As a kid I loved fairs. We had one in our village every year after the maypole procession and there was also one at bonfire night for a few years.
In our local town, where my parents worked, we had Feast Week. This came at the end of July when the local mills were on a two week shutdown for summer holidays.
I loved cocks and horses and dodgems. So did my dad and would happily come on all the rides with me. Actually I think I was just an excuse for him to live out his big kid fantasies. Especially on the dodgems where he rammed as many other cars as possible.
These are dodgems though!
As if that wasn’t exciting enough, for some reason my parents were friends with a couple of Feasties. This meant I got free ice cream and we got to sit in their very flash Romany caravan.
No wonder the attraction of the fair was irresistible.
And then I married a fair-hating man. His view wasn’t helped by the fact that one of his relatives went on the big wheel, the bar came loose, and the friend in the middle fell out and was killed. Michael and the other friend hung onto the side, literally for dear life, but after the incident Michael was never the same.
Combined with me working for the Health and Safety Executive, and dealing with fairground accidents every year,
‘Had the health and safety inspectors been round?’
Well, no, they don’t go checking every ride of every operator every year.
The obvious answer, ie there aren’t enough inspectors to do that, because the budget isn’t sufficient, isn’t a good idea.
So instead, our legally correct reply was that the Health & Safety at Work Act put the responsibility for correct operation of the machinery upon the owner blah blah etc. The HSE was not responsible for the safety of the rides, the owners were, and yes we would be conducting an investigation.
Not surprisingly my enthusiasm for fairs waned. And, I suppose adults look pretty silly going on rides without kids, because fairs are ostensibly for children and teenagers.
Here in Gib, the fair runs at the end of August and is a precursor to National Day celebrations. While half the space is for rides and attractions, a huge amount of space is devoted to eating. It’s not just hot dogs, although you can get those. Didn’t notice any toffee apples though. Or candy floss. But I probably wasn’t looking for them.
All the fun of the fair? [captions on all photos]
In recent years, the fair has been swapping locations, moving from one car park to another. There is no dedicated fairground, instead, car parks are commandeered for at least two weeks, putting even more pressure on parking spaces in a place where space is tight enough already. At the moment the fair is right next to lots of expensive apartment blocks. Bet they’re loving that.
Eating in the car park?
Or, why not eat at the marina next door to the fair?
Yesterday, Partner went to the Land Rover to collect his wellies to do a small spot of sewage unblocking. Five people stopped to ask him if he was moving his vehicle. Not a chance. Anyone who has a parking spot right now is staying well put.
So Feria now leaves me cold, whether it’s in Gib or Spain. Old age?
But anyway, Kev has asked me to do three quotes in three days in one of those silly tag things.
Here’s a relevant one:
Are you going to Scarborough fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
When I was younger there was a question about whether it meant an actual fair, or whether or not Scarborough was a fair place. Which indeed it was in its heyday.
Finding accurate info about Scarborough Fair isn’t easy, for example:
Here we will watch King Henry the VIII sign a charter (in 1253 to be precise) which began the annual tradition of a 45-day fair in the seaside city of Scarborough in North Yorkshire (on the North Sea side of the UK). The charter stated, “The Burgesses and their heirs forever may have a yearly fayre in the Borough, to continue from the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary until the Feast of St Michael next following”.
Um … I won’t quote the source for that, suffice to say I doubt the blogger studied English history.
There is a consensus however that it started on 15 August and ran for 45 days. Thank goodness the Gib fair only lasts a week.
I did find discoveryorkshirecoast which has a pretty good summary of the fair’s history.
It’s not surprising I never remembered it in my days working and living there as an archaeologist and later a reporter, because it ended in 1788 after centuries of wrangling with local towns, including Filey, but the real opponent was Seamer.
Seamer’s charter was granted by Richard II to Henry de Percy, Earl of Northumberland, in 1383, but Scarborough began a law suit the following year in the Court of Queen’s Bench for the suppression of the fair, because of the injury done by it to the Scarborough Market.
In the meantime, Scarborough’s prosperity slumped. The number of bakers reduced from eight to four, all four drapers closed their shops, four butchers, ten weavers and 11 tailors, all closed down and only half of the forty public houses remained in business.
Records show that ‘grass now grew in the streets of Scarborough. Shipping and house alike had fallen into decay’.
It cost Scarborough some £2,000 to achieve victory in 1602, but their jubilations were shortlived when James I decided to grant another charter to Seamer. Again the Seamer market was suppressed, but when it was revived again in the 18th century, it was Seamer who came out victors, and the Scarborough Fair ended in 1788.
And, it was Henry III by the way, in 1253. In case anyone wondered.