Friday, 5 October 2007

Hull Fair
















Eleanor is a little monkey. She was going to go with Baz, Holly and Holly's Mum to Hull Fair on Monday but today, after Brownies, I got a phonecall from Eleanor saying could she go tonight and would I get £20 to pay for the rides, heavily implying but not actually stating that it would be instead of Monday's trip. As I set off for the cash point you could hear Eleanor and Holly's whoops of delight as they were coming down the street. On my return from the cashpoint (in quite a good frame of mind having just purchased some reduced asparagus spears at Tesco for 30p)and found Eleanor, Holly, Amy (Holly's highly responsible 18 year old sister) and her friend waiting. Eleanor pocketed the £20, said `We'll bring you back some cinder toffee' and they were off and I could hear Eleanor saying 'Great, we're going on Monday, too'.

You didn't need reminding it was Hull Fair tonight. As we were coming back from Brownies we could see the huge search lights sweeping around the night sky, and you could hear the sound of the fair which carries through the crisp night's air, a mixture of music, the hum of motors and shouting and sometimes you think you can actually hear individual voices. On my back door step you can smell the hotdogs.

This is a fair which has gone on for centuries and was orginally a cattle fair. As you can see from the pic, there are lots of high tech rides (with all their light give the fair all the glitzy, if tacky glamour of the Blackpool illuminations, but in a three dimensional night city form)but you also get the Romany fortune tellers in their caravans, the candy floss and the horse chestnuts, warm from black stoves. It is sensation city. It has survived so long in an area where the much of the work on offer for so long was hard and manual and offers an escape from all of that. If you want to get historical you can say it is reminiscent of the medieval fairs, which punctuated the argricultural drudgery. Or poetic, a city of music and lights which illuminates the night sky. Everyone goes, and some people blow up to £200 a night.

If we go Mark refuses to go on any of the rides as he is an engineer, and spends all his time worriedly eyeing the cogs spinning. When the kids were little they liked 'Hook a duck' as they genuinely thought there was skill involved and carried off their garish cuddly toys like trophies, and that habit has persisted. Jack and I went on a ride similar to the third pic last time. As the ride reached it's stride you felt like you were going to be flung out into the crowd and I came off with my legs shaking.
Eleanor has just come back from the fair with a yellow bear from 'Hook-a-Duck' which she has called Buttercup and has been on one of those rides where you are strapped in standing position in a rotating circle and throw into the night sky. They don't make them soft in Hull.










14 comments:

Frances said...

OOh - no flies on that girl. Mine is like that. Very honest and truthful but somehow able to mislead the gullible...
I LOVE fairs. My aunt used to love them as well (probably still does) - so when we were in Bradford she used to take me (she is only 7 years older than me) and sometimes we took my step-cousin who wasn't allowed to go at all, because of gipsies, I think... who knows? Did you get your cinder toffee and are your back teeth stuck together?

Beverley said...

I think that these things are still run by quite a few gipsies. We still have some round here and do get ladies of unconventional dress, if not exactly selling clothes pegs, then selling something. They live on areas provided by the council and the lads seem to spend a lot of their time on quad bikes. On the Common there are horses owned by the gypsies.

Some of the men who run the rides have that gypsy aspect. If you are on the waltzers and someone comes up to give the car an extra spin if you look into their eyes you will see they are an intense piercing blue, with often dark colouring.

In the end, I did not get my cinder toffee as I think Eleanor needed all her money for the rides!

laurie said...

oh i love that. i'd love to be at that fair.

our state fair, not nearly as old, started more as an agricultural display and that's still a big part of it. but it also has the midway rides and lots and lots of food and things to buy

doesn't seem quite as romantic or as historic as yours, though. good for you for giving her the $$$.

Frances said...

I think gypsy men were my first lustful teenage fantasy - probably down to seeing some pathetic film with Franco Nero in it and fancying him a lot! I think there is something a bit less exciting about them now they are all forced off the road everywhere and made to live under fly-overs and on rubbish dumps - not quite the open road and the wind in your hair! Our family has an argument (on both sides) about whether we have gipsy blood - both sides of the family have people with quite dark skin and blue eyes - and a lot of us are a bit hocussy pocussy - I am and I don't believe in it.. Certainly my last passport photo had a look of the 'Traveller' about it, or bag-lady anyway!

Bobbie said...

I used to love going to the fairs when I was a girl. We had the Eastern New Mexico State Fair in my hometown of Roswell, NM. The farmers would bring all their produce and animals and compete for ribbons. The ladies would bring quilts and jams. Of course there would be a carnival with it and that was what we kids really wanted to do, but always had to do the "exhibits" first. Now, I'd do them first and forget the rides :)

Sweet Irene said...

There is quite a bit of difference between European fairs and American fairs. In Europe it is mainly about the rides and there are no exhibits. The people who run the rides are very shady characters usually and it was kind of disreputable to go to the fair in the Netherlands. I went with my older sister, who always thought she was a gypsy kidnapped by gentiles. She was a bit of a romantic and hoped to find her true people.I just thought that all the men were sleazy looking and dangerous and so were the rides when I was young.

Bez said...

I enjoyed reading that Bev, very descriptive of the fair and personal at the same time.(MR.James would be proud).How could an engineer doubt the ability of a spotty 16 year old traveler to maintain high tech extreme rides?
Bobbie, is that THE Roswell?

Beverley said...

Yes, Bobbie is that THE Roswell? Do you know anything about extra terrestrial life? I would be very interested to know. lol

Beverley said...
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Frances said...

Oh no Bev
Surely that's one of the entertainments, reading bloggers' insults to their readers? I hadn't read your insulting remarks to Bez, but had to go and look at them. A bit below the belt - but probably well-deserved, hur hur. I loved the fact that you still got an answer though. Broad-minded and tolerant, that's what teaching does for you, eh Bez? Do you only rock around the local area? I looked at the venues and they all seemed pretty localised. Did you see the Arena thing about Crewe yesterday, Bev? The musicians were pretty impressive I thought.

Rima said...

The pix are tiny, but enough to make me dream! I've always loved those striped tents and all the stuff you see in the old movies. In N. America, most fairs are quite sanitized now, at least the ones we go to - very kid-oriented. The rides aren't much safer I think, so I won't go on any of them. The cotton candy is usually pretty yucky, and there aren't any romantic dark-haired sexy gypsies at all - just good ol' farm boys and girls waiting to take the kids on a pony ride. Not fantasy material at all, sad to say. At least in Canada, the fairs have an international flavour, so to speak - the food stands will offer everything for jerk chicken to papadums to candied apples.
Going apple picking today, nice healthy cheap entertainment.

Beverley said...

Rima, sounds lovely. We used to go bramble picking, but now they are older, sadly, gone are those days, and cash and a slightly more intense experience are the ordeer of the day lol

Beverley said...
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laurie said...

very "araby."