Every shire seems to have a 'showground'. a large round oval (now there's a contradiction in terms) surrounded by stables and barns and small seating stands which host their annual agricultural show, horse shows, public events and corporate Christmas Parties. They're owned by the local council so anyone can rent space for their outdoor function or lob in a marquee. I drive past ours each morning on my way to work.
This week it's all stripey tents and elephants which don't look anything like the circus posters currently being circulated around town. The poster shows two glistening white liberty horses rearing above a roaring lion with a regal mane. But as I glimpsed sidewise at the motly crew of animals who form part of the Stardust Circus I was indeed disappointed. Wet elephants looking very bored and dousing themselves with bedding straw, tiny liberty horses, no more than 11 hands, covered in mud and the scraggiest looking lions, licking their wet paws and looking decidedly sleepy. Cats sleep up to 22 hours a day so I guess that's to be expected.
How delusional we are as children when even the skankiest animal looks like something out of a fairytale. I'm sure they'll scrub up for tonight's performance and the lights will sparkle and pink candy floss and toffee apples will look oh so appetising.
Such is the disillusionment of adulthood, we look at these things with such different eyes. I might take my niece and nephew to see the circus and try to rekindle some of the romance and hope that the elephants look a bit more interested in life.