We had an inauspicious start to our day at Gloworm. E woke us far too early and through my groggy eyes I could see it was raining. The tired feeling didn’t go away, and so when S announced he wasn’t feeling up to it, I downed more coffee and me and E set off.
E has, in the last two weeks, developed some kind of random car sickness. I believe this is a thing that happens. It was warm in the car despite the aircon being on, and we’d nearly got to the site when, sitting in traffic, she announced she didn’t feel well and promptly threw up all her breakfast. I managed to pull into a nearby petrol station where she stood in her pants while I raced around realising I’d come put without wipes and the kitchen roll normally in the car wasn’t. I dressed her in waterproof trousers and a hoodie from my bag and suggested we go home. This did not go down well and I admit, I didn’t want to deal with more upset so on we went.
The car seat was covered in vomit and E clearly couldn’t sit back in it, so being only a few miles from Clumber Park, I strapped her in the back seat and hoped we didn’t get stopped. It stank so arriving at Clumber in the middle of a gang of HaRkey bikers meant I had to close the windows due to the noise freaking E out. Great. She was tetchy and so was I, so the traffic jam to get in didn’t help our moods and then I missed where we were supposed to turn for the festival car park and ended up in the main car oark instead. It wasn’t much further away but it felt like a big deal so I’m embarrassed to say I was nearly intears by the time we reached the gate.
Luckily, that was where Gloworm did its bit for us. E was immediately enthralled by the flags, fairground and the buses (one was a bar, the other I think a playbus) and didn’t know where to go first. She played by the Gloworm letters, posing for pictures and then ran off to see the buses, the mermaid signing autographs, and then to the food stalls. Her enthusiasm was perfect to kick start me out of my over emotional funk.
We lunched. Locally produced food, and easy to buy for children, if a little unimaginative (lots of burger stalls). And then we roamed. E met Peppa Pig and then Thomas the Tank Engine, before joining in with a performance by Johnny and the Raindrops which she very much enjoyed, especially the superhero song and the air guitars.
Following that we went up to the White Post Farm bit, animal petting, with goats, ducks, chicks and more goats. E was thrilled to handle a baby chick, and even more when it pecked her. We made a bug hotel from a toilet roll, now pride of place in our garden, and then she discovered the ‘dressing up like a horse and trying to do showjumping’ section. If you ever need cheering up from feeling feeble and alone, this is my recommendation. “Gallop, gallop” she said before throwing herself in her horse outfit over the barrier face and hand first. Hilarious.
We stopped off at some of the stalls, and made a diplodocus from a balloon and some cardboard, before a doughnut and drink rest by the fairground. I know what you’re thinking, a sick child, doughnuts and a fairground – what could possibly go wrong? Well, E was fine but she insisted on going on the teacup ride. I would’ve been fine had the proprietor not insisted on spinning us extra hard every time we went past and after a while I gave up trying to enjoy it and just prayed for it to end. Then I sat down for about half an hour. I hate rides. Next time, S HAS to come to take part instead.
There were bands playing but to be honest, we paid little attention to them. The workshops were sporadic so the dinosaur and the junk music man were all we got to do. But this is Gloworm’s first year so allowances can be made and there was much to like. There was a great range of stalls,with a family friendly approach. The sponsors seemed generous and sensibly minded for a festival with so many children – soft play areas, sand pits, baby changing facilities, rest areas for parents and so on. The fairground part seemed the busiest and there were long queues for each ride. I was glad E only wanted to go on one. This is an area where having more than one person in your group must have helped. However, all the rides and workshops etc were free and the cost included in the ticket price so the only extras were the food and drink, and any stall purchases. I did appreciate this. Workshops at Deershed (some were free) may have only been £1-3, but it does make a difference.
The atmosphere seemed v pleasant, and although we left by about 4.30, so didn’t stay late or overnight, the day rate seemed reasonable. I bought early bird tickets, children under 3 were free and E was only a nominal price to get in. I think there’s much for Gloworm to build on for future years.