Today is World Gin Day. A celebration of that hot, on trend drink, which has changed over the years from being a cheap “Mothers ruin“, to an in demand industry. Every day seems to bring another gin flavour, we have had everything from Truffle Gin, to elderberry.
Add in the great range of mixers and gin has something to suit any palate.
The idea of world gin day is to give everyone a chance to enjoy their favourite tipple, not that an excuse is needed. Dating from the 13th century its certain proved it’s long lasting appeal.
Massive Selection Of Flavours
Gin is building up a fabulous selection of flavours, just the basic range on our bars include;
•Rhubarb & Ginger
•South African Truffles
•Sweet Violet Gin
•Passion Fruit Gin
Some of the city centre bars have more offerings than you can count.
So however you like it, raise a glass and enjoy. If you need a set up for a wedding, party or corporate event, we can provide a fully staffed and stocked bar with your choice of flavours.
Hire our bar for an event this month and we will throw in a couple of bottles of Presecco for you.
5th June, national doughnut day in the States, where else. I think they have a national day for every food ever invented.
The humble doughnut, available around the world in various guises, the traditional ring doughnut that we all know and love. Delicious hot with just sugar on, or with a range of glazes, chocolate and other toppings.
Our Latin friends have their own version known as a churros. A similar taste, but formed as long fingers rather than circles. They can also be made with a hollow inside for cream to be injected. Traditionally served in Spain with a hot chocolate.
our Dutch friends have their traditional Oliebol , this is like a ball of dough, with a filling then injected inside. When we were stopping with some Dutch friends on a fairground in Groningen, I watched them being made, they used a mashed potato type scoop to make a ball shaped doughnut.
Whichever way you like them, they are still super popular, and are definitely one of our most popular lines, so happy national doughnut day.
Whichever doughnut version floats your boat, we can supply a fully manned service with hot fresh doughnuts and a range of toppings to serve your guests.
Tales Of Misadventures
Our catering company is called Candy Floss Crazy. Our first ever offering was candy floss. However in the very early days we didn’t actually own a candy floss machine. We used to borrow them from family members until we could afford our own.
On one occasion, when we were contracted to give floss out at the opening of a brand new casino, we borrowed a machine from my wife’s uncle.
On the night of the event, we were situated next to what turned out to be the high rollers table. The Chinese guests were throwing chips down on the roulette numbers like they were going out of fashion. I counted up one spin that come to about £20,000. And they were all like that.
When You Deal With Cowboys
Anyway, about 30 minutes before the end of my hire I hit a snag. The family we had borrowed the machine from, were a bit of a cowboy outfit. At some point they had changed the electrical cable inside the head of the candy floss machine. Now, this part of the machine heats up to 186C so needs special heatproof cabling. Not so on this machine, they had used cheap two core flex from B&Q. The result was when it eventually touched the heating element, it burnt through and caused an electrical short.
This resulted in the electric tripping off. Shit, that also put the roulette table out of action. Things then got worse. Because it was a brand new casino, no one knew where the trip switches were located. SO, call the maintenance guy right. Well no, it was a Sunday evening and he wasn’t working. So they couldn’t get hold of him.
The upshot was it took them about 25 minutes to restore the power, all I could do was keep clocking up mentally how much they were going to charge me for lost earnings. Once the power was on, the manager shouted across to me your good to go you can start making it again. Gulp, “Oh, it takes 10 minutes to warm my machine up and I finish in 5”, I lied. Luckily he bought it and I packed up and came home without a bill for the £250,000 I had racked up.
Nowadays we only buy new machines, and have them professionally serviced regularly. So if you want to hire a candy floss cart then get in touch.
I used to read how suicide was a major killer of men. That’s something you don’t really take notice of until it happens to your friends. Since hitting 45 I have lost a number of friends. Some to illness, an accident or two and one acquaintance with a drugs overdose.
Recently an old friend from my childhood took his own life. Now, usually the death of a friend brings a feeling of profound sadness. In this case it was a mixture of sad, and anger. Some days the anger drowning out the sadness.
Growing up on the fairground, there was a real tight gang of us. Hitting our mid twenties, most of us found love and some of us moved away from the North East, losing touch in the process. JJ and I had been friends up until we both moved. We didn’t see each other for probably 20 years, then we met up at a mutual friends funeral. We ended up sat talking that long, that both of our spouses rang to see if we were ok, as they had expected us back hours before.
Catching up on things we made a commitment to get together again. He was particularly impressed that I had acquired my pilots licence and we agreed to take a flight together. In the run up to Christmas we had been texting each other to try and arrange a night out, but our respective diary’s stopped this. On our last text we agreed to pick it back up after Christmas
That was the last contact I had with him. A few days into the new year, my dad rang to tell me that JJ had killed himself.
There aren’t many funerals I cry at, its just not in my nature, but I did at that one. All the old gang were there, except Cliff, who is in prison. I was struck by how everyone had turned into a hugger. That wasn’t the macho gang I remember from my youth. But is that part of the problem. Men are expected to be macho, not to cry, to be inscrutable with their feelings.
It Can Be Frightening
Deciding to talk about this with my circle of friends, what I discovered was frightening. Probably 90% of them were on antidepressants. A couple admitted that they had seriously taken steps towards ending their lives. One described how he had sat there with a gun to his head trying to pluck the courage up to pull the trigger. Something snapped him out of it thankfully, and he threw the gun down, only to have it go off and narrowly miss shooting himself in the head! I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry with him.
If you read the government statistics then it shows that the so called Generation X, basically my age group are most at risk of dying from either suicide or drugs overdose.
So whats this got to do with the headline. Well, one of the funfairs we used to operate at when I was a kid, was in a little market town on the Yorkshire Dales called Leyburn. One day me, JJ and Cliff, the one in prison now, had gone fishing. Three of us sat there with one rod, when JJ suddenly jumped up and ran away.
As I sat staring at his back, Cliff suddenly jumped up and ran the other way. Still puzzled I set off after him, catching him quite quickly due to my longer legs I asked between gasps what was up. “They are coming to kill us he screamed”. ???? Looking over my shoulder I suddenly notices a herd of young bullocks stampeding towards us. Now I don’t know if they intended harm, or they had just set off at a gallop because we were running. And to be honest I didn’t care at that point. We reached a tree, which thankfully was climbable and both shimmied up as far as we could get.
The herd of bloody cows, formed a circle around the tree, then all promptly laid down looking up at us. WTF. Eventually they slowly dispersed, probably bored waiting for their meals to come down. In the event we were up their almost 8 sodding hours.
And what of JJ, the one who got away. He went home watched some morning TV, had his lunch, played with some of the other kids, then near teatime decided to tell what had happened. We ran into the rescue party as we finally managed to come down out of the tree and were making our way home.
In the picture above is a blue Rover SD1, pictured at a fair we used to attend. My dad bought that when I was about 18. I remember it coming and thinking wow, its the same car as the police used. It sure did look modern and impressive for its time, and I think it was a European car of the year.
Now, truth be told, the impressive police version used Rovers venerable V8 power plant. Ours was the paltry 2 litre version. Which to be charitable was a bit asthmatic on the power front.
Once we started using the car I found it a mixed bag. The space and comfort was far superior to anything I had driven before. But its short comings soon became apparent. One advantage of the smaller engine version was that when you put your foot down less bits fell off inside. You would turn a corner and bits of interior trim would whizz pass your head. The fit and finish looked like Stevie Wonder had done the final quality control.
When Your Best Friends With The AA Man
During our Rover experience we were members of the AA. Which was quite fortunate seeing as quite often the car returned on the back of an AA transporter. I think in the end the AA wrote to us and told us that we were overusing their service and they were going to have to rethink our membership.
In the 3 years we owned it, it had 2 replacement engines. The second engine then had to have a total rebuild.
Other items failed at random intervals, the gearbox, differential, electrical components. In fact midway through our final year of ownership a fuse had blown for one of the electrical windows. When we looked to replace the blown fuse, we noticed that 2 were blown, so we changed them both. Suddenly after 2 and a half years we discovered we had central locking.
Fuel Pumps And A Work Out
One of the items that seemed to fail regularly was the fuel pump. This was a small cylindrical pump about the size of a bobbin of cotton. It lived in the actual fuel tank and would fail with depressing regularity. At the time it was about £200, which 30 years ago was a not inconsiderable sum.
My dad eventually got sick of paying for this and bought an electronic aftermarket pump that bolted on the side of the engine. At only £100 this was a nice saving.
I was out one day in the car towing a small tourer following dad, when the car once again chucked it. Because this was such a common state of affairs, It no longer caused a panic, and we carried a comprehensive tool kit in the boot.
Whilst investigating which of BL’s finest components had stranded me this day, an absolutely stunning woman pulled up behind me in a brand spanking new Jaguar sports car. Dressed to the nines she was walking down the side of my trailer when she asked, “Do you need a lift, you can jump in with me.”
As she actually reached me she suddenly realised that I was not only wearing an absolutely scruffy boiler-suit, but both my hands and face were scruffy. Some will say this was a rare occurrence for me to have engaged in manual labour, but we had just finished derigging at an event before hitting the road. As she took stock of me I could see her heart sink as she suddenly thought about her new leather seats. I smiled sweetly and thanked her but told her I could repair it. She made a feeble attempt to argue then beat a hasty retreat.
And you know what, I could fix it, my first business was building electronic control systems, so I had a good working knowledge of how electronic units worked.
What I managed to work out was how the pump worked. Basically when the ignition was turned on and power applied to the pump, the electric solenoid pumped once. As it pumped it broke a light beam on an optical switch. This immediately cut the power and the solenoid dropped, whereupon the light beam connected and supplied power for another pump cycle.
Unfortunately said opto switch was defunct, deceased, as dead as a parrot. But being a bit clever with electrics, I disconnected the positive feed. Tapped a wire on, and ran it through the door into the car. By tapping it on the cigarette lighter I could pump enough fuel to start the engine.
Trouble was whenever I came to an hill, the engine would splutter and I would have to tap faster. By the time I caught up with my dad, my left arm felt like it belonged to someone else.
I think I flagged my dad down and got my sister out of the cab of the lorry. She was promptly given fuel pumping duty.
But Boy Sometimes You Want To Slap Them
The majority of our enquiries come through our various website’s. We are happy for potential clients to ring us, but email is easier, as when they put all the details down we can work out a price and get a quote to them quickly and efficiently.
But sometimes you get some clients contact you, and you end up thinking “I just don’t need their money this badly”.
A couple stick in mind. The first an enquiry from a lady who wanted to potentially hire a Flying Frogs Ride. The initial enquiry was as follows on our website;
Name Jane Doe (not really but we are keeping her details anonomous)
Telephone No 01234 567890
Date Of Event 1st June 2012
Requirements I would like to hire a jumping frogs ride.
Venue My House
Now, most of the details are here. But, to give an accurate price, I need to work out where our equipment is going to. The venue of my house narrows it down to approximately 25 million possibilities. However she could be in Europe or anywhere.
I emailed back to tell her I needed her to be more specific about where the event was taking place. Her answer;
In a field at the bottom of the drive outside my house.
That is I suppose more specific, but of no real help. So I politely emailed back to her, informing her that as I didn’t know her personally I had no idea where her house was, and could she enlighten me.
Next Door To My Mams!
At that point I gave up.
The second was a guy who rang to hire a burger van. Now, because of the amount of people who wanted to hire an empty catering unit for their own use, we actually used to have it state on our contact page that we don’t hire empty units out for anyone else to use.
The phone conversation went like this.
Caller “Hello, I know you don’t hire empty burger vans out for other people to use, but could you give me a price on an empty burger van?”
Me “Sprichst du Deutsch?”
Caller “You what”
Me ” Et le Francais?”
Caller “I dont understand”
Me “misschien ben je nederlands?”
Caller “Listen mate why are you speaking foreign languages to me?”
Me “Because I am trying to figure out what language you speak”
Caller “Well I speak English don’t I”
Me “Do you, so what part of we don’t hire empty burger vans out for people to use are you struggling with?”
Caller “Well I just thought you might hire one out to me!”
Me “Oh I do apologise, I didn’t realise you were the Duke of Kent”
Caller “Eh, I’m not am I”
Me “Well in that case we can’t help you.”
Now when they ring up for something similar I find it easier to give them a hire price, then inform them that there is a £35,000 cash deposit required to cover damage. That usually shuts the combination down pretty quickly.
Enjoy our candy floss infographic, with some facts and figures about everyone’s favourite treat.
If you are looking to hire a candy floss cart let us know.
Sat here locked down, like everyone else, I am looking through the window at a beautiful day. This is turning into one of the nicest years weather wise we have ever seen and the full funfair industry is non existant.
I know some that are struggling with the lockdown, it’s not just financial, but the mental strains are starting to tell, after a friend took his own life at the start of the year, a lot of friends actually started talking more about mental health. What became clear was just how fragile some people are, with an awful lot of friends I know personally on anti-depressants to control their moods. The strain of the lock down is starting to open some cracks up and its worrying.
6 Years Of War
With it being VE day I have sat and thought about what they suffered. Almost 6 years of being at war. Nutcase German pilots visiting nightly with the express intention of dropping a bomb on your head. Loved ones serving in the forces, away from home sometimes for years at a time, and you had no idea from one minute to the next whether they were safe, or some crazed little Japanese man was trying to stick a sword up their harris.
Don’t forget, we didn’t have email, Whatsapp, Facebook or mobile phones then. A husband or father could have been killed, and it might well have been weeks, if not months before you found out. I should imagine every knock on the door, or visit from the postman became a psychological ordeal.
Funfair In The War Years
To a large extent the funfair started the war as it is now, closed. Eventually the government came up with the idea of holidays at home to boost morale, and allowed some limited operations. Some enterprising operators managed to set up inside buildings and operated throughout the period.
In many ways it was actually easier for them than dealing with the virus. With radar and air raid sirens you did have a bit of warning that Franz and his Heinkel were coming to get you. The virus doesn’t afford us the same courtesy.
This should have been one of the busiest days in our calendar, not just the traditional funfairs, but the corporate hire market was well booked up to boot. Obviously nothing will actually go ahead, and for a change we will all be sat doing very little on a bank holiday.
I saw an interview on morning television the other day where the gentleman being interviewed had a clear acrylic ‘Tommy’ sat on his desk. He was asking people to put them in the window for VE day, the funds raised from making them directly supports ex armed forces. Unfortunately it was too late to order one for today, but we have placed an order and will put it in the office window in tribute. As bad as this virus is, I don’t think it can compare to charging into machine gun fire on the beaches of Normandy, or trying to hold Japanese Banzai charges back in Kohima.
They were a tough breed then, woman keeping the family together, little more than kids taking to the skies in Spitfires and Hurricanes to face overwhelming odds in the sky. Sailors on Arctic convoys, braving the twin terrors of wolf packs and weather.
I think in the news recently, Captain Tom, sorry, as he has now become Colonel Tom, exemplifies just what Hitler was facing, poor simple silly sod to think that he had a chance against men like that.
A debt of gratitude is owed to all who served 75 years ago. As the NHS front-line are our hero’s today, they are our hero’s of then.
For the Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
For many people, high fashion is something they aspire to. Whether its a Louis Vuitton handbag, or a Chanel little black jacket. For many of us they are luxuries that will remain out of reach due to their costs. I mean, Chanel make some lovely jackets, but at like £5000 to £10000 a pop, there something most of us can live without.
However, if you are one of the unfortunate ones who catch Covid-19, you may well find yourself in designer wear without realising it.
The French fashion house, famed for its monogrammed handbags, has announced that it is switching the factories producing its perfume over to hand sanitiser production. Obviously with all the stores in lock-down its sales will have fallen through the floor, and it won’t need its regular supply of fragrances. So rather than leave the factory mothballed its actually using if for something useful. So next time you are sanitising your hands, you may well be doing it with Louis Vuitton’s product, and all for a lot less than a bottle of Eue de parfum!
One of those essentially British fashion brands Burberry did lose its way a little when it became the go to item for the chavs, but of late has experienced a resurgence and moved upmarket.
They have just announced that their Castleford West Yorkshire factory is being retooled to make surgical gowns for the NHS. Would be nice if they were in Burberry’s classic check pattern, but however they look its still a great example of companies coming together in a national crisis.
So just think when your laid there feeling glum, you might well be the height of fashion.
Prada, Gucci, YSL, Balenciaga
These between them are looking at making millions of facemasks for various European countries. I wonder if the price of second hand facemasks will rise if they are marked with Gucci’s famous double G logo, or the YSL script.
This probably isn’t what Gucci meant when they said they would be making face masks, in fact this looks more like something Christian Grey would have you wear.
Now that’s more like it, expect these to appear on Ebay for a vast sum once the virus pandemic subsides.
A number of others have also jumped into the fray. LVMH the conglomarate which own amongst others Fendi, Dior and Louis Vuitton have announced they will be producing some 43 million face masks for the French Health Service.
I think this LV branded face mask is a copy someone has knocked up. But I have to say I quite like it. I can see there being a market for them. Especially in countries like China where they quite often wear masks anyway.
The well known outerwear fashion brand Canada Goose has announced that it is going to make scrubs and gowns. These will be distributed to local hospitals free of charge. Again a nice gesture when the health services are going to start straining under the demand.
Hopefully they will go easy on their signature fur trim, else there will be a lot of sweaty patients.
Like many business’s at the minute, the funfair industry has pretty much ceased to exist. With events cancelled up until the middle of the summer and beyond. Indeed some Christmas events are now being cancelled, we are not sure when we will be allowed to operate again.
The common opinion is that it will be next year before events start to come out of the lockdown. We can’t see all the sacrifices made during the lockdown period being swept aside by letting major festivals go ahead. And rightly so. The important thing at the minute is saving lives, hard as it sounds, business will need to take a back seat.
Showmen are an enterprising breed, many have rapidly started small food delivery business’s to keep some income rolling in. There must be a massive market in home delivered fruit and veg. If the amount of showmen who have turned greengrocer is any indication.
Saying Thank You
The showmen however, in the midst of seeing their livelihoods disappear, and with no real idea when they will be allowed to work again, have found time to say thank you to our heroic front line NHS staff and key workers.
We have all stood and clapped to let them know how we feel, but around the country, groups of showmen have raised funds to show their appreciation in a practical way.
Many hospitals put calls out for toiletries and such like. As patients were ending up on Corvid wards, with no supplies. Because of the current visiting rules, their families couldn’t come to see them and bring what they needed.
In short order groups of showmen have raised not inconsiderable sums to purchase toiletries, bottled water, things like pot noodles and other snacks to help alleviate the hospitals shortage.
In my native North East, the funfair trade body made a donation to start the ball rolling. A number of showmen also took it upon themselves to raise funds.
One member donated a vehicle to be used for delivering the items. whilst another who runs a small sign making business, lettered the vehicle up free of charge.
They made delivery runs to a number of Northern hospitals, and other showmen added to this and covered smaller centres such as care homes.
I have touched upon the Northern Section of the industry, purely because I come from the area. But the same thing has taken place in most parts of the UK. North East local press reported on the story.
It just goes to show, “There is no business like show business”