It’s Not Candy Floss Everywhere
Not everyone calls it candy floss. That is its UK name. The Americans call it cotton candy, the Aussies fairy floss. In France its ‘barbe a papa’ or Papa’s beard. The Afrikaans call it spook asem, and the Dutch suikerspin.
It’s Not As Bad For You As You Think
Although it is made basically from sugar alone, it consists mainly of air. So a typical serving is about 70 calories and contains less sugar than a can of coke. It is also fat free, so its almost healthy lol.
It is possible to add branding to the actual floss itself. This is fully edible and available in various colours. Ideal for parties, weddings and corporate promotions.
It Can Be Frozen
Cotton candy itself doesn’t actually go off, but it slowly deflates and shrinks down into a lump of sugar. However, it can be frozen and its usable lifespan extended for months. The best bit is when you take it from the freezer, it isn’t actually frozen and can be eaten straight away.
It Was Invented By A Dentist
Yup, that’s right, a guy called William Morrison introduced the first machine spun floss to a wide audience at the 1904 World’s Fair in St Louis. He sold 68,655 portions at the price of 25 cents. Equivalent to a price of $7.11 in today’s money.
If you need to hire a candy floss cart for your event, we can do that.
With a scientific name translating as ‘Food Of The Gods’, having been eaten for centuries and a taste loved by most people, chocolate is actually a fascinating substance.
1 Its First Shipment Was Mistaken For Sheep Poo
We might well have enjoyed the delights of chocolate earlier in this country, if it wasn’t for a case of mistaken identity. A Spanish shipment of goods was seized off the coast in the 16th century. But when they opened the sacks of cocoa beans they were mistaken for sheep poo and destroyed.
2 Chocolate, Along With Coffee, Was Once Associated With Rebellion
King Charles felt threatened by the coffee and chocolate shops in 1660’s England. It had became a drink of the intellectuals and radicals, and he felt they would be meeting to plan subversion. Spain and France didn’t have this problem as there it was reserved as a drink for the privileged.
The insurance house Lloyd’s of London, actually started in a coffee shop.
3 Many Of Our Favourite Chocolate Bars Are 100 Years Old
Cadbury’s Flake, Fruit and Nut, and the crunchy bar date from the 1920’s. Mars Bar, Milky Way, KitKat, Maltesers, Aero and Smarties from the 1930’s. This was the golden era of chocolate creativity.
An interesting fact, is that the much loved Cadbury’s Cream egg, was actually a J.S. Fry’s product. It wasn’t branded Cadbury until much later.
4 Chocolate Consumption Dates Back 5000 Years
Archaeological evidence suggests that people from the Mayo-Chinchipe civilisation were ingestion cacao based products some 3000 years B.C. The Maya poeple were evidently consuming it as a drink between 250 and 850A.D. And it was very popular with the legendary Aztecs.
I suppose it was their version of quaffing champagne whilst on a day out at the races. A good cup of cocoa and a few human hearts being cut out.
5 White Chocolate Was Actually A Children’s Medicine
In Switzerland in the 1930’s, doctors tried to improve the health of young patients by giving them vitamin enriched milk. But the older kids thought milk babyish. The addition of cocoa butter resulted in the accidental invention of white chocolate.
6 The Claim That Chocolate Is An Aphrodisiac Is False
Damn, I always liked this one.
The Aztecs may have been the first on record to draw a link between the cocoa bean and an increase in sexual desire. Montezuma was reputed to have consumed the bean in large amounts to fuel his romantic trysts.
There are actually two chemicals in chocolate that do have an effect on sexual desire, tryptophan and phenylethylamine. The first is a building block of serotonin that sexual arousal chemical. The second a stimulant released when people fall in love.
Sadly scientists reckon that the amount in chocolate is so low as to have no discernible impact.
7 The Largest Cup Of Hot Chocolate Ever Made Was 1059.4 Gallons
It was produced to celebrate Three Kings Day and was achieved by the Municipio de Uruapan (Mexico), in Uruapan, Michoacán, Mexico. It contained 600kg of locally grown chocolate.
I bet that had enough tryptophan in to gets things rising.
8 The Most Expensive Chocolate Dessert
The Frrrozen Haute Chocolate, which costs an eye watering £12,000, was added to the menu New Yorks Serendipity 3 restaurant. Made in partnership with a luxury jeweller, the sundae uses a fine blend of 28 cocoas. Including 14 of the world’s most expensive. It is then decorated with 5 g of edible 23-carat gold, served in a goblet lined with edible gold. The base of the goblet is an 18-carat gold bracelet with 1 carat of white diamonds.
The dessert is eaten with a gold and diamond spoon, which they graciously allow you to take home.
I should bloody well think they do at the price of a small car. I would want to be spoon fed it by Heidi Klum for that price.
9 Melts In The Mouth
Chocolate is the only edible substance to melt around 32°C , just below normal human body temperature. That’s the reason chocolate melts in your mouth.
The scientific name given to the tree that chocolate comes from is Theobroma cacao, means “food of the gods.”
The smell of chocolate supposedly increases theta brain waves, which triggers relaxation.
Chocolate has over 600 flavor compounds, while red wine has 200, it is actually quite a complex substance.
It takes approximately 400 beans to make a single pound of chocolate.
10 We Offer A Range Of Hot Chocolate Carts For Your Event
From our Victorian themed wedding carts, to a horse box for those outdoor events, you can have a range of themed offerings. All with our range of delicious drinking chocolate. Choose from everyone’s favourite Cadbury’s to the upmarket Charbonnel Et Walker.
All served with cream, marshmallows, sprinkles and a range of syrups to add extra flavour.
We not only revamped all the actual holes, but vastly increased the number of props on each to provide a different theme on each hole.
Hole 1 Shiver Me Timbers
First up is our Jolly Roger hole, a Pirate themed course with a shipwreck, olde worlde cannon, flags and captains hat.
Hole 2 Ducky, Ducky, Ducky
One of our favourites, hole 2 is ducks, lots of them, rubber ones to be precise. With historical characters such as Churchill, Trump, Bojo and more. Past the fairground shooting targets and up the ramp into the actual water bath with floating hook a ducks.
Hole 3 Lego World
Lego, possibly the greatest toy of all time, we have taken it and made it large. Super large in fact, with lego men heads, and giant sized bricks.
Hole 4 Mr & Mrs
Mr & Mrs, or here come the bride, a single wedding themed crazy golf hole. Though if it is a wedding you are booking for then we offer a full 9 hole wedding course.
Hole 5 Match Of The Day
Match of the day, our football themed penalty shot hole. Straight up the course into the goal for a hole in one.
Hole 6 Countryfile
A day on the country in a golf hole. Windmills, houses, cows and pigs.
Hole 7 Spooky Towers
Skulls, headstones and a mini mother in law, sorry I mean gremlin. A touch of Hammer House Of Horror
Hole 8 Don’t Mention The War
Two of the legends of WW2, the German heavy Tiger 1 tank and the American Sherman. Classed as a light tank, they regularly slugged it out on battlefields.
Hole 9 Don’t Clown Around
Crazy Golf For Events Of Any Kind
Crazy clowns, noses, boots and a big clowns face, a cheerful hole to finish the course off.
Whether you need crazy golf for events, crazy golf for a corporate event, a private party or a wedding, we have a course to suit. For really special jobs, sales promotions or exhibitions we can even design and build a totally custom themed course.
In the early days of being married, with a young child, like many couples money was tight. We were building the business, and not wanting to borrow money for non essentials, so holidays tended to be in the UK.
My wife however decided one day to book a coach trip to Disneyland Paris. We were spending all our working days on fairgrounds, so where do you want to go on holiday, a fairground obviously.
Bigger And Better
To be fair, it was bigger and better than anything I had encountered in the UK. Give the Americans their due, they have some nasty megalomaniacal habits, but they do entertainment ever so well.
The castle at the entrance sets the tone, you’re impressed before you even get in there. And it continues, the rides tend to be bigger and better. The thing that impressed me the most was how they were themed and integrated. It didn’t feel like a disparate collection of attractions thrown together, rather a fantasy land that had grown up, all part of the same organic creation.
The only minus points we personally gave it was when our daughter managed to get a splinter. The first aid ‘Lady’ was a typical Parisian, arrogant and rude, whilst looking like a fashion model.
Its funny though how people’s perceptions can be skewed. Not long after we had been another friend took his family. He hated it, all he kept saying was how overpriced everything was. That was a bit puzzling, as the food and drink wasn’t much more than most European tourist traps. Eventually we got to the bottom of it, they like to drink, a lot, a very lot. Where we had a pint and a glass of wine with our lunch, he had 6 pints, and his wife 6 double vodka and cokes. So where we barely noticed the price of booze, they were massively upset about it.
The Religion Of Football
Now, hailing from the little North East town of Middlesbrough, I have always supported the team. Not in the usually fanatical way of North Easterners in general, I mean I don’t go to the games or anything, but I always look their results up on a Saturday night.
Anyway, what my wife didn’t tell me when she booked this trip, was that the coach came from Sunderland, one of Middlesbrough’s main football rivals, and was basically full of a chapter of their supporters club.
My daughter being young and naive, and not realising the danger she was putting us in, managed to let everyone know we supported Boro.
Jeez, I was ribbed all the way there.
On the way back the driver decided to turn the BBC World Service on. Just moments before it switched to the football results. “And we are going to the Stadium of Light, where Sunderland have just scored against Middlesbrough” announced the bloody toffee nosed git on the radio.
Like one mass hive minded organism, the entire bus rose up and started chanting at me, “We have scored a goal, we have scored a goal.” the excitement was palpable.
A Bit Premature
It was also a bit premature.
“The score is now Sunderland 2, Middlesbrough 4.” Announced the reporter from the Stadium. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. They would either be good sports as those in the North East generally are. Or we were about to be ripped limb from limb.
As it was, the hive mind was still in evidence. The entire bus sat down together and looked out of the window. You could have heard a pin drop for most of the journey home.
When they dropped me off at home and the bus set off, I ran after it screaming “four two, four two”
Those at the back held up two fingers so they must have got part of the message.
In fairness I grew up in Sunderland, and it’s all part of a friendly rivalry between the Noth East teams.
But Boro are the best.
There are two types of dodgem rides in the UK. The ‘traditional’ English track and the more modern continental dodgem style track.
The short video above illustrates the second of these. The more highly decorated, and easier to set up modern dodgem ride. Or bumper cars as they are called in the North East.
This type has the advantage of being much quicker to set up than its older counterpart. Indeed the ride shown has been ready to go in as little as two hours from driving into position.
If you want to hire this or a traditional track, take a look at bumper cars hire.
When the coronavirus struck, and everyone went crazy stripping the supermarket shelves, (still not sure why they needed so much toilet paper), a number of outlets switched to accepting card payments only. Ostensibly this was to cut down on the chances of the virus being spread by touching notes.
A number of friends of mine immediately and very vocally decided this had all been a conspiracy by the government to do away with cash and switch everybody to using cards. “They are gonna know exactly what we earn and we will have to pay more tax!”
Hmm, personally I think that it was a bloody extreme way to switch us all away from cash. Quite impressive the amount of cooperation they achieved getting virtually every country in the world to follow the same plan. And if everyone has to pay the correct rate of tax, well is that necessarily a bad thing?
Some countries are already well ahead of us in the move away from cash. Sweden currently sees less than 1% of transactions made using cash. They have embraced the move to new technology wholeheartedly. In fact many establishments in the country no longer accept cash at all.
Admittedly there are some holdouts to this. Bjorn Eriksson, formerly the National police commissioner and president of Interpol objects on the principle that there are still a sizeable minority of people unable to cope with cards, the elderly, former convicts, tourists, immigrants. He explains that the banks don’t consider them to be ‘profitable’, so they will be left behind. The 71-year-old is the face of a national movement called Kontantupproret (Cash Rebellion)
So how would our industry cope with being cashless. Well, as we specialise in the corporate entertainment market and only supply private funfairs, we are basically cashless already. I personally don’t carry cash at all. My wife on the other hand won’t use her card. She goes to the supermarket, stops outside and withdraws money from the atm to pay for the shopping.
I visited Hull fair recently and stood talking to a friend at a sidestall. During the hour I was there, I would estimate that he took about 20% of his payments by card. So he was quite comfortable with cashless payments. He did mention that occasionally the lack of a reliable internet signal could cause problems, but by and large the system he had worked well. He also seemed to think that his takings actually increased as some customers would pay for additional plays by card, when they might not have done so with cash.
Some festivals and theme parks have already made the switch. Clacton pier needs you to use its Fun Card system, where you load money on to its card and then use that for all the rides and attractions. Download festival on the other hand launched an RFID system in 2015, but scrapped it the following year due to technical issues causing problems for its vendors. So the technology might need to mature a little more before its ready for the big time.
Systems such as Izettle, invented in Sweden funnily enough, are now robust enough to be used on a large international scale. Indeed I pay one of my suppliers by card when I see him and he uses that system. I think at the minute from the funfair perspective, the limiting factor is going to be the mobile internet. I have been at major events, where when thousands of people are all carrying phones, the local cell towers can’t cope and its nearly impossible to connect.
This might be one of the cases where 5G is whats needed. If we can persuade people to stop burning the bloody towers down.
Personally I think that as more and more people move to using cashless payments the funfair industry is going to have no option but to follow suit.
When you hit the age of 50, you start taking stock. I was enjoying life, business was successful, I had just attained my private pilots licence. I had a car I always wanted to own (Maserati Quattroporte) . But you also start looking at yourself. 50 is pretty much well over half way through your life. Although I was always reasonably fit, I had piled 2 or 3 stone extra on, all around my middle, the famous middle age spread.
My daughter brought it home when she remarked, you know what dad, your overweight, your cloths need an update, and when you drive your Maserati you look like you have stolen it. Bloody cheek, but she did have a point. I took the plunge and signed up with a local gym. My wife was already working out there, and had really toned up over about 18 months.
I started with some running and gym work. TBH I found it a bit boring and was struggling with motivation. At my better halfs suggestion, I tried some of the high intensity training classes. Being the only guy amongst probably 20 woman could have been intimidating but I thought what the heck.
The first one nearly killed me, I came out struggling to breath and wanting to throw up. But after a few weeks I found them bearable, and slowly upped my workrate.
Mates With Your Daughters Mates
Now, its a funny thing but for some reason I am mates with my daughters friends. I think a nice car, pilots licence and knowing things like how to tie a bow tie grants me a small level of coolness.
One of them was a but of a gym rat and we got talking about exercise regimes. He mentioned that he always fancied doing a tough mudder. After talking about it he challenged me to do one with him, 10 miles and 25 obstacles.
The rest of the family thought this was hilarious, he is 20 years younger than me, and they all kept telling me I would have a heart attack.
Thing is, I don’t like losing. So after accepting the challenge I upped my work rate determined to put a good showing in.
The Tough Mudder
On the day, I have to say it was one of the best things I have experienced. The course was tough, as were many of the obstacles, and in truth you couldn’t treat it as an actual race, as many of the obstacles required team work to get over.
It got mildly annoying when I completed an obstacle to turn around and find Kieren looking back a the obstacle. “What you doing”, “Oh looking for you”, your looking the wrong bloody way mate, I am in front of you not behind!
Mid way round I slipped on a rope and broke a finger in 3 places. I wasn’t really aware of this until a couple of days later as I think the adrenaline kept the pain at bay.
One of the obstacles was a low frame you had to climb under with wires hanging down, touch one and you received a 10,000 volt jolt of electricity. All you could hear was “CRACK”, aaargh, it was hilarious, or it was until you were the one screaming.
Mid way round we were starting to flag a bit, when we came to the Arctic Enema. A skip full of ice and water that you slid into, then had to swim underwater to clear the obstacle. The shock was incredible, but once we climbed out and started to run it felt like every atom in your body was on fire, totally energised we felt almost brand new.
The final obstacle was a marquee you ran through, full of hanging electrical wires that were impossible to avoid. We set off neck and neck, I chose a central path that give me shocks both sides of the body. Kieren tried to take them all down one side. As I made it through I turned back just in time to see him fall down. I looked at him, looked at the finish line 30 ft away, and of course ran over the finish line before coming back to help him!
International coffee day celebrates one of our favourite lines. Coffee, that dark Arabian wine that has spread throughout the globe. Our espress carts serve all the usual latte, cappuccino, ristretto etc, and tends to be one of our staff favourite carts.
The first direct evidence of the cultivation of coffee comes from the 15th century. It was used as a stimulant by various African tribes. Coffee as a drink also appears in the 15th century in the accounts of Ahmed al-Ghaffar in Yemen. It seems the Arabs were the first for roast and brew coffee in a manner similar to what we do today.
In 1670 Sufi Baba Budan smuggled coffee beans out of Arabia. Into the Indian sub continent with the first seeds planted in Mysore.
Coffee had spread to Italy by the 1600’s and then into the rest of Europe.
Through the efforts of the British East India Company, coffee became popular in England as well. Indeed coffee shops became the meeting places of the intelligentsia as well as radicals and revolutionaries. Lloyds of London the world famous insurance market had its humble beginnings in one of London’s coffee houses.
However you take your coffee one of our carts provide a full range of drinks. Including speciality teas, redbush and drinking chocolate. So celebrate international coffee day in style.
Jimmy Donaldson who goes by the name Mr Beast is a 21 year old famous YouTube star. Reaching fame for his expensive stunts and philanthropy, he has over 34 million subscribers to his YouTube channel.
Mr Beast is no stranger to accompanying his stunts and challenges with a hefty price tag reward, his latest stunt involved the well-known game Hide and Seek, an abandoned amusement park and a 70K cash prize. Imagine playing a game of hide and seek with Mr Beast and coming home 70K richer!!!
10 content creators was chosen to play hide and seek with Mr Beast. Each contestant had their own face cam and walkie talkies. The aim was for them to hide somewhere in the abandoned run down theme park. The whole video had an eerie hunger game feel about it. On the video you see that Mr Beast tracked down three competitors. Then told the remaining 7 that they had an alarm in each of their backpack’s that could not be turned off. Mr Beast then introduced the option to close down different parts of the theme park. Forcing the remaining contestants in hiding to be forced out of the park and having to hide in new places.
Mr Beast looked everywhere in the theme park eliminating contestants as he went along. Looking under arcade cabinets, around the back of old fairground rides and underneath them. Even in the attack of buildings.
After 4 hours of the game Mr Beast finally crowned the winner and handed over the cash price!
Mr Beast is no stranger to using theme parks for his youtube pranks. In August he launched a video ‘Last To Leave Roller Coaster Wins £20,000 challenge’. This is a pretty much self-explanatory title. The video shows a group of lads sitting on a rather large roller coaster car. For around about 3 hours. With some members throwing in the towel every few rounds of the ride no doubt due to sickness and tiredness.
They say that history goes around in circles. That we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past in an endless cycle. It’s not fun & it’s not fair.
Around 130 years ago the Van Dwellers Association was formed to protect the interests of travelling showmen. The impetus for this was a series of bills being enacted in parliament to restrict the ability of the showmen to travel around the country. It was postulated that they would spread disease and anarchy throughout the realm, putting an end, as one MP stated, to the ‘work of civilisation.’ The efforts of the association managed to stop this pernicious attack on the showmen’s way of life and the bill was defeated.
Eventually the association became the Showmen’s Guild and was recognised as the trade association for travelling funfairs. The organisation has worked since then to advance the rights and well being of the funfair industry as a whole.
So why the reference to history at the start of this post?
Well, here we are in the 21st century, and once again the life and business of the showman is under threat due to the impression that they will be travelling the country spreading disease and pestilence.
Unless you have been in a coma since the start of the year, you will be familiar with the current Covid crisis. Sweeping not only these sceptered isles, but pretty much the entire globe. Microbes that swarm and multiply unseen have ravaged the land, caused untold deaths and decimated much of the economy.
Quite rightly in the early days of the onslaught, we were all locked down. Facing an unseen enemy, that was little understood, but virulent and indiscriminate in its choice of victim.
Whatever the truth about the actual death rate from the illness, there is no argument that it has destroyed people’s lives and businesses. The support package provided by the chancellor helped many people, but as happens in such cases, left many more falling through the cracks with little or no support.
Easing The Restrictions
Eventually, as the rate of infection fell, the government started to ease the lockdown. They had little choice, the economy, already severely wounded, couldn’t take the blow of remaining closed much longer, lest the cure became worse than the disease..
Establishments were gradually brought back into operation, pubs, restaurants, most shops, you were even allowed a haircut.
Of course businesses had to become Covid secure, with hand sanitising facilities, anti microbial treatments on surfaces and social distancing becoming the “new normal.”
Travelling funfairs, for so long locked down, began to slowly re emerge into the brave new world we were living in. With rides operating at reduced capacity, all of the aforementioned Covid requirements being met, and the use of track and trace systems, the industry was labouring under a heavy load of restrictions.
A Step Back
It didn’t last long however. Within a scant few weeks, councils decided that funfairs were to be stopped. Despite the go ahead from the government, despite meeting and in many cases exceeding the Covid secure requirements, despite being held outdoors, with massively increased spacing between rides, the powers that be decided that, much like 130 years ago, showmen needed to be stopped.
Arguments can be made both for and against this decision. No one wants to be responsible for spreading the illness. Yet whilst a business such as a pub, which has its patrons locked into restricted indoor spaces smaller than an average funfair ride, is regarded as perfectly safe. A large funfair ride, operating at half capacity, in the middle of a field, outdoors is too dangerous to contemplate.
To add insult to injury, many of the councils banning travelling funfairs . Have expressly permitted ‘fixed funfairs’ such as theme parks. Hmmm, lets have a quick think. A typical theme park, has fixed rides that cannot be moved or spaced out. Everything is designed to maximise the space they have available. With guests queuing in proximity to each other. A travelling funfair, being set up from scratch, can either spread itself out for social distancing. Or operate with less attractions to achieve the same.
So why the discrepancy? Thus far, no one asked has been able to express a legitimate answer to this. Could it be that things have come full circle. Once again the showman are deemed to pose a threat to civilisation. After 130 years of supposed progress, are we once again to be considered pariahs in society.
Whatever the reason, its not fun, and it certainly ain’t fair.