There’s something about going to a funfair that summons up those innocent feelings of youth. Of forgetting your responsibilities as you whirl around on the waltzers; not caring that the candyfloss you’re consuming contains about 700% of your daily sugar allowance; not worrying about how you look with your head thrown back, screaming out all that happiness.
It’s pure, unadulterated fun – which is something that in current times, we all definitely need to make time for. Last weekend, the wonderful Claire and I hopped on the train at Stratford International, station breakfast pastries in hand, headed for the coast.
In particular, Margate. A destination for many years considered ‘behind the times’, its redevelopment has caused a huge resurgence in popularity. Particularly with bloggers, where the colours and retro styles have caused an Instagram-worthy sensation. Our afternoon was spent at Dreamland, conjuring up memories and thoughts of days gone by with its retro funfair style.
We first discovered the merry go round playing an organ version of Tom Jones’ It’s Not Unusual. Of all the song choices. Keen to kick off the day, it was our first ride. Choosing our noble steeds and holding tight, the ride whirled us round gently, wind in our hair, giggling as we went. Overhead, the Scenic Railway Coaster train whizzed by, accompanied by the sounds of joyful screams.
Next, we stepped into our big wheel carriage. Pink, to match my hair, of course. All the carriages were different shades, making a rainbow that worked its way around. The wheels and joints creaked as we were lifted up towards the sky. Stopping halfway to let more fun-seekers on at the bottom, then rising once more, to the very top, where we took in reaching views. To the North, the sea; the East, Margate town. The wind whipped slightly, and I almost dropped my map to the ground below. Hair in our faces, we giggled from nerves at being up so high, until the wheel began turning, bringing us back to earth once again.
For lunch: Chips, of course. Chunky, doused in more salt and vinegar than any nutritionist would approve of. A taste of my seaside home. We ate with our fingers, perched at a yellow table, as predatory seagulls circled nearby.
And a trip to the funfair just isn’t the same without treats. In particular, candyfloss. At the pastel coloured stand, vanilla sugar was spun into a ball off floss bigger than my head. It was sprinkled with edible sparkles, and topped off with a tropical parrot. The taste of sweet vanilla danced across my tastebuds, leaving a sticky residue on my chin that stayed put for another ride on the merry go round.
Growing up by the seaside, too old for the playground but too young for the pub, arcades were my stomping ground. I’d push my pocket money into the change machine, and drop 2ps. I’m too old for pocket money these days, but never too old for 2p machines. Changing my pound coin, there were no pots to put them in, and the two pence coins overflowed in my still-child-small hands.
The bleeps and bloops of the machines, the rattle as the coins fall, and the thrill when you hear a handful of coins drop, is something that will never fail to delight even the biggest of kids. The Tango chew dangled precariously on the edge of its 2p precipice – but alas, never quite made its way into the tray, my hand and my pocket.
As the sun set, we devoured a three course dinner at Cinque Ports restaurant, just beside Dreamland, bonding with newfound friends for the evening over delicious food and espresso martinis. Because what’s better than both coffee and cocktails? Coffee cocktails, of course. One part of the day that definitely didn’t hark back to my childhood, at least…
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