Over the years, Citroen, the French Automobile manufacturer has stood out for doing things its own way. It has designed and utilised a number of systems for its cars different to anyone else. WIth it’s DS model in 1955 it gave the world a quirky hydraulic suspension system, swivelling headlights, a single spoke steering wheel, all wrapped up in a quirky streamlined body. Withs its 2CV, it gave something else.
A Legend Is Born
Post war France, like many nations was struggling with austerity, rebuilding, the after effects of that cataclysmic conflict. At the time in the Gallic nation, most people were still using horses and carts. The roads in most of the country were rural and unpaved.
Citroën Vice-President Pierre Boulanger wanted to design a vehicle that would be suitable for the many French farmers. Legend has it that the car he came up with was designed to allow a farmer to cross a ploughed field with a basket full of eggs, without them breaking.
Whether that was true or just an apocryphal story is open to debate. Either way the car features an unusual suspension set up, with a single horizontally mounted spring connected to both front and back wheels via shock absorbers, also mounted horizontally.
The Tin Snail
The novel suspension system was wrapped up in a simple tin body, corrugated for strength, whilst keeping the weight down, the car had a full length canvas roof, and has received a number of less than flattering names. An Umbrella On Wheels, The Duck, Tin Snail. Powering this new Citroen, was an air cooled, two cylinder boxer engine. Initially around 375 with a stunning 9HP. This was increased first to 425cc with 12.5 HP and then to 602 and 32 horses.
To keep costs down it came with no locks on the doors, a single taillight and no heating or ventilation system. Subject to much derision by the motoring press at launch, Citroen was flooded with customer orders, indeed at one point a second hand 2CV was more expensive than a new one due to the waiting list.
The motoring press got it wrong. Citroen sold 3.8 million of these little quirky cars, and it kept selling for over 40 years.
The car gradually became more ‘luxurious’ over the years, receiving upgrades such as wing mirrors, and two headlights. There was even a 4×4 version called the Sahara. True to form whilst everyone else in the automobile universe added a transfer box to split power between the front and back wheels, Citroen added a second engine in the boot to drive the back wheels. The car could run on front or back engines, or both, with two keys and starter buttons in the cabin, but a single linked gearstick, and two petrol tanks, one under each front seat, with holes in the doors for the filler caps.
Now you might wonder why a blog about a catering company has an article on a primitive French car? It’s simple really, the French didn’t just make the 2CV as a car, they also made a van version called the Fourgonnette. This was rapidly adopted by everyone from the local florist, to the French Post Office.
It has also been adopted by us. Well, not technically a 2CV van, but rather an Acadiane van. Basically this is a 2CV running gear and engine, with a slightly modernised cabin added. So instead of the single round headlights, you get a more modern streamlined wing mounted light. It is also slightly more powerful, and is based on the Dyane car, itself basically a facelifted 2CV.
This, like the rest of our fleet of food trucks, will be designed for multi use. From an espresso coffee bar, to a frozen yoghurt dispensary. Over the coming weeks we will post some more details as it is fitted out ready for launch.
Citroen HY Van
Gone are the days when people were happy to book a ‘burger van’ for their event. Nowadays it isn’t enough for the food to be first class, the serving unit has to look good too. Everyone from the bride to the company director wants something ‘Instagrammable’ as social media continues it’s relentless takeover of the world, so food trucks seem to be the way to go.
To this end we have commissioned and have added, or are adding, a number of fun and quirky vehicles to our portfolio of food trucks.
The first of these is the venerable Citroen HY van. Only it isn’t. We looked carefully at where we operate, which is pretty much nationwide. The Citroen HY vans were last produced in `1981, making the youngest of them 41 years old. Not bad to nip to a local event or two, but a bit taxing for charging up and down the highways and byeways of this green and pleasant land. The size of them also means they are too heavy for our fleet of car transport trailers, so initially we were a bit stuck.
Then we happened upon a Spanish manufacturer, that was creating fabulous copies of the HY, but built upon a trailer chassis, and made from fibreglass and stainless steel, so pretty rot proof.
We ordered one in the middle of last summer, but with the six month waiting list, it turned up in the winter and then had a round a three month fit out period before we actually launched it.
Some images of the construction phase below. In truth more of a fit out phase, as the actual structure was provided pre made to us.
This one we engaged Fairtrade Fabrications to fit out for us. A protracted build period ended up, with a fabulous piece of kit. We are a bit limited in signage and theming as what we do is different everyday, so it makes it harder to add signs and such, though it looks like it will be appearing at a Christmas Fayre for a protracted period this winter, so that is liable to see a full branding effort.
Check out our other food trucks at CRAZY & Co. Food Trucks.
When you feel that urge to snack on something sweet, you know you’re in for a rough few hours. Sugar cravings can hit anytime, anywhere, and they can be intense. Instead of reaching for that bag of chips or cookies, try satisfying your sweet tooth with these helpful tips and helpful foods. Predominantly, when people say they have a sweet tooth, they mean that it is an intense and persistent craving for a sweet substance. Fortunately, you can healthily satisfy your sweet tooth, even by making small changes. Here are some helpful tips to help you do just that.
1. Eat a Piece of Chocolate
Foods are supposed to be enjoyed and part of an enjoyable meal. Chocolate is often enjoyed as a dessert and fruit or other healthy foods. If you do not enjoy sweet treats, you can always enjoy them in small amounts throughout the day rather than eating one big piece or bar of chocolate. You can also try eating dark chocolate, which contains more beneficial nutrients than milk chocolate and is known to help with weight loss and heart health. Ultra-chocolate brownies are also a healthier alternative to other sweet treats. Also, homemade brownies are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without the high sugar content of store-bought desserts and are often healthier.
2. Snack on Fresh Fruit
If you have a sweet tooth, you must eat a healthy diet. Your body is made up of important nutrients and minerals, but it’s also made up of sugar. Sugar is an important nutrient for your body, but too much sugar can cause many problems for the body, like weight gain and heart disease. Eating healthy foods like fruit can help satisfy your sweet tooth without causing these problems. Eating fresh fruit will provide you with some nutrients and minerals to keep yourself healthy. It would help if you tried to eat fruits at least twice a day because they are so good for your body and delicious.
3. Drink Water
All kinds of things can cause your sweet tooth to go away, but nothing works better when it comes to water. The first step is to get yourself a water bottle and drink it all day long. Drinking water will help you feel full, so you won’t feel that intense urge to eat sweets. In addition, it will keep your body hydrated, which is important if you’re trying to lose weight.
4. Freeze Your Grapes
If you have a sweet tooth and try to appease it, the best thing you can do is freeze some grapes. If you don’t like the taste of frozen grapes, try eating them after they’ve thawed or try them with a little bit of sugar. You can also try freezing strawberries and eat them as ice cream or add them to your smoothies. Also, if you have a sweet tooth, try eating some fresh fruit instead of sugary treats.
5. Brush Your Teeth
Brushing your teeth regularly is a great way to help keep your mouth healthy and clean. It also helps to remove plaque, a sticky substance that can cause dental problems. It is also a good idea to floss daily to prevent gum disease. In addition, flossing helps to remove the debris that can build up around your teeth, and it will help you keep them clean and healthy.
6. Sample Some Ice Cream
If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, try some ice cream. You can choose from various flavours and types of ice cream, so there is bound to be something that will suit your tastes. When you sample some ice cream, you will notice how good it is. You will also get to try some new flavors that you may not have tried before. If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth healthily, try sampling some ice cream.
7. Eat a Dried Date
Dried dates are an excellent choice for people with a sweet tooth because of their high fiber content. Eating dried dates will keep your blood sugar levels steady, which will prevent you from having cravings for sweets. Dried dates are a great choice if you like to snack on nuts since they have the same crunchy texture as nuts. These tiny fruits are packed with nutrients and contain a healthy amount of fiber, so many people choose them to satisfy their sweet tooth.
The above tips are great ways to satisfy your sweet tooth healthily. Although you may feel tempted to eat sweets, you can always choose to satisfy your sweet tooth healthily. It is good to know that you can make healthy choices for your sweet tooth and have some fun. Hopefully, the above tips will help you have a happy and healthy sweet tooth.
We are often asked what are the best funfair stalls for a wedding. There is a huge range of games available for weddings, parties and events. Having provided them for thousands of events over the years, we have a good idea of what does and doesn’t work. Unfortunately many clients have different ideas.
Working on the ‘customer is always right’ principle, maybe we should just say nothing and let them have what they want. However that usually leads to dissatisfaction, and that isn’t our measure of a good event.
So lets have a look at what you should have, and some of what you shouldn’t have at your big day.
Hook A Duck
This is one that crops up regularly, and is firmly in the don’t recommend camp. The game is simplicity itself, you are armed with a stick, at the end of which dangles a hook. A tank containing little rubber ducks floats about and all you have to do is hook one. Then you get a prize and everyone is happy.
The trouble is, on a traditional fairground, you pay to play, so people have a single go and the prize giving can be controlled. At a wedding or typical corporate event, the guests play for free. So unless you have paid extra for massive amounts of prizes, the kids will play continuously to the prizes are exhausted. Then the game is left unplayed for the rest of the day, skill games like coconut shie will still see use after the prizes are gone because the guests like to prove they can win.
It is possible to slow the prize giving by marking some ducks as winners and most as losers, but the kids are then disappointed as they expect to win.
The usual argument raised in favour is that it lets the little ones win, but we can operate any game in a manner to ‘help’ the kids win.
This is firmly in the recommended camp. Possibly one of the most classic of funfair games, the principle is easy peasy. Throw a wooden ball and knock a coconut off.
Now, I’ll let you into a secret. On a traditional fairground, some of the coconuts were replaced with ‘duds’. These were fake coconuts, made from a really heavy wood. Theoretically you could knock them off. But you would probably need to use an exocet missile.
We don’t need to do that, prizes are part of the hire price so losing them is already factored into the charges.
For the younger players we can move them closer to the targets, and for the really little ones we let them toa coconut rather than knock it off.
Test Your Strength
Another of the old tyme classics. Swing the hammer, hit the peg ring the bell to win. Again we can adjust the force required to make it easier for smaller guests. Or instead of ringing the bell we can set a number on the 1 to 10 scale for them to win.
It is a common misconception that its pure strength that wins, but in fact its an equal part of strength and accuracy. You need to hit the peg perfectly flatly. Sometimes its fin when a smaller lady is just the right height to hit the peg properly and win, leaving the big musclebound guys hitting it with all their might and walking away failures.
Cans Off The Shelf
This is one of our harder to play games. Knock the cans off the shelf using the three soft balls. Sounds simple, but the cans are heavy and they have to be completely off the shelf to win. This does require a fair bit of strength, along with accuracy. We help the smaller guests by reducing the can count, knocking some off for them, in fact we can guarantee a win when we need do.
This makes a great second game, being a bit harder it gets the competitive juices flowing, testosterone kicks in and the guys need to prove who can do it.
Another of those, dead easy to play, really hard to win. Well not so hard really, cos our rings are larger than normal. What happens on the fairground, (another of those secret things we are letting you in on here), is that usually the square blocks with the good prizes on are only fractionally smaller than the rings. It is possible to win, only just. Some of the blocks with the boxes of sweets on are smaller so it appears that a stream of people do take prizes.
Traditionally we used air rifles and pellets. Sadly with the Health and Safety Gestapo, sorry executive, its too much hassle. A little known fact is that as members of the Showmen’s Guild, we actually have a firearms exemption certificate which allows us to buy actual live guns that fire real bullets without needing a licence, although we are restricted to 0.22 calibre. I would love to see the local HSE guys face when we turned up with that one.
Anyway the easiest solution now is cork firing guns. Totally safe and still fun we have a range of targets of differing levels of difficulty so can tailor a game to suit any requirements.
Corks also add a random element to the game as they tend to fly in random directions. Probably why the British Army use bullet shaped bullets rather than corked shaped ones.
What I love is when someone who has never fired a gun picks one up and is transformed into a long range sniper. Well in his own head at least.
So what would we recommend as the best funfair stalls for a wedding? Our most popular package is coconut shie, hoopla and cans off the shelf. These provide a selection that suit all ages and abilities. As well as being different enough from each other to make it fun. If you want to add to them, shooting gallery would probably be our recommendation.
Whatever your requirements, if you are looking to hire funfair games, get in touch and we can tailor a package for you.
Sports commentator and broadcaster Ian ‘Moose’ Abrahams has recently broke twitter with his latest weird food fetish tweet, about the filling he likes in his savoury crepes.
In the many years that we have been experienced crepe makers we have found that Nutella and strawberries or lemon and sugar are the top choices for sweet fillings and recently having offered savoury option cheese and ham or a tomato and pesto being the top choices there. Now the fillings are all down to personal choice and were not judging here however the twitter trolls have been out in full force judging poor Abrahams for having one particular savoury filling in his crepes.
TUNA!!! Is the culprit of the twitter agg! So someone out there –perhaps some warped and weird cook – is out there cooking crepes and filling them with tinned tuna chunks and people like Abrahams is loving it.
I mean as I said before we don’t judge here and tuna chunks are nice aren’t they? But many of the social media population don’t agree. The Sports Commentator has attracted a lot of attention for sharing his love on savory crepes on twitter. Many people are angry, many concerned and many are relieved that they can finally admit the same.
One tweet read ‘Ian mate you need locking up for this’ whilst another quoted “That’s the sort of thing a stoned student would eat. What’s for second course? Porridge with cheese spread?”
Dodgems are easily one the most popular funfair ride available to hire. There are some absolutely fabulous examples available. Unfortunately there are also some complete cowboys, operating complete garbage. Read our 6 tips on dodgem hire to avoid the junk.
When have read through it, visit us for a dodgem quote for your event.
1 Work Out What Type You Need
There are 2 main types of dodgem rides, continental or traditional British style. Although the ride experience is essentially the same, they each have some unique strengths.
Hire Dodgems Continental Style
This type is the modern, slightly larger, ofton oblong shaped dodgem track. The ride essentially folds up on itself, and is then raised hydraulically off the floor allowing wheels to be fitted. The main advantage of this type is speed. Generally a smaller crew, can erect a continental dodgem in half the time of the traditional type. They also tend to be more highly decorated, with better sound systems and airbrushed artwork. The main drawback is the fact that they need to be driven into position. They cant be taken over a wall, through a narrow gate or up stairs.
The traditional dodgem on the other hand, dismantles into small sections. It can be carried into almost any venue. The drawback with the ride, is the fact that it can take 6-8 hours to erect, as opposed to 3-4 hours for a continental type.
2 Find Out Exactly What You Are Getting
Most rides of either type, need 2 heavy goods vehicles (averaging around 7 m.p.g), a support vehicle. Generator, 4-6 staff. 2 days to set up, operate and dismantle. Insurance, maintenance and general running costs. All legitimate operators have these as fixed, unavoidable expenses. So when someone offers you a dodgem for half the price of everybody else, you should be suspect.
I know of 2 unscrupulous operators with the following deals;
The first would offer you dodgems for around £800. Less than half the going rate. You would book them thinking you are getting a super deal. When the dodgems arrive and erected, you find that they have no lights, no music, no rain cover and 4 dodgem cars. When you query this sorry state of affairs, you are shown a folder with a picture of the £800 dodgems in, which is what you’ve hired. The operator would then turn a page showing a picture of the £1000 dodgems, which is the same ride but with a rain cover added. This process would be repeated a page at a time, until the final picture showed a fully set up dodgems for around the £2200 mark. Your choice at this point is to go ahead with the rubbish you’ve hired. Or pony up another £1400 to get a proper specced set up.
The Second Deal
The second one was even worse. They guy would quote a super low price, but when you wanted to book you have to agree to fork up a £500 non refundable deposit. The day before your event, you are informed that the dodgems, sadly, have broken down, but don’t worry, you are going to be supplied with a simulator ride, or a Miami or similar. When you complain that’s not what you want and ask to cancel, you are told you don’t get your deposit back. Again your choice is to accept what you are offered, or start court proceedings Would you win? Most probably, but would the hassle and stress be worth it?
3 Agree Your Operating Times
This is a must, a standard time slot is around 6 hours opening. They also need to be consecutive hours. We had one client booked us for 6 hours and wanted 3 hours one day, and 3 2 days later. Sorry, but the price quoted wasn’t to cover the ride being tied up for an additional 2 days. You wouldn’t be able to do that when you hired a car, so why would you think you could in this scenario.
4 Agree Set Up Times
Usually dodgems are erected the evening before they are needed, and dismantled straight after the event. Depending on the work load, an operator may agree to leave them in situ when the event finishes and come back the next day. However don’t just presume this. Quite often we can be operating on a saturday night at one venue, and need to be in position at another Sunday morning.
5 Make Sure You Receive All The Safety Docs
Of all our 6 tips on dodgem hire, this one is the most important.
Currently a reputable operator should be able to supply as a minimum;
- Public Liability Insurance Certificate Of At Least £5 Million
- Risk Assessments
- Method Statements
- Daily Check Log Book
- Adips Annual Inspection Certificate
The good operators will go farther and supply additional health and safety documentation. With regards to the ADIPS certificate, check it out at ADIPS.co.uk to ensure it is genuine. The advent of the scanner and photo shop means a young kid can alter the date or name on a certificate. Same goes for the insurance.
6 Ask For Testimonials
The best operators in the hire arena tend to specialise in these jobs exclusively. Some operators spend most of their time at traditional funfairs, and the private jobs are an afterthought. That’s not to say some of these aren’t quite good. They are, but the best operators tend to pay more attention to customer service, and operate to a higher standard. By all means ask for contact names at some of the larger corporate clients they have had. A good operator should have no issue with sending you details of jobs they have done.
If after reading our 6 tips on dodgem hire you are still unsure, by all means drop us an email asking for help.
Have you ever wondered about when the fair comes town. It suddenly appear on your doorstep, almost overnight in many cases?
The funfair owner just gets up one day and decides to come and set up in the park across from your house right?
Erm, no, not exactly. Most events are planned months in advance. Indeed many fairs follow a regular date, in some cases stretching back hundreds of years. They tend to be the culmination of much planning, regular meetings, inspections and so on.
We were responsible for a few years for the fairground supplied in conjunction with the summer festival at Gainsborough. I had happened across the event whilst passing through the town one summer day. I contacted the organisers about attending with some attractions at the following years event. This was politely declined, and I tried again the following year with a similar result. Out of the blue I received an email asking if I would like to supply a couple of candy floss and Popcorn stalls. So cue a meeting with the relevant people, a deal was agreed and I was asked to supply all of my safety documentation.
A few weeks later, again out of the blue, the organisers asked if I would be interested in supplying a full range of attractions. This meant another meeting and plans being discussed. This proceeded quite well, until it was pointed out that the council couldn’t agree this with us directly, it had to be put out to tender to a minimum of 3 operators.
All 3 of us submitted tenders, and eventually we were notified that we had been successful.
After receiving the green light, we submitted details of the actual line up we proposed along with safety documentation. Then the council Health & Safety team contacted us asking for an onsite meeting. Cue another trip to Gainsborough to talk through their concerns.
Full steam ahead now, or so we thought. Until we were informed that part of the car park could not be occupied. It turns out that a local solicitors needed 24hr access to their building. So this meant a rewrite of the plan, and some modification to the line up we were bringing.
The day before the event, we had to be in Gainsborough to oversee the setting up and siting of rides. We were obviously there for the day of the event. Also the day after to ensure we had cleaned the site up and caused no damage. Oh, and the organisers wanted a debriefing meeting to discuss any issues that had come up.
So you can see, far from just rolling up, we had not only to deal with numerous organisations and individuals at the planning stage. We also had to travel to Gainsborough a number of times, for in the end what was a 1 day event.
When the fair comes to town, its the result of a lot of hard work, before the rides even turn up.
When we were involved with the traditional funfair industry, we maintained a number of power generators to provide light and electricity for our equipment. When we gradually moved into the private hire market we sold them off as it was a condition of the hire service that the client provided power. We did keep a single small compact generator, more for sentimental reasons than anything else.
This was used very infrequently when a client couldn’t source power, and we would charge an small extra for taking it with us. Truth be told it was a pain, it took three or four men to man handle it into the back of a van.
Over the lockdown period our business started to change and we were being booked for larger outdoor catering events. More often we found the clients didn’t understand our power requirements, so it was decided to add some large power generators, along with refurbing our single remaining small unit.
We engaged Fairtech Fabrications to custom build a trailer for the small unit. The design brief was that the trailer needed to be large enough to take our bigger gensets. Additionally we wanted to find a way to make the smaller units easier to demount into the back of a van or trailer.
Form Follows Function
The end result was spot on. Whilst not winning any awards for good looks, it made the process of transferring the generator into a van so easy that the young ladies on the team could manage to do it without any fuss.
We also took the opportunity to clean and respray the engine and exhaust system. Along with coating the generator case in our new favourite product. Upol Raptor. A tough urethane coating designed to line the beds of pick up trucks. So far we have coated our freezers and jacket potato ovens with the product, and left them not only looking like new, but also able to take more of the knocks that our staff seem to dish out to them.
Our New Branding
We also took the opportunity to add our branding to the case, along with social media details.
Many thanks to Fairtech Fabrications for a job well done.
Design and Construction Fairtech Fabrications
Another of our quick look at major fairs, a little different this time as it is in the Netherlands. Dating back to 1570, the Tilburg Kermis is the largest fair in the Benelux region, attracting over a million visitors annually which makes it big by any standard.
Playing host to upto 250 attractions spread over a 4.5km city centre site Tilburg is held around the third week in July. Like many fairs in the UK, it started as a market, being held to honour Tilburg’s patron saint. Unlike many UK based events though, the local community and businesses play an active part in the event. With local pubs and restaurants staging music events, large scale DJ sets and themed evenings. A stark contrast to the UK based scene, where many local businesses close for the duration of the fair.
One of the most popular days of the fair, is Pink monday (Rose Maandag). Celebrating lgbt values, it brings gays and lesbians from across Europe, with many of the attractions sporting pink decor for the day. Attracting over 350,000 visitors this is a definite boost for the event. The slogan for the day is “Be Gay For A Day”
The event even has it’s own radio station. Kermis FM, offering a mix of information about the event, traffic data and kermis style music.
The final day of the Tilburg Kermis sees a massive procession towards the pius harbour. Culminating in a 15 minute firework display.
Resources: Kermis Tilburg Official Website
A resumption of our look at current and historic ride manufacturers in the funfair industry sees us looking at the now defunct company of F Hrubetz.
Dating from 1939 and at one time the second biggest ride builder in the U.S.A., the company finally closed its doors in 1992.
Frank Hrubetz originally worked at the Eyerly Aircraft Company, which was a well know manufacturer of aerial rides, based originally on a training device they designed for pilots. That company went on the develop the Loop a plane and roll a plane, two of its best selling designs which Hrubetz helped design.
In 1941 a partnership was formed with Earl 0. Bushnell to create Hrubetz and Bushnell. In addition to amusement rides they also manufactured heavily for the war effort during World War 2.
The main stay of the Hrubetz range were;
Paratrooper – Suspended seats with a canopy over the top to resemble parachutes.
Round Up – Also known as a meteorite in the UK, rides sit inside a cage which rotates at high speed sticking them the the mesh panels
Tip Top – A cross between a UK trabant and a waltzer ride, not really seen in the UK.
Fireball – Basically what we would call an octopus in the UK
Spitfire – Another oddball not seen over here. A weird cross between a paratrooper and a dive bomber.
The Hrubetz era came to and end, when Frank Hrubetz retires and sold his business to his son-in-law who renamed it Kilinski Manufacturing Company. This eventually became ManCo, then Datron Industries Inc.
In 2009 Battech Enterprises purchased the assets of Datron and continue to service some of the Hrubetz range in the present day.
Resources: Battech Enterprises