. THE FAIR IS HERE.

The rides these days are super, but you DO need a strong stomach and a head for heights.

Eat your candy floss and peas AFTER going on THIS ride!

(or you run the risk of losing them)

1 comment:

Needlelacer said...

I can vaguely remember my parents taking me to the Goose Fair many years ago. Like you - I remember the crowds there and struggling to get through them and also the helter skelter - I loved that.