Useful And Fantastic: Fairy Floss And The Eiffel Tower
...“Yuck!” I said, as loudly as I could, and I pushed it back at her. I thought she was a horrible little girl for making me eat the stuff. I might have pushed her harder than I meant to, because she fell off her chair and she started crying...
Val Yule tells of a child who did not behave as well as she was expected to behave.
What do you get when you put together Fairy Floss and the Eiffel Tower?
A mess! That’s what you get. And a very upset little girl. And a very annoyed and distressed family.
Well, that’s how I see it anyhow. I’m in my room now, and I’m in the bad books with everybody. No one wants to talk to me. And it wasn’t even my fault.
Today was the day we had all been waiting for, for a very long time. Once Christmas holidays have come and gone, and then Easter has finished the next thing that we all look forward to each year is the Royal Adelaide Show. We had been saving our money to spend on show bags and on the rides.
My brother had done something terrible a few weeks ago and we all thought that we were done for. Mum was so furious with him that she threatened she wouldn’t take any of us to the Show. My big sister, Janice, talked to Mum about how special the Show was “especially for the Little-y” (that’s me), and so Mum relented. She agreed to hold onto the money Kym had saved for the Show until he earn it back, a bit at a time, by doing little jobs around the house. Then it would be OK for us all to go to the show after all.
Well, we got through that disaster. Then my big sister went and got sick. Mum had to take her to see the doctor and he gave her some tablets to take three times a day. She was my big sister, and she was the one who had to hold my hand at the show. If she didn’t go, I wouldn’t be allowed to go either. It wasn’t fair! But then she explained to me that she wouldn’t be sick if she took the tablets, and that she could take them with her when we all went to the Show, so it wouldn’t stop us going after all.
I was so happy. And I was such a good girl over these last few weeks. I helped Mum out by setting the table for tea every night; I took the scraps out to feed the chooks; and I even swept the kitchen floor sometimes – something I’ve never done before – just so I wouldn’t upset Mum, and I’d get some extra pocket money for the rides and the show bags.
Pauline was a nuisance last week. She was crying when she got back from her piano lesson. I thought, “Oh no, here we go again,” when she didn’t want to go to the Show because she would miss some performance or something. Nobody wanted to talk to anybody else that night. Anyway, it turned out the performance would be put off until after Show week. The teacher even came around to the house to apologise to us all for “not taking that into consideration”.
So here we were this morning, ready to go to the Show, and nothing was going to stop us. It was still dark when Mum came to wake me up and get me ready. Janice and Pauline were already eating their porridge in the kitchen, dressed and ready to go. Kym, as usual, was having a whinge about the stupid clothes he was expected to wear all day at the show. He always had something to complain about. Sometimes I wish he would just do as Mum says, and that is to, “shut up and co-operate for once, so we can all be a well-behaved family, and enjoy ourselves”. That’s just how she says it, and I think she’s right.
Dad drove us to the station and we were there in plenty of time to catch the train to the city. At every station we passed I looked for the name to see if it was Goodwood, because I knew that’s where we had to get off. Mum had her thermos of coffee, and she sat with a couple of other women she knew, while us four kids sat together on facing bench seats with a table set up between us. Pauline and Kym played marbles on the table. Janice had a book to read, and she gave me her poppet beads to pull apart and put together again. I was happy doing this most of the way to the city.
Then I saw that Goodwood was to be the next stop. We were all excited but we listened to Mum giving us final instructions about staying together and not getting lost; holding onto our money; and being well behaved while we went to the various pavilions before lunch. It wasn’t going to be until after lunch that we would go to the sideshows, and then, last of all, we would go to the show bag pavilion and collect our sample bags.
I held Janice’s hand tight while we watched the wool fashion parade, and while we all walked through the produce pavilion. Mum stopped there and bought something, and she said that she would give it to me to play with later if I was a good girl. I couldn’t wait to see what it was. When it was lunchtime we went to the Red Cross tearoom near the Main Arena. The three big ones were allowed to go on their own to see the farm animals, so I had to stay with Mum.
After we had our sandwiches she gave me the present. It was a snow dome. Inside there was a thing that she said was the Eiffel Tower, and when I turned the glass dome upside down, and then turned it right way up again I could make snow fall all over the tower and the little garden that was inside. I kept turning it upside down and back again, and I was fascinated with it because it was like a little world inside the glass.
A lady came and sat down at the same table and she had a little girl with her. She and my mum started talking to one another, but I ignored the little girl because she didn’t look very nice, and I had my special snow dome to play with anyhow. I noticed she was eating something odd. It was all pink and fluffy. I pretended not to be interested in it, but I must have looked curious, because she suddenly said,
"I bet you’ve never eaten fairy floss.”
“Course I have, silly.” I said, but I still couldn’t help watching her.
“Do you want some?” she said.
I tried to look like I didn’t care. But then I remembered my manners and I said, “Yes please,” and she held it out for me to try.
The stuff just evaporated when I tried to take a bite out of it. Little strands of sticky stuff broke off and stuck to my nose, and my cheeks, and my chin. And there was nothing much in my mouth except for a taste like the tiniest spoonful of sugar. It was nothing! It wasn’t even a real lolly that you could suck or chew, because it just disappeared when you tried to eat it.
Just then there was a crashing sound, and I looked down. My snow-dome had fallen off the table and onto the hard ground. Now it was broken. The water was running out of it, and the little Eiffel Tower was bent over on its base. The tiny specks that used to be the snowdrops were nowhere to be seen.
I hated that little girl now, so I got off my seat, went over to her, and gave her another push to show her how I felt. She screamed even louder than she had before and she threw her fairy floss at me. Bits of it stuck on me, some bits floated around in the air, and some bits landed on the ground, and stuck in the water trickling out of my precious snow dome. Now there was just a congealed mess of bits of glass, and water, and dark pink blobs of gooey sugar. It was horrible. My little world was broken and the world I lived in was now a horrible place. I hated everyone, so I started screaming and stamping my feet as loud as I possibly could.
On the way home on the train I had to sit next to Mum, because Kym would keep poking me and saying nasty things to me if I sat anywhere near him. Janice wouldn’t hold my hand, and Pauline just turned away from me and looked out of the window.
Well ‒ it wasn’t my fault we weren’t allowed to go to the sideshows or the show-bag pavilion!