Thursday, 19 February 2009

It seems the 'sing and sign' signal for unicorn is universal

Teacher friend mother of three is great at finding things to do in the holidays, so when she asked if we wanted to see some clowns there was no hesitation. I had a day off due to a gaping hole in our childcare arrangements for half term.

What better to do than spend it being entertained by jolly clowns.

The children’s excitement levels rose when I mentioned our plan for the following day. Conversations were peppered with references to clowns;

4 year old - Clowns wear red noses?

Me - Yes

4 year old - Clowns have big shoes

Me - Yes

4 year old - Clowns are scary?

Me - No

and ...

Me - Would you like some juice?

3 year old - I like clowns. No.

Me – Stop feeding the dog Cheerios

3 year old - I like clowns. No.

Me - Time for your bath

3 year old - I like clowns. No.

The big day arrived.

An hour before we were due to set off Teacher friend mother of three called to say eldest child had pebble dashed her bedroom with sick. No clowning around for them.

I met our other friend and went in convoy to the venue, a civic hall in a Leeds suburb.

On arrival we coughed up three golden coins per person to someone who looked like a toilet attendant. We were directed towards a table proffering Fruit Shoots and bags of crisps. No thank you. We were then directed towards another table selling ‘tat’. Sticks with tinsel attached to one end. The 4 year old, a magpie in a former life, would have offered a kidney for one of those glittery sticks. No thank you.

We sat down, excited by the imminent clown show. We waited and waited … then waited a further 15 minutes during which time the children worked out how to fold themselves, and each other, into their seats.

Just as I was losing the will to live the show began.

We were introduced to Mr Clown, who funnily enough, looked like a clown … and his wife, who didn’t. It turns out that Mrs Clown had transformed herself from a coin collecting toilet attendant by taking off her tabard and applying bright blue eye shadow and a gold sequined cardigan.

I suspect they had been doing their show for 50 years and were using the same format and stage props as in 1969.

It was fairly cringeworthy. Mrs Clown mouthed all her husband’s lines silently to keep up with him and he told jokes which went over the children’s heads. The parents watched imaginary tumbleweed roll through the hall.

After 35 minutes the show ended. Relief swept over me, the children had lost interest 10 minutes earlier. Unfortunately relief was taken over by dread when Mrs Clown announced it was an interval.

An interval to flog more Fruit Shoots, crisps and glittery sticks.

The next half of the show, luckily, picked up momentarily when Mr Clown came on stage wearing enormous stilts which the 3 year old thought were amazing. Then there was some singing which sparked the 4 year old back to life for five minutes.

Comatose we left.

We had lunch at M&S to ward off evil clown spirits. It’s funny how a hot chocolate can make everything seem alright again. The queuing system at the M&S cafe is worthy of a whole other blog post but I don’t have the strength.

On exiting the car park I had a sign language argument with a woman in a Ford Fiesta about her lack of car park etiquette when she nearly drove into me the wrong way round the one way system. It seems the 'sing and sign' signal for unicorn is universal.

Teacher friend mother of three called to see how it had gone. We couldn't decide who was worse off; the mother at home with puking child or the mother at the clown show.

I like clowns. No.


Robert said...

Glad I wasn't there! Our nursery doesn't close for half term - yaaaay!

Nicola said...

That is so funny! The things we sit through for our kids...cos we're so keen to have 'something to do' with them. You gotta laugh. And clowns do seem to be a dying breed (especially if the ages of yours are anything to go by). I'm sure by the time our kids have kids they will be well and truly extinct. Now is that a reason for sadness or celebration I wonder?

The Dotterel said...

At least your friend had the comforts of her own home around her!

Elsie Button said...

ha how funny, you've got to feel sorry for them though! Are they a travelling act? - i guess they would have to be!

liked the universal 'unicorn' sign

Working mum said...

How disappointing! I think those clowns were at the Manchester City Junior Blues Christmas Party - we commented on how they must have been doing their act for 50 years then.

We need a clown regulatory body to make sure clowns are up to scratch!

Anonymous said...

Nor do I!!

CJ xx

Rosie Scribble said...

Oh no! I've never been a fan of clowns. You don't see them about much these days, and when you do they're always miserable!

Sparx said...

Sounds like a total nightmare... our nursery closes in April; I will avoid the circus.

Sparx said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sparx said...

oops sorry about that, thought I'd lost me comment!

halfmarathongirl said...

No clowns involved in our half-term, thank goodness. Did have fab trip to Tower of London though, made all the better by booking tickets on-line and avoiding the most massive queues I've seen in my life!!!

lunarossa said...

My kids never liked clowns. I don't either. My reason is because of Stephen King's book (and film) "IT". My kids' reason is bacause they find them sad! So no clown shows this half term but lots and lots of Vickings!!! Ciao. A.

Anonymous said...

Laura, this is a genius post! I love your writing :)

girlfriendnotpartner said...

so funny! we had a 'circus' in to raise money for our school fund and all the performers were drawing their pensions, be glad you didn't have to see an acrobat with a paunch doing something impossible that made his crotch protrude in skin tight lilac lycra! It was too cold in the tent to cry!!

Kylie w Warszawie said...


I loved the glittery sticks!

Expat mum said...

My little one is so scared of clowns he wouldn't even let a friend's mother take him to MacDonalds. And I didn't scare him deliberately, honest.