One of the staples of summer fetes when we were all younger was the bouncy castle, (along with the coconut shy, bowling and a real life buckaroo.)
Begging to go on it was also part of the summer festival season. “Pleeeeeaaassseee! Muuuuuummmm” could be heard whenever the bouncy castle was in eye-shot.
The castle itself, was characterized by bright colours and kids flying off at different angles.
You had to take your shoes off, of course, lest you burst the thing. There was always a pile of hastily removed shoes by the foot of the bouncy castle, along with a rather raggedy looking man, sat down with a thermos of tea, who could command the children at will. “Right, you, off!”, "nope, wait your turn!"
The castle itself was also always accompanied by the loudest inflator pump you will ever hear, constantly humming, or chugging away, in the background. I used to think it was the man’s stomach rumbling, but it wasn’t.
Goes on the bouncy castle ended in one of 3 ways:
1 – having to be dragged off because you never got long enough on it. And then begging Mum or Dad (whoever was the most likely to give in) to have another go. 2 – Being sick. If you had just eaten, the bouncy castle would usually help you to see your food again. 3 – Tears. With a number of kids flying off in random and unexpected directions, at varying speeds, as your mother would say “It is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt”.