Father’s Day, Funfairs and Goats

I woke with a start at 4am, and blundered my way through my phone while trying to find the radio app – to listen to the Tyson Fury boxing match. The fight finally began at 5am, and lasted approximately 5 minutes. It didn’t go well for the other guy. I fell back asleep moments later, and woke up wondering if the headphones I had been wearing would have left huge ring patterns on the sides of my head.

I have a vague recollection of an incredibly odd dream – something to do with walking around a house I had been to before, and finding all manner of things that had to be collected. It just occurred to me – in the dream I knew I had visited the house before, and knew my way around it – but thinking back, I’ve NEVER seen the house before. How on earth does your brain even do that – create memories to play back into a fictional movie moments before you wake up? That’s some spectacularly recursive craziness.

After finally scraping myself out of bed a little after 7am I wandered downstairs, had a shower, fed the cats, and cleared the kitchen. Our kitchen is something of a mystery to me – no matter how hard I work at clearing washing up before going to bed, the next morning there will be a sink full of washing up waiting for me. I suspect a traveling silent night circus has an extra set of keys to our house.

After firing two loads through the washing machine, and settling down to the second or third coffee of the day, the rest of the household crawled from their hiding places. My daughters appeared brandishing cards and a huge Toblerone chocolate bar just as I called my Dad to wish him a happy Father’s Day. My Dad is like me in many ways – or I’m like him – happy in his own company, with a propensity to nerd out at whatever he’s interested in this week. He also avoids the telephone if possible.

Miss 18 arrived in the lounge, with a question – “Are we doing anything today?”

My other half responded over her laptop screen while curled up on the sofa in her pajamas – “I thought we might go to the park this afternoon – the Regatta is on – there is a funfair”.

I had forgotten all about the regatta and funfair. The main day was yesterday – the park is closed to the public and becomes a ticketed rowing competition with dress code and free helpings of elitism. I know – I know – I’ll shut up now. On Sunday the park is opened, and everybody can wander in for free – visiting the various stalls, eating street food, drinking overpriced drinks, and paying to shorten their lives on questionably engineered funfair rides.

The children talked me into going on two such rides with them. The first flung you forwards and backwards while jigging you up and down like a demented Iron Giant had grabbed hold of you – accompanied by pop music and carrot chunks. The second involved sitting on a bench seat and being twirled in circles until your stomach really didn’t want to think about digesting anything for a good few hours.

The children were quite disappointed when I said I’d had enough – but then I noticed I had been among the very few parents going on rides with their children. I distracted them from being too downcast by paying for them to try and win some utter tat to take home with us. Miss 14 plucked a ball from a jet of air with a net – a feat of skill that took almost no skill at all. In return for tidying up said ball, she was offered any of the cheapest toys from the bottom row of a series of buckets of tat. She seemed pleased though.

I bought myself a cappuccino and a bag of freshly made donuts from a nearby stall while the kids tried unsuccessfully to win another goldfish. They have taken goldfish home from every regatta they have ever visited. I laughed as they failed, and considered setting fire to some more money just for fun.

Back near the river I got arm-twisted into having a go on a rowing machine. The children went first, and vaulted themselves to the head of the girls leader-board. I strapped myself onto the machine next, and wondered if I might do better than my attempt last year (my first ever go on a rowing machine) – where I had fallen off the machine mid-challenge. History very nearly repeated itself. I spent the last 100 metres of the pretend “race” trying to figure out how real rowers keep the seat underneath themselves. After filing a very average time indeed, the man running the tent made very complimentary comments about how well I had done, given that I hadn’t rowed before, and that the top times had been recorded by professionals (the Olympic team live nearby, so probably pushed the times out of mere mortal’s reach for fun). I think the man was just being kind because I was with the kids though. I did wonder though – how fast I could go, if I didn’t try to row in sandles, and could somehow manage to stick myself to the seat.

No, I will not be buying myself a rowing machine. I might be buying some goats though.

There was a petting zoo in the park – a nearby farm that works with charities had brought along a number of animals – a pony, a donkey, some chickens, some rabbits, and some goats. Oh my word the goats. How cute could they possibly have been? They were only young, so tremendously playful, inquisitive, and nosy. On they way home we didn’t just joke about getting some to avoid cutting the lawn ever again – we started to actually figure out what we might need to do in preparation.

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