Granddad was a coal miner. He worked down the pit for 40 years. He says all his life but he’s older than 40, he’s 67. I get told this a lot. Tells me I’ve not to do the same as him but I don’t know why. He likes to show me his hands. They’re big, they look like the hands of The Incredible Hulk but not green. Sometimes to show me how strong they are he squeezes my knee really hard until I submit.
Yesterday he got his pension so today we can go to the Burntisland Fair because Dad doesn’t have to work or have to go and see Mum. The shows are brilliant. When they come to the big park here, there’s things they won’t let kids on because they’re dangerous like the Waltzers but at Burntisland it’s better and there’s loads more stuff to do. We went there once with Mum when I was 6. This time Granddad says it’s just the men. That’s Granddad, Dad and me. And I’m allowed to take my trunks to go in the sea. I’m getting really excited.
I sit in the back of the car and watch as we cross the Forth Road Bridge, we have to stop and pay to cross but when you’re on the bridge you can see for miles. The Railway Bridge is better though. From far away it looks a bit like a dinosaur but close up it’s like giant criss cross mechano. I look for the men that paint it because once its painted they have to start again because it takes so long but I don’t see anyone. I don’t see any trains crossing it either.
We get there a bit early because they don’t really open till the afternoon so Granddad says we can have a pub lunch. I have sausage roll and beans and chips and I cover the chips in tomato sauce. A drop of it falls onto my jumper but Granddad just laughs. I don’t think Dad notices so I don’t get a telling off. I rub the sauce into my jumper to make it go away and I laugh as well. Dad’s not very hungry so he just has some beer. Granddad even gives me 5p to put in the game machine but I don’t really know how to work it so the game finishes quite quick.
After our pub lunch we go to the park and the shows are open and I run to see what there is. There’s hardly anybody here because it’s still early so we don’t have to queue. I go on the dogems first with Granddad because Dad says he’s ok just to watch and anyway his can might spill if he’s on the dodgem. Granddad puts his cap on me and says I’m like Jackie Stewart, who I think must be a friend of his. If I pull the steering wheel down to one side we just go in circles. It’s like when I’m doing aeroplanes and just running round and round in circles. It’s brilliant and I won’t get so dizzy because we’re sitting down. Even dad is laughing at us. I get two shots on the dodgems.
Then we go to throw ping pong balls in the clown’s mouth and you can win a prize. I don’t win anything but the ping pong ball bounces off the clown’s face and back to me because I threw it too hard and I caught it so I get a free shot. I laugh a bit because I’m not really that good at catching things. The prizes are goldfish. There’s loads of them hanging in plastic bags. They don’t move very much they just look out at you with big black eyes. So it’s OK I don’t win anything here.
Dad asks if I want to go on the Haunted House but I’m not sure. They won’t come on it with me and Dad calls me a wee scaredy cat. I am a bit scared but I tell him I’m not. I’m not doing it by myself. He pushes me a bit to make me go on it but Granddad says I don’t have to if I don’t want to. Then Dad gets a bit annoyed and pushes me again but Granddad just says ‘Gerry’ and it’s OK after that.
After that we go to the plastic ducks that go round the stall on real water so it looks like they’re swimming. This is a bit hard because the ducks are actually quite heavy and they’re not really that close, especially for a kid. But I lean over and hook three of them and get a prize. Most of the prizes are cuddly toys and teddies. Dad says they are for girls but Granddad sees a little toy tank that has a soldier with it. So that’s a good prize for a boy. I do some other stuff then have a candy floss even though I already had custard at lunch. If my teeth fall out I’ll just get falsers, loads of people have them.
To get to the beach we cross under the railway line. I wait for a few minutes until the train comes and it’s like loud thunder in the tunnel. Granddad says it might fall down because the train is too heavy. I run out of the tunnel screaming but he was just kidding me on. I knew that anyway. Maybe the train is going across the big Railway Bridge because we’re not far away. When we get to the beach I just paddle because it’s not really summer or even that warm.
Granddad drives back because Dad’s tired. He’s drunk loads of beer that’s why he’s tired. Granddad sings his favourite song by Elvis and I sing the bit that I know. ‘That’s the wonder, the wonder of you.’ That’s the chorus I think. I move right behind the driver’s seat and sing into his ear and we sing it in quiet voices so not to wake Dad. It’s a lovely song and Granddad sings it nice. It’s his song for my gran. I can see his face in the wee mirror and I can see he’s sad. I think for a minute he’ll cry but he doesn’t. He’s my granddad. When we get home Dad’s still snoring so Granddad stops and whispers to get out the car and we go to the chippy and I have a bag of chips for dinner. This is the best day ever.