Friday, 25 January 2013

Birthdays and New Curtains!

I'm not sure how far I'll get with this, as I am so painfully tired, but I'm determined to write *something* every night...if just to stop myself from falling even further behind!  I only hope it's not too garbled and full of spelling errors for you to understand it!

May 15th 2011

My 20th birthday, which was also David's 64th birthday.  Yes, my father and I share a birthday, but we didn't exchange cards or gifts.  I got four cards all together, and Mum put $35 inside hers as "spending money for our holiday" which was my only gift.  Still, I didn't expect to get anything so I was pretty pleased with that!

Despite knowing that I wanted to go out for the day, David slept at Grottsville the night before and arrived at Woodberry as late as ever.  I was not going to give up on my birthday outing though (especially since I was wearing a "pretty little dress" for the first time in my life along with the new tights and shoes I had bought to wear with it!) so we still went to Clacton-on-Sea as planned.  However, we didn't get everything I had planned, and it was quite frankly annoying to pass all those lovely big car boot sales by the side of the road just as they were packing up!  We also passed the Tiptree Jam Museum which I had wanted to visit for ages, but there just wasn't time to stop.

If I'd hoped to find Edwin Hall rides in Clacton, I think I was living in a time warp.  The coin operated rides there now are those cheap and nasty, huge, garishly painted things that we import from Europe these days.

I mean, this is a kiddie ride?

Or this?

Or this?

Or, worst of all, THIS?!

God, that last one really sums up what I hate about a lot of modern coin operated rides.  It's enormous with too much decoration.  If you cram that many colours and symbols into a small area, it just ends up looking really ugly.  And is it supposed to be a boat or a car?  I don't think I've ever seen a pirate ship with wheels...  Then again, maybe it's a steam engine, judging by that weird funnel-type thing on the front of it!  I think back to my childhood and wonder what happened.  Then I think back to the old photos I see from the 1950s and 1960s and wonder what had happened by my childhood.  When I compare the beautiful carving and painting work that went into the original wooden Edwin Hall rides, and then I see this...well, it just breaks my heart to think that this generation will never even get the small glimpse that I got of what the British seaside used to be like.

Still, I photographed the rides that were there as I'm sure somebody will want to remember these things some day.

Two rides I was pleased to see were "Romeo and Juliet", the identical pair of Cogan Vienna horses on Clacton Pier.  I loved them to bits and named them Romeo and Juliet when I was a little girl.

This is me with Juliet in August 1996...

And here we are together in May 2011!

Poor old Romeo was now living outside:

Actually, both of the horses looked a bit the worse for wear with Romeo missing his tail completely and almost all of the pretty shiny "gemstones" stolen from their eyes and tack.  I knew they wouldn't last much longer, so I was very pleased to see them, and have the oppotunity to get my picture taken and relive the childhood memory one last time.

I was a little worried when I saw the camera battery draining away rapidly...then I realised that I'd left it in "green mode", which meant it was taking enormous photographs.  Thankfully, I figured out how to switch back to a regular setting before the whole battery was lost!

As it was so late, there was no time to walk around the shops...I stopped for two quick snaps in front of the grimy sea.

Ugh, horrible pictures (I look like a witch!) but I can't believe how much hair I still have there.  And I thought my hair looked thin at that point!

Then we were off to Walton-on-the-Naze for a quick stroll down the pier and more ride photography.  But the machines there looked even less like my idea of coin operated rides!

I just think that "graffiti"-style painting is gross...and the bike isn't even on a proper base!  I can't imagine what it looks like when it's in motion.  The front part can't move at all, can it?

There were a couple of slightly older rides there, like Whittaker Bros.' Santa Fe Sam...

...and the MKC Designs Rainbow roundabout (I can never remember the real name for it!)

But that was about it really.

I'd brought a large bag of 2p coins with me so that I could have some fun with the pusher machines, but we didn't have time...ever onwards, as they say, especially when David never gets you anywhere until the afternoon.  Mum demanded we went to Clacton Factory Outlet as she thought we might "do something useful" by getting some waterproof coats for our American trip there.  We did manage to get some coats, and I bought myself a new t-shirt and necklace in a Marks & Spencer discount shop too.

A creepy old bloke then decided to ruin my day by coming and practically whispering in my ear, "You're nice..."  I ignored him and he wandered off.  Mum blamed the "pretty little dress", of course.  Well, I'm not going to wear trousers forever just because creepy men approach me when I wear something I feel comfortable wearing!  But it's okay, Mum said he was "just an older man trying to be nice".  Yeah, right...

Maybe I shouldn't have worn that dress.  The lady in the shop where we bought our coats told me not to look in the mirror before buying mine as it would "give me a false representation of the coat because of the other clothes I was wearing".  After all, "you have a lot of colours going on there".  A lot of colours?  Only blue and white?  Does my dress really look that strange?!

We stopped at Little Chef on the way back - it was nice to eat at a proper restaurant for once.  We discovered that they'd completely changed their menu in there and there wasn't a lot available for vegetarians, but they very kindly made something up for us that wasn't officially on the menu using parts of several different meals!

Even with the meal, David was swerving all over the road and almost had two seperate accidents.  Usually he blames being hungry, so what was his excuse that night?

May 16th 2011

It was back to work as usual, scanning, photographing Mum's possessions, indexing cassette tapes...  I didn't leave the house all day long.

The man came back and hung the curtains in the hobby room, living room and my bedroom.  The idea was that we would be able to close them to stop things fading further while we were on holiday.  Of course, nothing goes as planned.  I'd never seen my curtains unfolded before.  Mum's friend sent them to me years ago, having found them at a car boot sale, and they had been screwed up in an old shoe box ever since.  Once they were hung at the window, it became clear that they hadn't been lined...

Not only did this mean that you could hardly see the MLP pattern on them anyway, but they also didn't block much light so the ponies on my shelves would continue to fade.

The hobby room and living room looked a bit better with their pelmets, but the (pink) living room pelmet was warped and needed to be fixed.  That explains why my parents wouldn't leave them alone for long enough for me to take a picture!

Mum was still moaning at me about how silly I had looked in my "pretty little dress" and telling me off for "wasting time by making them go to Clacton".  I was working as hard as I could to get everything done in time to go on holiday, but there literally weren't enough hours in the day.  I didn't even get to do my laundry until 1am!

Let's end this on a happier note.  I got this belated birthday parcel in the mail...

So many sweet little MLP accessories!  I was especially pleased to have the Mummy Charms and they are still proudly displayed on top of my wardrobe.  I'd never had any "My Little Puppies" or "My Little Kitties" before either.  And the paintbrush was one of my grail Pony Wear items!  I also got a lovely pair of shoes, a giraffe necklace and, best of all, my first ever MP3 player!  Thanks, Louisa!

Well, I feel as though I am in a torture camp, trying to hold my eyelids open wih I must sign off and get to bed.  I'll try to write a longer blog entry tomorrow though, and then maybe we'll finally get to the Great American Adventure the following day!

Best wishes,
Desirée  xxx


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  2. The fourth kiddie ride picture made me think of those weirdo Chinese ones that are common in smaller malls and supermarket here. As for Romeo and Juliet... They're beautifully built. I've seen a few over here, but unfortunately all of them are stationed at amusement centers that don't welcome adults riding their rides :(

    On the side note: Do you know Cogan are still making them? Here's their webpage on Cogan's webiste:

    1. I think the fourth ride is a Polish ride but I'm not sure - there was no manufacturer's name on it. Polish rides seem to be getting more and more common over here though. They're very brightly coloured and not very well made...a bit like the Chinese rides really!

      I love Cogan's older rides like the Vienna horses! It's a bit sad that they are still making them really, considering I never see them anymore. I suppose that proves that the demand for the old-style rocking animal rides really has gone from this country. :( If only I had the space and money, I think that's one Italian ride I'd buy for myself! :P

    2. I suppose that you're right and it's the Safety and Health overzealousness that's causing these rides to disappear :( There's no other explanation in why they're not showing up in the UK despite still bein made- there's still a good deal of those types of rides listed on Falgas', Cogan's and ATM's website :(

      The only one I see on Kiddie Ride UK's site seems to imply that rocking type rides can no longer have a pole and it must be the entire base that rocks.

      As for the Polish rides- hmmm, any chances that they're redistributed Chinese rides? On the other hand, Chinese rides are often blatant ripoffs of American and British rides. That one clearly is an original case.

    3. I hadn't noticed the thing with rocking rides no longer having poles, but you're right! I know Whittaker Bros. ride bases have rocked with the rides for years but I hadn't noticed that all the other companies are doing it now. Health and Safety's gone mad. All the new kiddie rides at the show had SEATBELTS fitted inside them! Can you believe that?

      The Polish rides at the fair were definitely made in Poland. Is it possible that Chinese rides could be copies of Polish rides?! Now that's something to think about!

    4. Yeah, I noticed that many newer ride-in rides and even some ride-on ones seem to have a seatbelt now. Sheesh! Talk about destroying comfort all just in the name of safety!

      Interesting thoughts about the Chinese rides being copies of the Polish ones. Definitely something to think about!