EDitorial ± 16-Jul-2002

Behold Camelot

Middle-one's birthday at the weekend - great to have your birthday on a Saturday - and, shortly after 9am, bloke with van & trailer knocks on the door of Broom Acres. Couple of mins later he wheels in a colourful compact package about the size of a small Zanussi fridge, and proceeds to unfold it, covering most of the grass. Goes back out, returns with pump, and whoosh! Ready for action in around ten seconds, one bouncy castle. Quite a sight.

Can't recall exactly when it was on, but did you catch that Time Team special from Orford, a short hop up the Suffolk coast? When Tony and the gang weren't sampling the goodies over at the smokehouse, they were knee-deep in artefacts taken from trenches in the grounds of the castle. These included patches of stretched pig-skin that had seemingly been smeared with a saffron-based dye to render them bright yellow, and a primitive form of valve. Contentiously, Mick Aston took these as evidence of a 12th century inflatable model predating the current stone structure.

As one small child bounces off, another bounces on, and so it goes

Inevitably the cons outweighed the pros in these early designs, hence their brief appearance as an archaeological curiosity.

Good Points

  • portable: surprise potential attackers by moving overnight
  • hoghide in plentiful supply for running repairs
  • no need for expensive masonic contract staff

Not So Good Points

  • nowhere to pin the elaborate tapestries
  • lack of a stable foothold not good when preparing boiling oil
  • two words: arrow slits
  • kept drifting around in the moat
  • serfs suffered collapsed lungs from constant exhalation
  • derision by visiting French: "we laugh at your air-filled fort!"
  • appalling hygiene conditions caused by no drain-away for latrines

Be seeing you!