Today two things happened one good one bad, they both happened at the garden centre:
The Good Thing
We went to Paulos Circus (it was set up in the Garden Centre) It was magical. We had candyfloss, saw clowns and acrobats. Here are some of the acts (not counting a comic man who acted in between doing jokes and on one occasion plate spinning. A more dignified man showed up once or twice as a double act.):
- A team of me who limbo-ed under a flaming limbo pole.
- Two acrobats.
- A juggler who balanced on a plank of wood while tossing those bowling pin things.
- One of the acrobats solo.
- A team of black men skipping dressed in faux fur loincloths, chestcloths and shoes while Shakira’s ‘This Time For Africa’ played in the background. I’d say it was slightly rascist, but they were black and they’d chosen the costumes.
- Intermission (when we had candyfloss served by the acrobat lady)
- The acrobats again.
- A man in an astronaut costume dancing with the juggler.
- A young girl acrobat climbing up a rope and doing gymnastics while wrapped in it.
- The team of black men doing gymnastics in slightly less realistic versions of their previous costumes.
- The End.
The Bad Thing
Many of you will have heard me speak of the pirate ship. A play area at our local garden centre.
It was mostly a ship. A replica of a ship sailing on a barky sea. Inside was everything a pirate could need. A cabin, a crows nest, wrigging, a hold, cannons , three stearing wheels, two slides and even a brig and plank (though eventually blocked of by a weedy easily climbable board.) Paintings of pirates adorned the walls. On one side of it were the sinking ends of a ship split in two, both curved triangles pointing at the sky, a zip wire between them. Those of you who are old friends of this blog remember the many descriptions of moves, of games in which we ran from it, our assailant, but all was in jest.
On the otherside, cut off from marine theme, a truck with giant all terrain wheels, a slide at the back, climbable bonnet and roof, open space where the engine should be that doubled up as the best hiding place in the area, and a steerin wheel and buttons for those still at the ‘Brrrm Brrrm I’m driving a car’ stage.
All of these made it unnique.
It happened when we went there. It had been shut for many weeks for safety reasons (in other words: it was a bit wet) Dad joked that when we got there it would just be a soft play area. We never dreamed how right he was…
We saw the corner of the ship, newly painted red, (though James thought the colour was too different, if he’d known what was coming next he’d have been pleased if the whole place was bright magenta pink!)
We could only see a corner behind the trees (it is a garden centre!) but we kept going. We could see a corner, a bigger corner, a quatre… and that was it.
Our beloved ship was gone…
Sliced off at the side by what seemed to be the carving knife of a giant, chopped up into little bits.
The quatre stood in the middle, out of place amongst the wreck. The pirates had been bested, their remnants of their ship lay floating around where it had once stood. The old things were still there, but a lot more rubbish. They’d kept the brig, but sliced off the door so there was no more ‘locked up’ atmosphere. The pirate cellmate stood frowning behing bars, the only survivor.
They’d kept the places where the swing-thing was, but in one side of the sinking ship was a bench, and in the other a hole had been cut for the slide. The open, metal classic one, not the massive orange tube one. Even the slide was worse, they had made it shorter by making the bit that touches the ground longer.
The crowsnest was no longer high up, only reachably by rigging (or for the less adventurous, climbing up a ladder or the slide.) it was on the ground and looked less like a look out’s post for men of old and more like a dustbin.
A few planks of wood with a wooden cross on top and a cannon bobbed along. I felt envious and saddened by the two young children I saw enjoying it. Envious because they were having fun where I couldn’t, saddened because their ‘ship’ was pitiful compared to the old thing.
The rest had been sliced and diced and made into a make shift obstacle course to circle the graveyard of lost playtime. That which I have described to you is all that is left.
We had to practically gag James to prevent him from calling the people at the front desk babboons and gibbons to their faces!