And just as 12 months ago it has taken over our lives and filled the house with cardboard. The boxes either contain things like science experiments or Lego pieces, or they are part of cardboard Whitstable – Harbour Street or the Horsebridge made out of what Serco should ordinarily be taking away on a Monday. But no. One man’s rubbish is another man’s Wheeler’s Oyster Bar, and I keep tripping over it.
I’d said that surely it wouldn’t work, but last year’s event was a great success, thanks to the hard work of a small group of volunteers who made it all work. This year it’s hoped people will get the same kick out of it as back then.
In case you haven’t been pestered by their twitter account yet (they’ll get to you), it all takes place this Sunday at the Umbrella Centre in Whitstable, with another smaller event at the Lucerne Neighbourhood Centre, in my own ward of Seasalter, tomorrow lunchtime (Saturday).
I’ll be helping again. Last year I got raisins to dance in lemonade, and contributed a ramshackle version of the Belmont ground to cardboard Whitstable. All good memories. But the main recollection I have involved an egg, one that was supposed to be indestructible.
The “science” test involved trying to squeeze an egg until it broke. Theory said that you couldn’t do it, that it was impossible. This seemed true as one person after another (usually a child with a parent a few feet behind) squeezed the egg (wrapped in cling film – trust runs at about 90 per cent at the MoF) until their hand, not the egg, couldn’t take it anymore. You can try this at home if you like. It can’t be done.
Or can it?
I saw the man wobble into the Hall about 15 minutes before the Museum was set to close. The flow of people had slowed by this point so he was easy to spot, but evidently only I had the necessary skills (and experience) to spot a man enjoying the effects of an early start in the pub. Or that he was walking a kind of “beer shuffle”. Or that he was hanging onto his girlfriend for upright support.
The pair of them looked at one stall, then another, making their way around the room at the speed of a minute hand ticking down to zero, with me, and a cling-filmed wrapped egg, representing zero.
“Would you like to take the egg test?”
This was my wife, ever enthusiastic, annoyingly so in this case, with the same energy ten minutes before closing as she’d had an hour before the start.
“What’s the egg test?”
We were minutes from the end of a long day, but only I seemed disappointed he’d asked. A crowd gathered as he got the details and, perhaps wishing to show his girlfriend that even whilst weakened by drink he could still crush an egg, he stepped forward.
Taking the egg in his right hand he began to squeeze. Nothing happened. Just as the instruction manual said, the egg’s shell naturally spreads the pressure evenly across its surface, making it incredible strong. He squeezed again, and still nothing happened. Then I saw him change his grip, or at least I think I did, and he squeezed one last time.
I can still see the blob of egg flying towards me, and it was in slow motion. I couldn’t move out of the way quickly enough and within a second my sweater was ruined and my left eye was glued shut.
I did the only thing I could do in a moment like this. When your instinct tells you to lunge forward and go for someone’s neck, it’s best to perform a strained laugh worthy of an Academy Award, which is what I did. Taking this as a cue someone else laughed. Pretty soon everyone was laughing along with me and I wanted to throttle them all – now impossible with only one working eye.
The man and his girlfriend laughed too and finally made their way to the door, at which point I unilaterally declared the Museum of Fun closed. Everyone exhaled after a long a successful day, while I began a lengthy explanation to my wife of what a drunkard looks like.
Still, looking back it had been great fun, even if I still think my version of fun involves a quiet room and a good book.
So come along this weekend if you can. I’ll be at the Lucerne Neighbourhood Centre from 12pm tomorrow helping out, and at the Sunday version at the Umbrella Centre, which runs from 11am to 3pm.
I’ll be the one in a wet suit and goggles.