Sunday, 6 May 2012
Dreamland, Margate and other memories
This is where I went yesterday afternoon and evening, for a few hours of nostalgia. I remember visiting Dreamland in Margate as a youngster in the mid-1950s, with my parents, sister and a childless aunt and uncle. We were on a short holiday in the Margate area and wanted to see the Amusement Park. Aunty Doris took me on the Big Wheel which we enjoyed until the moment we were nearly at the top of the ride, when it stopped. We sat there, dangling in our seat in space, for probably ten or fifteen minutes. I imagine there was some kind of emergency down on ground level, which had to be dealt with. We finally set off again, without screams or panic, but it is an event that I have never forgotten. Yesterday's talk and film show brought it all back again.
That event ranks high with other memories: riding in a howdah on an elephant in Regents Park Zoo as a child; being frightened by a clown, as a small child at Bertram Mills Circus in Olympia, London, when he spoke to me; as a teenager seeing a motor-bike rider on what was called The Wall of Death who was being kept horizontal by centrifugal force at a certain speed inside a big wooden upright tube, in the Fun Fair at Agar's Plough, Eton; in the 1980s watching a circus performance by a man being fired out of a cannon, into a net some yards away. Many years later I heard him interviewed on the BBC and it seems he was the last man in England to be fired out of a circus cannon.
I shall continue to enjoy ships and the sea...