It has become an annual tradition. In the Spring when Giffords Circus has just begun we all hop in a little bus and head for the (not so big) Big Top at Fennel’s Farm. It’s our way of saying ‘thank you’ to the growing gang of shop girls, helpers, advisors and of course the ‘Herberts’ for their help, time and hard work keeping shop over the last year.
Meet the gang...
Left to Right: Paul, Cathy, Vicki, Emily, Greek Kate, Kate, Charlotte, Zillah, Fenn and lounging on the grass, Kip
I drove the bus! Surprisingly it was a joy to drive and there was talk of changing the car for a van of some sort. I’m not sure it was THAT good!
The day was beautifully sunny and warm with wonderful views on the road to Stroud. There was no singing. Not a note. Too much chatting, anticipation.
And then we see it, the big top, a brand new one bedecked with stars and topped with ‘Giffords Circus’ in bright sparkling lights. Straight to the line at the entrance, inevitable nervous wees for some, excitement for the doors to open and for the first glimpse of the circus ring. Inside, sound is muffled, it’s dark, warm and smells of woodchip with a faint tinge of horse poo. It’s very exciting. One bag of sweets is demolished as everyone settles and we wait.
As it’s Sunday, talk turns to last minute homework, bag packing and the ironing of uniforms and shirts for work. Nobody is keen to make the move.
The journey home included an unplanned detour through beautiful countryside and woodlands and a lengthy steep reverse down a tiny lane and into a bush in a 12-seater mini bus to let a Ford KA pass. I will not say what my husband gestured from the back window as they passed. A stop on the edge of a leafy lane for emergency wild wees in the woods, the sun still hanging in there and soon we were home.
On the way to school the following morning, still dreaming of the circus, our youngest asks me, “Mummy… was that lady’s dress meant to fall off?”
That was my BEST bit!
- “Giffords Circus never fails to delight! It's the start of the summer fun, fulfilling our annual fix of my favourite Clown, Tweedy with his pet iron and dodgy braces, haha, love it, he's brilliant” Cathy – shop girl (grandmother!) and expert parcel wrapper.
- “We had such a spiffing time on our Spotty Herberts day out. Giffords was, as always, a world we never really want to leave. Everything we love; theatre, art, cabaret, comedy, glitter and talking turkeys.. inspiring stuff. Lovely too to have everyone together, catching up, laughing heartily and then stuffing our cake holes at Jolly Nice. If only all Sundays were that great.” Emily – founder, shop girl, the kid’s favourite. She won’t escape us!
“Third time going to the Circus with Spotty Herberts and I think it just keeps getting better. You know Tweedy will be superb - such a pro - and all the acts breathtaking. The time flies by as you laugh, clap or gasp in disbelief! All topped off with excellent Jolly Nice burgers and delicious ice cream. I even got away with my navigation mishap as we were expertly driven home by Kate because the scenic route was soooo scenic! Phew. Looking forward to next year!” Greek Kate – graphic designer extraordinaire, happy helper and box carrier at fairs and pop-ups.
- “Watching Giffords Circus, you genuinely forget about all your cares and are transported to another world – a cliché, but so true! My 84-year old Mum – not known to be prone to exaggeration – described it as the most wonderful circus she had ever seen and wants to come on the 2019 Works Outing.” Paul – he’s the Daddy, the man who is good with figures and pays the wages.