F is for (Un)Fair

The school trip – a fairground. So exciting! Mum had a chat with me about what rides I could go on.

‘Roundabouts are fine. Even the grand ones with the horses that go up and down. But not the big wheel, the bumper cars or anything dangerous. If you do, I’ll find out.’

‘But all the others will go on them.’

‘I don’t care what the others do.’

She gave me one of her looks.

‘Those rides are dangerous. We didn’t have you by accident and don’t want to lose you by accident.’


I didn’t dare go on the big wheel; I was the only one who didn’t. Even Mr Green, our teacher, went on it. I didn’t go on the bumper cars either. Fortunately my friend, Christine, watched with me. I bought her a candy floss. For my mother, I bought an embroidered handkerchief in a box with a cellophane lid. It cost one and sixpence; it was beautiful.

Mum questioned me when I got home, looking intently to detect signs of lying.

‘Are you sure you didn’t go on the bomber or anything that spins you round? And no big wheel?’

‘No, really I didn’t.’

I gave her the present and she beamed.

‘You’re a good girl. I’m proud of you.’

The righteous feeling was a poor substitute for the fun of the fair. I didn’t mention they’d all called me a baby. Mr Green told them not to but I could tell he thought it silly to go to the fair and just watch. I got this sick feeling inside whenever the memory came back to me.

Years later, as a teenager, I made up for lost time and resolutely rode on everything. All of the exciting rides made me feel sick. Funny how things turn out.