I held up my long-delayed end of a bargain on the last Saturday before school started back and took Tori to The Ark in Dublin for their summer circus programme. Which was wonderful.
Getting there, slightly less so, since the Enterprise on a Saturday morning is invariably packed out, and this was no exception. I ended up appropriating the fourth seat on a table which already had three people on it and wedging her on my knee, with many pleas that she try not to kick the gentleman opposite. She’s always been a long creature, but seven came in with equal inches in legs.
But we managed, and we entertained ourselves with the fairy story drawing game on my tablet, much to the entertainment of the nice gentleman opposite, comprehensively de-and-re-constructed our bacon bagels for Reasons and I stood firm on the hot chocolate being for the trip home, not down. And cracked and got a taxi over from Connolly, since I couldn’t quite face trying to navigate an over-excited seven-year-old when I wasn’t completely sure of the directions myself. Taxi driver asked what we were going to do at the Ark and got an endless stream of chatter that boiled down to “Clowns!”
And so to the circus. We collected our tickets and name stickers, and were gently chased out again for half an hour until the rest of the group arrived. So we had a little wander round the farmers market that lives in the entries on a Saturday and Tori asked for apples and the man warned her they were tart and she was undeterred.
“I like sharp things! … that’s very sharp.”
“You don’t have to eat it if it’s too much.”
“No! I’M EATING IT ALL!”
A small girl making lemon-faces every time she bites her apple is one of the funniest things on earth.
The first session was designing and creating their own clown make-up and costume. Little lecture on the Clown Museum and how every clown has their own face, kept in the archive on an egg so no-one else will use it until the clown retires or passes it along. Then they were set upon the dressing up box to try out ideas. They dressed themselves up. Then, because I was sitting on the floor, I was comprehensively bewigged and be-hatted, and only narrowly avoided being be-nosed.
Then the eggs were handed out, and the scissors and glitter and fabric and glue and I was delegated to make a bow-tie and one of the Ark girls started making glasses, and firm instructions were issued to the effect that ONLY the grown-ups were allowed the UHU glue. Apparently there is a story to that. I can make a fair guess.
Then onwards to a desperately rushed lunch and an afternoon with the circus. Fossets had joined in to provide photos and videos – the boys who are learning to be horseback acrobats in particular were brilliant. The kids were got up to be ponies in the ring, then they went up to see the clown (comprehensively heckled for his terrible jokes by a four-year-old), and up again to see Lizzie and hear the tale of the night of the red feathers and the magic circus, then up again to make their own shadow puppets.
Which was yet more UHU glue, and the most complex shadow pony anyone had made all week. Tori is mildly dangerous when let loose with an entire table of stuff. We ended up trailing out with a string of glitter behind us and a great many balloons. Down the Boardwalk and onto the train and the great amusement of the lady opposite.
And then we took pictures of ourselves reflected in the luggage rack. For Reasons.