Fun Story, Photo Booths

The Duke, Our Wild West Photo Booth

8 April 2020

We have a number of specialised photo booths, London taxi cabs, a classic Mini Cooper, Indian Tuk Tuk. Well now we have a wild west photo booth

When looking for new lines we hit upon the idea of a Wild West photo booth. We looked at various saloon bars, a teepee, but decided that the most classic wild west ‘vehicle’ had to be the Concord stagecoach. Just like John Wayne in the classic film.

Luckily, we have a member of staff that happens to be a whizz, with wood. So, after some research, and finding some stagecoach plans (albeit for a model coach), we managed to create a workable blueprint.

The Build

When we started, in fairness, we didn’t actually realise the amount of work we were letting ourselves in for. But the initial body shaping looked spot on, and kept us reassured we were on the right track.

Initial frame build on our wild west photo booth
Initial Frame Build
Wild west photo booth outer panelling
Outer Panelling
Basic wild west stagecoach body
Starting To Take Shape

The initial body shape came together well, because the body curves in 2 planes, it was difficult to shape, but after some intensive work, we got it together into the basic body.

Detail on our doors and windows
Adding The Detail to the Doors and windows.
Our stagecoach body after staining.
Coat Of Stain, And Trying The Wheels For Size
Drivers seat and footboard added
Adding The Drivers Seat And Footboard

This about finished the body, other than the interior. We didi think that was the bulk of the work done, until we actually started assembling the chassis.

Fitting the chassis joints
Fitting The Chassis Joints
Getting there with the chassis
Getting There
Assembling The Front Axle
Assembling The Front Axle
Adding some of the metalwork to the chassis
Assembled, Now Adding Some Of The Metalwork

The Chassis was actually quite complicated, as we tried to follow the real things metalwork, with a working handbrake, and the correct slings and fittings.

Almost The Finished Item. Body Mounted, Much Of The Steel Work Fitted. A Wild West Photo Booth.
Almost The Finished Item. Body Mounted, Much Of The Steel Work Fitted.
Adding The Artwork To Finish It Off
Adding The Artwork To Finish It Off
Our High Plains Buffalo
Our High Plains Buffalo

All in all it was a long complicated build, but it has given us a totally unique photo booth, perfect for those wild west events.

Fun Story

Coronavirus Diary 4th April

4 April 2020

Well, a week after my release from hospital I am walking a 4-5 mile course every day. The 2 stone I lost inside wouldn’t have been too bad if a lot of it hadn’t come off my arms and legs. So to build them back up I dusted off my kettlebell weight. The only one I have at home is 16kg so its good for a decent workout, and I am feeling pretty good so no problem. Ha, I only managed to get half way before I felt absolutely knackered. And my arms and legs feel like they belong to someone else this morning.

A lot of the fairground industry is starting to go into panic mode. Initially they thought this was going to be a two or three month break, but now I think we are all realising that we may end up writing this season off. The government has just cancelled the major climate change conference in November, so they aren’t too confident that things will be back to normal by then.

They say necessity is the mother of invention. An awful lot of the showmen I know seem to have turned into fruit and veg salesman, with a multitude of home delivery options on offer. Good luck to them.

Poor Premiership Stars

I see the players football association is suggesting the premier league stars take a 30% pay cut. The poor darlings, the average wage is £3 million a year, how an earth will they manage on only £2 million per annum. Perhaps we should start a gofund me page to help them out.

The major clubs have furloughed their support staff, because obviously all of them together will add up to perhaps the left backs salary so its a big saving. The next step will be them asking for a government handout to enable them to keep paying their stars mega salaries.

When I was a kid my dentist was actually an ex professional footballer. He had played for Newcastle United, and was wanted by Manchester United. He instead chose to go to Darlington. When I asked why you would choose them over Man U, his reply was, “At the time I could earn more as a dentist, than I could as a football player, Darlington offered to let me continue my dentistry as well as playing football. Man U insisted I stopped being a dentist, and with a family to look after I couldn’t afford to do that.”

How things have changed.

Its A Conspiracy

I tend to use Facebook for my business pages, its another business tool. With the lockdown I have to admit I am using it more from a personal perspective. One of the things which really tickle me is the prevalence of conspiracy theories. It turns out there isn’t actually a virus after all, its 5G transmitters that are causing people to have viral symptoms. Its the fault of the Illuminati and the Masons who are ushering in the new world order.

People are calling on their comrades to get ready for the fightback. Well, any organisation that can successfully have every health care professionals, not only in the UK, but the rest of the planet, all toe the line and lie that its a virus, well, do you really think power like that can be challenged?

Personally I know its not 5G, its pod people from Mars. That’s why Boris isn’t appearing on TV, his symptoms was the first stage of his body being taken over by a pod person. When he appears again he will be fully assimilated. Bit like the Borg really.

Though my wife has a novel theory. She claims that I am the cause of the coronavirus pandemic. Allegedly I am trying to keep my daughters boyfriend away.

Man wearing a tin foil hat
My Tin Foil Hat Will Save Me From The Aliens

American Pirates

I see in the news that America has been accused or piracy. It seem Trump has invoked a Korean war era directive to prevent companies like 3M exporting face masks to the rest of the world. Their entire production is now being ring-fenced for the States. Whilst I can understand the outrage of other countries that were expecting deliveries from them. Can you really condemn Trump for looking after his own people first. Imagine the scenario of Europe recovering with the aid of millions of 3M masks. Whilst Americans die due to a lack of them. In all honesty I would hope our government would make the same call in that situation.

Fun Story

Coronavirus Diary 30th March

30 March 2020

This isn’t going to be a diary par se. Its more of an occasional ramble of what we are doing and thoughts about the way things are going. To be honest its more to give us something extra to do rather than being a serious social commentary.

Like everyone else we are in lockdown. Luckily our house is built on the side of our business premises, so we have a fairly secure 3 acre site to wander, rather than being stuck in a small gardenless house.

My significant other is starting to repaint all of our external fences. Tbh they don’t really need doing yet as she did them about 18 months ago, but she’s happy that it gives her a couple of weeks work to pass them time on.

My daughter, who hasn’t been speaking to me for a couple of weeks due to my refusal to let her make a trip to Birmingham, has come round a bit. We have decided to spend some of our time learning a language. After a bit of debate we have settled on sign language. We don’t interact with the hearing impaired all that often, but it would be nice to be able to show we have made the effort on the occasions we do.

Learning Something New

When we built the wild west stagecoach photo booth, we added quite a number of props to it. One of which was a ukulele (and indeed a banjo, because we were going to recreate the scene from deliverance). This has sat on the top shelf in the office for quite a while now. So I decided I am going to learn how to play it. Lol, by the end of the lockdown, I will either be a musician, or I will have a ukulele shaped dent in the back of my head.

Banjo Scene From Deliverance
Learning To Play

We usually refurb our carts and equipment a couple of times a year. This enforced downtime will let us go through them all ready for when the events industry re emerges. It will also give us time to look at possible new ideas and lines to add for the forthcoming season.

I have just had a months stay in hospital where I ended up losing 2 stone. In truth I needed to lose a bit of weight, but that is probably half a stone too much. As soon as the remnants from my surgery heal up enough I intend to have a fairly heavy exercise regime, it would be nice to tone up and keep my weight down. We have a few basic items such as kettlebells so should be able to cobble together some basic exercise sets.

Arnold when he was a body builder

Woah boy overdoing the exercises a bit there.

Truth be told mentally I am not feeling the lockdown too much. When ever we were not at events, I always had plenty of promotional work to be doing on the computer, so I am just doing what I would normally do. It will let me get our blog and seo work well in front, and take the pressure off me once things get moving again.

The World At Large

In the wider world, I still can’t believe just how many people are totally ignoring instructions to stay in. The police broke up a party in Derby yesterday, where they had a disco and buffet, the full works. Are people really that stupid, or are they just plain ignorant.

I got into a debate with a guy I fly with, a liberal democrat activist who claims the government haven’t been clear enough about having to stop in. WTF, every time you turn the telly on it is telling you to stay in. Every other post on Facebook is tellling you the same, what more do people need, Zeppelins roaming the sky with the message painted on the side? What it really needs is the North Korean method. It was reported there that a guy refusing to isolate was shot. I bet that wouldn’t need too much promotion from the government before it was adhered to.

A Zeppelin Airship
Perhaps These Should Be Repainted With The Message STAY IN!

So in summery everyone;

Stay SAFE

Stay IN

Fun Story, General

Free Colouring Pages, Something For The Kids During The Lock Down

25 March 2020

Pretty much the entire world seems to be in lock-down at the minute. The scary thing being no one really knows how long it will last for and whether it will actually work.

Its trying enough for the adults to keep their sanity during this unprecedented crisis, but it must be even worse for those who need to try and entertain young kids. At the best of times they take some handling, without needing to do it 24/7 every day of the week.

Here are a few funfair themed colouring pages to download. They might just pass an hour or two on.

There are plenty more examples for free download on the internet, just google fun fair colouring pages.

Fun Story

Sometimes The Simple Ideas Are The Best

23 March 2020

I have just come out of a 3 week stay in hospital, to find scenes of carnage in the supermarkets. Toilet rolls (lord knows why), hand sanitiser, food all stripped from the supermarket shelves by hordes of the criminally stupid panic buying.

There are tales of the elderly and infirm distraught because they can’t buy anything. NHS and other key workers are similarly finishing shifts to find they also cannot buy any shopping. Civilisation is starting to fray around the edges.

Genius

There has been much talk of what the retailers should have been doing, limiting sales to so many per person, exclusive hours for the elderly etc.

One supermarket in Denmark has hit upon an idea so simple, yet so bloody effective.

Basically if you want to buy a bottle of hand sanitiser, it works out at around £5. If you want to buy more than 1 bottle, you can do, but the price then becomes £125 PER BOTTLE.

Brilliant, there is no argument at the till about limits or suchlike, you can buy as much as you want, as long as you are willing to pay for it.

Price list for hand sanitiser
What A Brilliant Idea
Fun Story

Apocalypse Now, 21 Days Later

19 March 2020

As I lay here in my hospital bed, connected up to drips and feeling the warm glow from my last shot of morphine, I can’t help feeling the sense of dread that is leaching through the walls.

Wait, I hear you cry, whats with the hospital bed? Well I would like to say things went like this. 3 weeks ago I was flying a Cessna (one of my hobbies to relax after a hard week), when my appendix unexpectedly burst. I heroically ignored the pain and managed to land safely, before being whisked away for emergency surgery.

Well, that’s what I would like to say, but the truth is a little more mundane. I was actually flying, and my appendix did actually burst. However the initial symptoms were mild indigestion, and I landed the plane without even noticing.

4 days later I was in severe pain and ended up at A & E. After a CT scan and some blood tests, they admitted me for emergency surgery. At this point I was still quite laid back. I knew the appendix was a useless organ so wasn’t too worried about losing it. It was only when a nurse commented on how well I looked for ‘someone seriously ill’, that I started to worry. A quick Google revealed that said useless appendix, could become a fatal appendix once burst.

Surgery

Surgery went well, although the surgeon commented it had been one of the worst cases she had dealt with. Unfortunately I then developed a massive after infection, and have been in here 3 bloody weeks. I am beginning to think it is easier to get out of prison, than hospital.

Anyway back to my first musings, when I came in, there were a handfull of Covid 19 cases in the UK, and a couple of deaths. 3 weeks later, reading the news reports and social media we appear to be on the verge of apocalypse. The expected deaths are being reported at anything from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands. Sport, outdoor events, pubs etc are being advised to close. People are fighting in the shops for supplies. Its like one of those movies where the hero becomes unconscious for a couple of weeks and when he wakes up society has collapsed!

Post Apocalypse Fashion
Post Apocalypse Fashion

What I am worried about, is do we have to start dressing like they did in Mad Max above. If so how soon, can we like wear our normal cloths until they wear out. Or will we have to immediately wear the new styles.

Absurd? It is rather, but then again, is it anymore absurd than grown adults fighting over toilet roll. Some of the stocks people have they are going to need to crap hundreds of times a day to get anywhere near using it. Once this crisis is over, the poor toilet roll makers are going to be twiddling their thumbs for months whilst people use up the stocks they have.

Looking at some of the scenes we appear to have turned into a nation of Corporal Jones’s You know the character from Dads Army, who screams ‘Don’t panic, don’t panic’ whilst running around like a headless chicken in a blind panic. In some ways I think a zombie apocalypse might have been better. The supermarket shelves always seem full in a zombie apocalypse.

Catering, Fun Story

Irn Bru and Its New Candy Floss Flavour

16 March 2020

We are always on the lookout for new flavours to add to our candy floss carts. But it seems that everyone else is looking for a way to make their product taste like candy floss, including Irn Bru.

Supermarkets started it with candy floss flavour grapes. Thorntons added candy floss flavoured truffle chocolates. Ann Summers even does a candy floss flavoured lube!

Irn Bru

Well now that famous Scottish drink, the one ‘Made from girders’, had been launched in a set of four limited edition flavours, including candy floss.

The public are being asked to vote for which of the flavours should hit the shelves. With the top 2 making it into production.

Some members of the public however are raising a stink about the new flavours. They insist that Irn Bru should go back to its original formula. When they removed the sugar it didn’t really do the taste any favours.

If you want to hire a candy floss cart, sadly without the Irn Bru, let us know.

Catering, Fun Story

The Fluffy Cotton Candyfloss Tree – Katsu

12 March 2020

If you’ve ever been to the fairground then you’ll know just how strong the sweet smell of fluffy cotton candyfloss is and just how it looms and lingers in the air around! If you enter the fairground at one end it wouldn’t take you long to follow your nose and locate just where the fluffy cotton candyfloss is being made and served.

Many companies and brands have tried to bottle the smell and create fluffy cotton candyfloss candles, or lipsticks or hair products that are meant to fill your life with your own sweet smelling candyfloss but somehow it just doesn’t quite do the original product any justice. There’s even fluffy cotton candyfloss Grapes that are meant to slightly mirror the taste of a stick of fluffy cotton candyfloss.

Edinburgh Royal Botanical Garden

Edinburgh home to the Royal Botanical Garden has lately been overcome by a new delightful fragrance. The sweet smelling fragrance of fluffy cotton candy has filled the 70 acre grounds…no a fairground hasn’t set to work here, nor have they lit scented candles around the area but in fact the smell comes from a live plant growing within the grounds. The Katsura or to an expert green finger gardener the technical name of Cercidiphyllum. The tree originates from japan and Chinese regions and is known for releasing a scent of burning sugar.

We have had some fantastic weather recently. As a result the tree emits a stronger than usual dose of the fragrance. With a lack of wind the smell has been congregating in the area. The smell of the fluffy cotton candy comes from the leaves of the tree. They emit a chemical compound called Maltol. As soon as you walk into the gardens you can smell the fragrance. The visitors to the garden looking around to find where the smell is coming from.

A fluffy Cotton Candy Tree in Germany

The Germans call the distinctive tree ‘Kuchenbaum’, which translates to ‘cake tree’.

Looking to hire a candy floss cart then we can help.

Fun Story, General

Coronavirus, Problems Brings Opportunity.

8 March 2020

Coronavirus, another Chinese import. They say that every cloud has a silver lining. Well, its hard at the minute to see just where the Corvid-19 virus is going to present any advantages. There is talk of cancelling outdoor events throughout the country. This will devastate not only the funfair industry but also large parts of the outdoor events industry.

The virus itself is undoubtedly liable to kill large numbers of people. The NHS and other public services are predicted to be overwhelmed. The economy is going to talk a major hit.

Now we have the great British prats, opps, sorry, public panic buying things like toilet roll. WTF, as far as any of the reports suggest, the virus doesn’t give you diarrhea. So why the hell is everyone buying massive amounts of toilet paper?

Opportunities

Nevertheless, in the spirit of free enterprise, there are people taking advantage of the opportunities offered.

On the fairground, and seaside amusement arcades, the crane or ‘grabber machines’ have long been favourites. Basically, you have control of a 3 pronged grabber that you maneuver around the machine full of soft toys, then when you think its lined up you press the button. The grabber drops, grabs at the toys and hopefully manages to snag one for you. If you are lucky it carries the toy to the exit slot and drops it out to you.

In reality it tends to grab the toy and then drop it, the reason being the electromagnet controlling the grabber is set to be too weak to hold the weight of the toy. After the machine has taken a certain amount of money, it turns the magnet on full power and you will have a winner.

Toilet Rolls

With the panic buying of bog rolls, a number of enterprising operators have removed the soft toys from the machines and fill them with, yes, toilet rolls.

Event Planning, funfair events, General

Are Fairgrounds Safe?

20 February 2020

I think its perfectly reasonable for anyone to ask ‘Are Fairgrounds Safe’. Modern rides are higher, faster and far more thrilling than the staid ferris wheel and dodgems of yesteryear. But does this make them unsafe?

Add to this a far more comprehensive annual testing regime, and stricter health and safety enforcement and you have a vast improvement in place.

Modern rides not only have the benefit of far better material quality, they also have computerised safety systems to monitor everything, and we have a far better understanding of things like metal fatigue etc.

Highspeed funfair ride.
Higher And Faster

The Human Factor

There is one final piece of the puzzle though that is much harder to crack. That is the human factor. The vast majority of operators are perfectly professional, with H&S at the front of their minds everytime they operate. Sadly, like any other industry in the UK, if not the world, there are occasional cowboys.

Miss an inspection here, or disable a wind meter so you can keep going when its blowing a bit. 999 times out of a 1000 nothing happens. Its that rare combination of factors that coincide to create an accident that catches them out.

I fly light aircraft for fun. When I started I studied every accident report I could get my hands on, my theory being I would rather learn from someone else’s mistake than my own.

Experts who have made a career investigating accidents in aviation, state that on average there are seven steps that line up before an aircraft has an accident. The pilot may be an unsafe one, but has got away with it in the past because all seven steps haven’t happened together. Its a bit like swiss cheese, all the holes have to line up before things go wrong.

The other major human factor are the customers. No amount of warning signs, safety belts etc are enough to stop some people. They seem infected with the lemming gene, and are determined to remove themselves from the gene pool. Are fairgrounds safe, perhaps should read are people safe to be allowed on a fairground.

When It All Goes Wrong

Swinging Gyms
Swinging Gyms

A long time ago, when I was still a kid, I remember a fatal accident on a fairground we were at. The ride was what we refer to as swinging gyms. Basically they are a large cage that 4 people enter. By rocking the cage backwards and forwards, they build enough momentum up to go over the top as it were.

Now this particular day, a guy decided that he was going to assist his friends from the outside. He climbed the 6ft safety fence around the perimeter of the ride. And ran to push the cage. Sadly, he tripped and fell face down on the platform as the cage was in the air. As it descended it landed on him and crushed him. His family won’t feel that fairgrounds are safe. But was that the fairgrounds fault.

Is that a genuine accident. The ride had been tested and find to be perfectly safe within H&S guidelines. Indeed it was retested immediately after the accident and passed again. It was surrounded by a 6ft tall fence, not something you could just hop over, it took effort to get over it. There were plenty of warning signs about. Yet a young man still managed to put himself in that awful situation. So what more could have been done to stop him?

I regularly see parent with young children on a fairground, who get talking to their friends then allow their kids to wander about unsupervised. You wouldn’t do this in a factory with machinery, or on the edge of a busy road, so please don’t do it on a funfair. Similarly height restrictions on rides are there for a reason, the amount of arguments we have had with parents, because there child is a couple of inches shorter than the safety height and they want them to be allowed on is frightening. Why would you intentionally want to put your child at risk.

How Can You Check

From the point of view of finding out if a ride is safe. All professional rides currently fall under the ADIPS scheme. This is the Amusement Device Inspection Procedure Scheme. Basically it is like an annual MOT for a ride. It covers electrical and mechanical safety. It includes non destructive testing for cracks in the metalwork. Electrical safety checks, checks that barriers and safety devices are fit for purpose.

If you are hiring a ride, ask for the ADIPS paperwork. This should contain an image of the ride in the top right hand corner. Along with a registration number.

You can contact ADIPS via their website to check that a rides test number is valid, and if there are any previous safety related issues.

Similarly any respectable ride operator will have £10 million public liability insurance. If you ask them are fairgrounds safe, they should not take offence and be quite happy to tell you of the steps they take to ensure this.

Perhaps we should look at the Health and Safety Executives own opinion when asked are fairground safe. They have stated in the past that you are far more likely to be injured on the way to the fair, than you are once you get there.

If you want to hire dodgems or other rides safely, just contact us.