Mitcham Fair

This virus plays cat and mouse with its hosts. I didn’t feel quite so well today as I had done yesterday. A couple of weeks after Christmas Jackie took down most of the decorations and placed them temporarily in the library. I carried the tree to the wood burning pile. Now the library space is being shared with Easter eggs, we really had to find the energy to start boxing up the Christmas decorations and putting them away until the end of the year. The bulk of this task has fallen to Jackie. The lights stretching from the window in one of the spare bedrooms had still not been brought inside. That was rectified this morning.

Continuing with my 1960s scanning, a set from September 1967 featured a trip with Jackie and Michael to Mitcham Fair, which, although I believe its venue has been moved, remained an annual event in this part of the south London Borough of Merton.

Michael 9.67Jackie & Michael 9.67 01Jackie & Michael 9.67 02Jackie 9.67 1

Michael was clearly lulled into a false sense of security by the gentler Merry-go-Round. He was far less comfortable on the dodgems, which even perturbed Jackie a little. The youngster had to be let out of the shared car and leave Jackie to continue alone, because all the young men in other cars constantly bumped them. She tells me that the dress, in which I thought she looked rather good, cost 39/11, i.e. £1.19.11 in pre-decimal sterling currency. That was marginally less than £2 today.

It is many years since I attended one of these leisure activities which still grace areas of common land across the country. There, you can be scared out of your wits by ghost trains, and undulating rides at breakneck speed which can also make you sick; try your hand at impossible feats, such a knocking dried up coconuts from clinging stands, or throwing hoops around worthless prizes on bases that are too wide; and indulge in sickly sweet spun candy floss or hot dogs, onions, and mustard, according to taste. Many a goldfish, proudly carried home in a plastic bag, has not survived the night. The fairs remain very popular, and are eagerly awaited by youngsters across the land.Jackie 9.67 02

Among the stalls that we later visited, was a shooting range at which my fiancee excelled.Mitcham Fair sunset 9.67Mitcham Fair spelling 9.67

The setting sun lent a star to supplement the coloured electric bulbs embellishing the skyline of stalls, and focussed unforgiving spotlights onto rather dubious spelling on the other side. For 1/-, the abbreviation for one shilling, equating to 5p today, you could buy a ride on the big wheel.

It was almost by default that we dined at the Rivaaz in Lymington this evening. I had been feeling quite dull-headed and wobbly throughout the day, so, had it not been that Jackie had an appointment for a knee scan at Lymington Hospital, and I wished to accompany her, I would not have left the house. Having got out I thought I could manage a curry, but, wishing to remain anonymous with no expectation to chat, thought to avoid the excellent Lal Quilla. This left the Rivaaz, which is another first class establishment. We learned that it was not the same concern as the restaurant of the same name in New Milton. Apparently our host of this evening had begun with that one, sold it to the current owners, and set up this rather more up-market one in Lymington. We enjoyed our meals, mine being king prawn Bengal naga, and special fried rice. We shared a very good onion bhaji and parata, and both drank Kingfisher. I was pleased I had made the effort.

P.S. Barrie tells me, re the sunset picture. ‘The smoke is coming from one of the engines powering the electric generators. Almost certainly a Gardner 6LW.’


  1. I believe the “bug” you have has worked its way through Europe. I started between Christmas and New Year in my home in Southern Spain, spent 6 days in hospital in January and am still struggling with some of the symptoms including not wanting to eat. I have had no energy and am just starting to leave my home to sit in the car while my husband does the shopping. The local new hospital has been on emergency measures and friends have also suffered badly too. Unfortunately it is taking time, but I am feeling much better. Hope you are soon feeling well it just takes time. Yvonne

  2. It sounds like your virus is the annoying lingering type! I hope it clears away soon.
    Lovely images of your fairground memories. I remember visiting the fair with our eldest in the mid-nineties. One year we saw the helterskelter being built as we walked each morning to school.

Leave a Reply