We went to Carters Steam Fair the other day – it is a spectacular family run affair and a feast for the eyeballs. Mr and Mrs Carter began their fairground adventure quite unintentionally, by just getting hold of a few bits of a carousel and building it in their lawn much to the delight of the neighbourhood tikes and the consternation of the council! Their devotion grew until they had enough rides to tour, and they continue to do so throughout the South East every summer. I love this story, partly as I can see myself and Tim with half a fairground ride in our garden.
We have been each year for the last three, and every time we feel a bit more inspired by the vintage signage and nostalgic vibe.
The first time we went was long before the days of Instagram, and the best way to get an old effect was to actually use an old camera. I would rig up my digital camera to my ancient Brownie with a loo roll and some selotape, and would spend hours trying to get some good shots. Many a strange look was shot my way, as I trundled around with this ridiculous contraption. But other weirdos do it too, yeah, in fact it even has a name; “TTVF” – Through The View Finder. Once things have a name it is pretty much An Official Non-Weird Past Time.
Here are some of the shots taken with him at the Fair.
Back then these photos were INCREDIBLE – a nowaday scene with a vintage lens. But now they just look like they have been badly filtered with one of the many Vintage-ise your photos app.
Yes, er, there does seem to be a pube stuck in the Brownie.
I was well excited about taking Ramona on the carousel, and when she saw it too she went nuts – almost climbing up mid-round, the little keen bean. When it was our turn we hopped on it but the second it started going round Ramona became kinda anti-carousel and actually threw a full blown, back arching,wobbly in an attempt to get off. I tried holding her close for a few rounds, but it became impossible and we had to perform a dodgy hand over trick to pass her down to Tim. I then had to ride the whole 5 minutes solo and the looks were more incriminating than when I was wandering around with two cameras and a loo roll.
Ramona is becoming fiercely strong willed and theatrically expressive. It is wonderful to see her personality unfurling more and more, but with it comes a new learning curve. Trying to not let my own embarrassment, or shame, or sense of properness interfere with my response to her. It is too easy to think (and say) “Oh don’t be silly” rather than try and see things from her perspective, and to validate any feelings of angst she might have. Especially when you had to style out riding the carousel solo.
Anyway, back to the snaps. See, I got some of these PRINTED! Y’ know, that thing you used to do? Back in the day? I, like, sent the files to a photo place, and they came back on GLOSSY PAPER. Then I stuck my favourites behind an old window pane we found in a skip.
It’s propped up next to our cool lamp, it had no base so was only a cheeky £1 from a carboot and we created an impromptu foundation out of some old wood.
So. There it is, Carters Steam Fair, through the eyes of my Brownie.
Linking up with other scavengers and secondhand lovers over at Missie Lizzie – traipse on round and ‘ave ye a peep.