Monday, 30 November 2009

Fair's Fair

Last Saturday was the school Christmas fair and it was all hands to the deck. A school fair is the Burn (Polly's maiden name) family's natural habitat. Despite being swamped in clown doctoring and Polly Mixturing, Polly somehow managed to find herself agreeing to design, make and wear a Polly's Pockets crinoline hooped dress covered in pockets for children to pick presents from. Of course, it was a huge amount of work, involving a temperamental sewing machine, some hula-hoops and yards of material, and quite a few late late nights, but the final result was thoroughly satisfactory.

Meanwhile, Pam, Polly's mum had agreed to run and stock Nanny's Stall. She had been collecting toys, ornaments and bits and bobs for months, as well as knitting cardigans at a prodigious rate. It took two car trips to transport the accumulated stock to the school.

On the day Polly and Pam disappeared off to the school early leaving me to sort out the boys. It turned out that it is easier to corral custard than get two boys ready to go out. You say, “we're leaving in five minutes. Have you got your shoes on?” They hear, “we're leaving in five minutes. You have time to start a computer game, build something large out of Lego, and have a pillow fight whilst bouncing on the bed.” It is a miracle to me that Polly ever gets them to school of a morning. Eventually they announced they were ready to go. Sam appeared dressed in a t-shirt and a pair of shorts. I sent him back to find some jeans and a warm top. He was indignant but reluctantly went back to change. He reappeared wearing a cardigan that had last fitted him when he was three. I sent him back to change again. Sam, with a perfectly straight face, denied that he had any other clothes.

Many minutes later we were on our way, walking across the local leisure centre's car park, when Sam announced he had forgotten to bring his purse which contained all his spending money. Back we went.

By the time we arrived at the school the fair was well under way. Polly was surrounded by a horde of small children handing over their 50p coins and rummaging in her many pockets to find presents. Pam was doing a roaring trade on Nanny's Stall. Hundreds of people were milling around. I retreated to a corner and hid.

My wheelchair allowed me to rise up and survey the scene. Occasionally the crowds would part to allow Sam, wielding a puff of pink candy-floss like a sticky magic sword, to pass through. Matty would appear periodically to beg more money to invest in trying to win the fastest Mario Kart lap on the Wii stall.

We're not sure yet how much was raised for the school at this years fair, but if the efforts of my family are anything to go by, it should be a lot.

Until next time.