Haslemere Fringe Festival and why we’ve never been before

It’s (allegedly) Summer. ‘Tis the season for fetes, fairs and festivals. What fun! Or rather, what fun? If you have a child who is all to easily over stimulated then the summer events season can be hard work. We’ve had mixed results with summer fairs . When Oscar was younger they always resulted in at least one of us leaving in screaming tears. And over the years that’s made us wary. But I’ve said it before, it’s not up to us to just assume what Oscar can and can’t handle, what he will or won’t enjoy. Regardless of his Autism, he changes all the time and if we don’t keep giving him the opportunity to try things, how will he, or we, ever know what works and what doesn’t? It’s for him to tell us if he likes something or not. Which is why we decided to go to our local summer fair, the Haslemere Fringe Festival (otherwise known as Lion Fest) today.

We’ve never gone along before, for various reasons. Firstly, it’s on a local green which is flanked on two sides by busy roads, which scares the bejaysus out of me. Secondly it’s just so busy, what if he can’t cope? Yep, I think quite a lot of not attending has been to do with my fear of the unknown and, if I’m honest, of my inability to control the situation. And that’s not fair on Oscar. We walked past the festival being set up several times this week and Oscar was most interested. He told me it was ‘a party’ and that he could see ‘ladders’. He also told me he wanted to ‘go to the party’. This year they had fenced the entire operation in, meaning I only needed to fear the unknown element 😉 . And that’s my problem and not his. So today we went.

We nearly had a false start, as after walking down there and him getting very excited to ‘pay the lady’, we realised we didn’t have enough cash. We waited while Ben ran off to get some and while waiting is not Oscar’s strong suit, and he did get a little upset, it did also give him a chance to check the site out from the other side of the fence. By the time we’d paid to get in he knew exactly which ride he wanted to go on first. And so he did.

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He loved this ride and went on it twice. Once in a helicopter and once in a plane.

He then decided the Big Wheel was next, however I could see he needed the loo. He’s getting quite good at giving me signals when he needs to go and today he also announced he needed the ‘bathroom’. As we’d gone sans nappy today, we ran (and he held on) until we reached the other end of the fayre, where he had his first experience of a urinal (with a little help from daddy!). What a guy! When he was done he headed straight back to the Big Wheel, which he announced he wanted to go on with Daddy. And when your child asks like that, you pack away your fear of heights and you do it. Thank you Ben!

Oscar looked so happy the whole time he was on the Big Wheel.

Wave to Mummy! Oscar looked so happy the whole time he was on the Big Wheel.

Then as soon as that was done he headed off to the inflatable slide and then the bouncy castle. What larks!

He he comes!

He he comes! Happy Boy

But my favourite moment of the afternoon has to be when he announced he wanted to go to ‘the farm’. I wasn’t sure when he meant, until I remembered we’d seen a music tent near the loos, with bales of hay for seating. He happily led the way and we were confident enough to let him run ahead without needing to be holding on to him. We sat in the tent and watched the young girl singing. Oscar also told us she was ‘playing a guitar’. Which she was.

I guarantee this is cutest picture you'll see today

I guarantee this is cutest picture you’ll see today

Mummy and daddy enjoying the music too!

Mummy and daddy enjoying the music too!

One of the hardest parts was leaving. We softened the blow by going home in stages, first to the park where he had a great time sliding, swinging and playing on the roundabout with a new friend. Then on the way home we stopped into Dylan’s Ice Cream. I’d won a competition to design a flavour for the festival and my prize was free ice cream. Thank you very much! My winning entry was Lion Bar (for Lion Fest geddit!) flavour, and I tell you it has ruined me for other flavours. Delicious!

Chocolate, Caramel, Wafers and Rice Crispies. Oh. My. Gawd!

Chocolate, Caramel, Wafers and Rice Crispies. Oh. My. Gawd!

Going to Haslemere Fringe Festival was a bit of a spur of the moment decision, not something I do often with Oscar. But today it worked. Yes it was expensive to get in, just to pay for him to go on the few rides and not really enjoy any of the other things on offer such as the live bands or the market stalls. But do you know, he had an unbelievably good time, with waiting and queuing and running but not running off and laughing and big smiles. Oscar won’t necessarily smile when he’s having fun, but I can tell you now, he doesn’t smile if he’s not. And today he did. Loads.

 

Our Favourite Five – June

This months I’m joining in fellow Surrey mummy Suburban Mum‘s link up Our Favourite Five. The idea is to look back over your family’s month and pick out five things all of you (or some of you, see #1!) have enjoyed. Here’s my five for June.

1. Team Umizoomi

Milly, Geo, Bot and YOU! Yes, I’m singing the theme tune in my sleep. Sigh. The pattern making, number counting cartoon is the boy’s new favourite and we’ve been watching it most days this month. In some respects it’s incredibly sweet to watch him running down the garden (or across our bedroom!) shouting ROLL, JUMP, RUN with all the actions included. But on the other hand if I have to listen to Milly singing badly, one more time, I just may cry. I shouldn’t complain I suppose, it’s got him counting everything (he still has a blind spot for 7, but he made it up to 13 this morning!) and at least it’s not Thomas again. But I have to say, I’m kinda happy he’s just discovered Dangermouse. Hopefully Team Umizoomi will be a brief phase. Everybody craaaaazy shake?18-00016

2. Dylan’s Ice Cream

You probably already know how much I love this place. I’ve been going to Dylan’s Milk Barn every week to sit peacefully, use their fab wifi, drink their great coffee and write, since Oscar started preschool in January. However recently Oscar has discovered that he loves and I mean LOVES ice cream. The unbribeable child, is still unbribeable, but can suddenly be ‘encouraged’ out of a situation by the promise of an ice cream cone. He can also ask for it. ‘Eye chick a Mom’ anyone? I think I’ll be heartbroken when he starts pronouncing that properly. Anyway we’ve been finding ourselves in Dylan’s at least once a week throughout June for a chocolate ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. We even took grandma on her recent visit. She was most impressed. It’s simply the kind of independent business I love to support, with a great team behind them. The owner, Ben, is always friendly and when I promised the boy an ice cream the other day then realised I’d left my purse at home, he was kind enough to let me pay later. What a great guy and what a great asset to the community.

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3. Netflix

We’ve had a Netflix subscription since Oscar was born. It was a god send then and over the years we’ve become more and more reliant on it. I’m not a big fan of any of the biggies. Ben loves OITNB and House of Cards and Breaking Bad, you know, all the series with the hype. Me, I’m more of a comedy girl and I love a good documentary. However this month I’ve noticed we hardly ever put the real telly on any more. If it wasn’t for Masterchef I don’t know if we ever would! Ben’s been enthralled by the new series of House of Cards and I binge watched Grace and Frankie. Oscar’s favourite on Netflix (for what feels like years) has been Thomas and Friends. However this month Netflix removed all it’s Thomas content. When I realised, I was panicked. How would I explain it to the boy? How would he, or I for that matter, cope? But do you know. He’s been fine and easily distracted with new favourites of Team Umizoomi (see #1), the beautiful animation of Eric Carle’s stories (narrated by Roger McGough and Juliet Stevenson, set to the most relaxing music. He can now say ‘caterpillar’. Only he pronounces it Bagaladar. Biiiig Fat Bagaladar.), and the 80’s kids favourite Dangermouse. Phew! It’s worth every penny of the subscription just to be able to sit down and say ‘what do you fancy?’. Yeah we love Netflix.

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4. Gin Bunny Prints

Nothing to do with the liquor (I’m not a gin drinker myself) but rather the fabulous online greetings card and print store. I’ve had call to buy several cards this month. We’ve had our Anniversary and it was Father’s Day (I know those of you with older children can probably rely on a card made grudgingly lovingly by your children, but I couldn’t be sure if Oscar would perform on the day, so needed an alternative!). I’ve spoken before about how much I’m trying to support independent traders more and when I discovered Katie’s Blog Hurrah for Gin and her online print store Gin Bunny Prints, I just knew she had me covered this month. Her cards are so simple and so funny and just so much more relevant to today than anything you’d find in the shops. In fact I loved them so much, that while buying the anniversary and father’s day offerings I couldn’t resist one for my awesome friend Bethany, just because it was hilarious and I knew she’d also find it hilarious! I promise you I’m not on any kind of commission, but if you’re looking for beautifully made, relevant cards I urge you to check out Gin Bunny Prints. Surely the name alone tells you how awesome this store is 😉 .

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5. The Royal Oak, Haslemere

Hahaha, I know what you’re thinking and no I haven’t been sneaking off for a crafty gin in the day (see above, I’m not a gin drinker 😉 ) but The Royal Oak has become my new favourite hang out with the boy this month. Last week, I decided I needed to stop being so scared of taking Oscar out on my own, beyond the places we are already familiar with (park, Children’s Centre etc). Because he can be somewhat unpredictable, and because I don’t have a car to bundle him into should things go awry, I’ve been somewhat reticent to try new places, without the back up of daddy. But last Thursday, it was a beautiful day and I decided to just go for it. As it happens the Oak is only four doors down from us, but has a large garden with lots of toys. I figured a) it was likely to be quiet and b) if it all went wrong I could probably carry Oscar home. Baby steps as they say. But seriously it couldn’t have been a better place to start. He walked there holding my hand and once in the garden just played and played and played. He occasionally came back to the table to eat a chip and get a drink of water, but other than that he was in his element. I was right, it was quiet, but he didn’t bother the few people who were there. As long as I made sure the gate to the car park stayed closed and bolted (it did) and that he didn’t head towards the pub itself (he didn’t) I realised the Oak’s garden was a fantastic place to take him. The food is OK, it’s no gastro pub for sure and I’m not sure I’d want to take him on a weekend when it’s likely to be much busier, but a lunch date in the week? Yeah, I think we’ll be frequenting the Oak this summer 🙂

The Royal Oak, Haslemere

The Royal Oak, Haslemere

I promise there is only coke and water in this picture!

I promise there is only coke and water in this picture!

Lunch with my guy

Lunch with my guy

The playhouse is pretty shabby chic, but makes for awesome photos ;)

The playhouse is pretty shabby chic, but makes for awesome photos 😉

Playing nicely with the one other child there

Playing nicely with the one other child there

Have you enjoyed anything new this month? Any revelations? Let me know – I love discovering new ideas of things to try.