Tuesday, 8 May 2007
The Day the Circus Came to Town
I have posted the above picture just to remind us all what the weather HAS been like…it was taken on the way home last Thursday after a day out at Chatsworth (the school having been shut for polling day). Already, as I walked round a bedraggled, damp garden this afternoon, it seems a lifetime ago…
My better half is away at the moment and missing the fun. He has been on a short wind-swept and drizzly golf tour with the boys in the south-east of England and, after a swift change of clothes and a meal out with us on Saturday, jetted off to New York on Sunday morning. I received a text from him on Monday: he had enjoyed coffee in warm sunshine overlooking the Hudson river and the Statue of Liberty, lunch with a mate, a stroll in central park (with time to send me a pic), before heading off for drinks with other friends and supper and a baseball game. I was struggling to see where the work was being fitted in on this ‘work trip’. I, meanwhile, was sat in Wickes car park in the rain with five children while my friends looked for a hose. I reel sometimes at the very glamour of my life.
Prior to that we had been to the circus. No, not the Cirque du Soleil, or even the Chinese State Circus. No, just plain old Circus Mondao. Big top, big ladies in sparkly tops, unfunny clowns, horses, miniature ponies, recalcitrant goats, jugglers, sawdust, empty seats – oh, and a couple of zebras. This was the most exotic bit about it, I can assure you. Still, the kids loved it and we adults laughed like drains when the goat refused to jump the fences and ploughed doggedly through the whole lot like a bad day at Hickstead. We paid for the tickets, we paid for the popcorn: we refused to pay for the flashing light toys and the candy floss and the pony rides and the raffle and the photo with the miniature pony and Shrek. Actually, I found this a bit painful – poor Shrek had to stand in the middle of the ring with this weird looking pony by his side, shifting uncomfortably from big green foot to big green foot (and probably blowing raspberries at us all behind the mask) while not a single person thought a photo of their little darlings with this freak show duo would be nice to have on their mantelpiece. If the interval had gone on one more minute you would have probably found me rushing out there clutching all five children and a fistful of notes just to put him out of his agony…he’s probably having counselling as we speak. We did, however, cough up for them to pat the animals outside in their pens (50p a child). No ‘Now Please Wash Your Hands’ signs here. I’m not prissy about these things, but did wince just a little as L patted a particularly grubby looking goat on its backside. (Needless to say the one time I really could have done with the antiseptic hand gel, some useful little person had removed it from the car…)
I couldn’t help drawing comparisons with this and the circus we visit every August in the village in France for G’s birthday. No concerns about animal rights there – plenty of lions in cages and the odd elephant. Their equivalent of the goats are domestic cats – not renowned for their compliance – and I sniggered last year when one clearly thought ‘bugger this’ as it was manhandled into a swinging contraption and shot off through a gap in the tent, never to be seen again no doubt (except on a plate somewhere). That said, the French clowns were funnier and the jugglers better – but the glittery suits tattier and grubbier. No, safe to say, I won’t be running off to join the circus anytime soon…any lingering illusions now securely shattered!
Thence to Wickes, B&Q (still searching for hosepipes) and finally to Pizza Express (wash hands children!) – no Hudson River here, just a river of rainwater running down the middle of the street. It would have been an agreeable meal without the children. And I ended up with a dreadful stomach ache to boot. Roll on the next Bank Holiday! Let’s pray it’s not wet…
Yet, wet can be good. As we drove back into our village an evening sun burst through from under a bank of black cloud, throwing slanting golden rays and shadows across the landscape and a magnificent rainbow up into the sky. We gasped, it was beautiful, I wish I'd had the camera.