It wasn’t so much for their looks (my mother brought me up with an unnatural disdain for unwashed hair and dirty fingernails, the latter bordering on the fringes of fetishism) it was for their freedom.
Every year, out of nowhere, the fairground used to roll into town – and with it – the boys and rides galore. In my case, those two were separate.
To me the fairground symbolised freedom. It was a hedonistic seeking of fun and an abdication of responsibility for a cherished clutch of time. And it was filled with the glorious scent of candy floss. And music so loud it made your heart literally *throb*. It would catch in your throat and make you want to scream:
“YES, YES, YEEEESSSSSS… I WANT TO GO FASTER!!!!!!!!!!”
Regardless that you could taste the pork chops you’d had for tea at the back of your tongue, and the mashed potato oozing it’s way back up your oesophagus (“You’re not going to the fair until you’ve eaten your tea” my mother would admonish – knowing all I wanted to eat was candy floss).
Of course, life as a teenage girl was very unfair; I didn’t live in a caravan and I had to go to school. And I wasn’t allowed to eat candy floss all day until my teeth fell out in little stumps of shriveled sugar encrusted enameled cubes.
My love for the fairground (and candy floss and loud music) has never left me, although my penchant for fairground boys has waned considerably over the years. Which is why I shrieked with delight when I saw Pleasurewood Hills theme park in Suffolk is being sold at auction.
My very own fairground all to myself.
I rubbed my hands in glee as I thought of all the candy floss and loud music. My teeth tingled as I reminisced the taste and texture of the frothy pink balloon which I would soon be holding in my sticky little hands. My lips parted ready to take a bite…
And with a sadness reserved only for such an appropriate occasion, as taking candy from a baby, I noted the guide price of £1 million.
To which my lips smacked shut and my fluffy pink balloon popped.
But, if unlike me, you do have a million going spare – the current occupiers are paying £139,670.90 per year for the 59 acre site (although it’s £65,030 net rent due to a council lease arrangement).
I’m sure you probably need to do some “proper” research – but I have so far discovered Pleasurewood Hills used to be the location for Noel Edmond’s Crinkley Bottom and the delightful Mr Blobby. The theme park has thirty different rides to suit all the family and currently attracts 220,000 visitors per year. Of particular note is the sea lion show (I love sea lions – especially their whiskers and aloof eyeball gaze they give you), Pleasurewood Chills Scream Park (have noted this Halloween event in my calendar), and their new ride Hobs Pit.
Now I am not usually one for paying to be scared, so maybe it’s my masochistic tendencies surfacing here – but I rather fancy the idea of coming face to face with a trapped miner possessed by the Devil. It says it’s a “horrifying journey” through an abandoned mine, and having spent time in Stoke-on-Trent I can visualize this well.
Anyway, I rather liked the trailer which “Welcomes you to hell” and asks you quite poignantly “Will you escape?”… which is a question I have asked myself several times.