Who doesn’t love a fun fair? Goldfish in a bag. Shoot a target down a warped barrel. Crazy screams as the Waltzer whips its frenzied riders faster and faster. Doughnuts, hot dogs, fried onions. Perfect. That is what we anticipated as we decided to take a stroll down to a local fair this weekend. It was wet and windy but Team Waldram still braved the elements to enjoy all the fun the fair had to offer.
Imagine that perfect fair. Imagine the screams, the smells, the hum of flashing machines and the glint in children’s eyes as they win prizes and spend pocket money. Imagine that then consider the negative! Welcome to Long Eaton’s Fun Fair.
We entered through a muddy and well-travelled (bizarrely) gate and stared agog at the 14 rides and caravans before us – three of which were ‘hook-a-duck’. Despite this, B&S enjoyed it, their faces on the car carousel was a treat and they thoroughly enjoyed bouncing around on the deadly and damp trampoline (complete with rusty springs that prompts the health & safety adviser in me to ask some searching questions).
Distressed Dad’s favourite part of the whole cirque de petit was winning a prize on one of the trilogy of ‘hook-a-ducks’. An easy enough task despite the fleeting worry that I may not actually hook an aforementioned duck. This was the first time I had to win a prize for one of my children, the first time I had to man up; get tough; take control of my macho, bread-winning side and show B exactly what sort of a man her daddy was.
It was fine. The ducks didn’t move and had a hook the size of a coat hanger in which to snag my bounty. And anyway, the promise of the rusting sign: ‘guaranteed a prize every time’ eased such concerns.
What really hurt was the price! As I kneeled in the squelching mud, guiding B’s hand to victory, I saw the owner smile through crooked and golden teeth. ‘That’ll be £2.50, pal.’
I could literally buy a live duck, staple a coat hanger to its head and watch it bob around in my bath for less*. Nevertheless, distressed dad paid up. Hooked up. Stood up. Clutching the duck like a talisman, B smiled and finished her hot dog. The prize she chose was a glamorous hairdresser kit, all pink and girly.
£2.50! They didn’t just see me coming. They sent me text requesting my presence. Come on down, Benji, let me relieve you of those three gold coins burning a hole in your back-pocket.
The hairdressers’ kit was by far the cheapest and most worthless thing I have ever seen. It was called, wait for it… ‘Had Better’ and contained a plastic handbag, three small containers, a small phone, a-something-I-don’t-really-know, a tiny set of fake clippers (just what every girly hairdresser needs) and, my favourite, a small cut-throat razor. Mr Todd would be so proud. I would write to the company that made this garbage and complain but, surprisingly, there was no information written on the reverse. No complaints department, no telephone or advice line. Nothing. Oh, apart from a helpful sticker that said: ‘please retain packaging for further use’.
Utter rubbish yet amused me to write this post, so, in relative terms – worth £2.50? You bet. B loves it and distressed dad scores on his win a prize debut.