FERN HILL - By Dylan Thomas
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
It is said that it pays to advertise and when you consider the billions of dollars that are spent on advertising world wide - it certainly must pay dividends otherwise businesses wouldn't spend such huge amounts in search of customers.
The Weber Bros Circus has come to Whangarei and this inflatable man is one of a number of interesting displays all over town advertising this fact. I took this photograph the other day on my way to work. As I drove away from this apparition I pondered the scene when the owner of the house was asked to use his front garden - ("Oh yes a couple of tickets to the first night is very fair, some people actually pay US to have Mr Puffball / Blimp man on their lawn - yes really.") (Or am I being unkind? - maybe the house owner was paid handsomely).
Whenever a circus comes to town I am always reminded of a painful experience that happened to me a long time ago. It is this that is uppermost in my mind whenever I see a circus. It happened like this:
Many years ago when I was growing up in Christchurch a circus would often come to town. They were the old traditional circuses with lions, elephants and monkeys. There were lots of clowns and trapeze artists and all the traditional circus razz - a - ma - tazz. The circuses that I remember were set up either in Hagley Park which is in the centre of Christchurch city or the Big Top was pitched about 2 kilometres from where I lived in the Rawhiti Domain in New Brighton
After school one day a group of us from Central New Brighton Primary School went to see the pitching of the big top - we had heard that a circus was in the domain, so down we all trouped. It was there that we came across a group of Shetland ponies that were grazing on the grass. It was while patting and stroking these ponies that something happened that has made me remember never to turn my back on an animal - ever. I remember patting a nice little pony and feeding it grass when for no reason that I have ever been able to discern the pony curved his head around my waist and bit me very, very hard on my backside.
My first reaction was one of initial shock - I stood still for a moment, wondering if I had been bitten or struck by lightening - then I took off and ran as fast as I could all the way home.
Arriving ashen faced at home I gasped out my story to my mother who looked concerned but slightly bemused and unbelieving at my panting story about the ponies. "Lets have a look", she said. - "Oh my god" - then, with an expression I can still remember to this day, "You HAVE been bitten, my goodness what big teeth marks."
After running all the way home I had calmed down a bit and the fright of the bite had changed into the excitement of an interesting story to tell everyone. My mum got a hand mirror and showed me the teethmarks on my backside. I can remember that image as I type - imagine the teeth marks you have seen when one child bites another - now imagine that the biting child has a mouth the size of a small vicious horse.
As in all these sorts of events in our lives the body heals but the mind remembers and I certainly remember that little event. I am none the worse for wear either physcially or mentally but the memory of this is still as sharp as a tack.
So what did I learn? I learnt that:
- It is true that -"Horses are uncomfortable in the middle and dangerous at both ends." (~Attributed to both Christopher Stone and Ian Fleming)
- When it comes to feeding and patting horses it is a case of - once bitten twice shy!!!