Mary said, “What’s this?”
And I said, “it’s a very old tin of paints, Mary. From when I was a little girl.”
And Mary said, “Yes, but what is this a picture of?”
And I said, “It’s a circus, Mary.”
Mary looked at the tin for a while. She loved the colours and the lady on the horse and the little dog with the strange ruff around his neck.
And I watched and saw how much she loved the colours and I said, “Mary?” And Mary said “Yes?” And I said, “I have a book about the circus. Would you like to see?” And Mary said, “Yes please.” And Leopard came too.
It was a big book. Full with all kinds of pictures. And we talked about how the circus would travel around putting on shows, and how people would come from miles around to see the jugglers and acrobats and animals and the beautiful ladies and the clowns. Huge crowds of people.
And Mary said, “Can we go to a circus?” And I said, “Yes. There’s a circus I have wanted to go to for such a long time. It’s called Gifford’s Circus. Let’s go and see them.”
And so we went, and Tamsin came too and all her family.
And Mary bought the tickets, and it wasn’t long before she was inside the ticket hut helping the beautiful lady to sell tickets.
There were circus wagons and a tent. There were clowns and tumblers and a man who was so strong. He climbed up high on balancing chairs and we watched as his shadow made patterns on the roof of the tent.
And men juggled with fire.
At the interval Mary and Leopard helped to sell refreshments and played on the wagons. Mary climbed the ropes that held the big tent up. It was so exciting.
After the interval we watched as a beautiful lady rode a spotted horse. And just for a moment all the world lived inside the canvas walls of the tent and time stood still. It was beautiful.
The horse moved so fast he was like a giant blur. A gentle giant in a sawdust ring. And a lady spun around making patterns in the light. And men jumped up high and balanced and tumbled.
It was all so exciting.
And on the way home Mary said, “I’m glad there were no tigers. Or leopards. Or Bears. They didn’t look happy in the pictures in the book.” And I said, “Yes.”
Leopard yawned, worn out by the adventure.
Mary said “The circus is a bit like walking into a dream.” And I said, “Yes.”
And Mary said, “Will you paint a circus?”
“I might,” I said.
Then Mary said, “Tonight I am going to dream of the circus.”
Sweet dreams Mary.