On Saturday, I will be taking my niece and nephew to a beer festival. Which is not quite as daft as it sounds, the Basingtoke Octoberfest is a family orientated fun day with all sorts of things to do for children. My niece and nephew are aged 6 and 8 respectively.
However, there is a big cloud hanging over this years annual outing with them; the question of The Helter Skelter. Two years ago, there was a Helter Skelter, a giant slide (which cost £2 per child per go, I think I could have bought my own Helter Skelter I gave them so much money!) that both children adored. Last year, all the promotional material had pictures of the Helter Skelter on it, the posters advertising Octoberfest showed the Helter Skelter, the banners across town proudly displayed the Helter Skelter. My nephew in particular was beside himself, no, wild with excitement about the Helter Skelter. He told all his friends at school he would be attending the beer festival (I’m not sure how my sister explains that to his school) and how he would be riding on the brilliant slide.
So picture the disaster when there was no Helter Skelter last year. My nephew was scandalized. Hands on hips, pouting lips, huge eyes on stalks with utter outrage, the day was ruined as far as he was concerned.
My sister has already been on the phone regarding this years Octoberfest. My nephew has stated that “there had better be a Helter Skelter there”. With this in mind, I have made enquiries. This was not easy. Can you imagine the response I got from organisers of a beer festival when I, a grown-up, am ringing to enquire whether there will be a Helter Skelter there. At first, they were confused as to exactly what I was requiring. Did I want to bring a Helter Skelter? No. Did I want to know if the Victorian Funfair needs a Helter Skelter? No. Was I interested in having a trade stand there? No, no, no!
Eventually I got the personal mobile number of the head organiser of the festival and called her. I carefully explained my predicament. I stated my case; I just want to know if there will be a Helter Skelter at the beer festival this year, because last year there was not and it had ruinous consequences. The head organiser took me very seriously. She kept me on the line whilst she telephoned the museum on the festival site, who telephoned the site-manager who was at that minute erecting the fair. I heard her explaining that I did not have a Helter Skelter, I just wanted to know if there would be one. There was lots of h-mming and har-ring followed by a long silence (I suspected she moved away from my ear-shot and called me a nutter).
There will not be Helter Skelter this year.
In fairness to her, she listened whilst I ranted about false-advertising (regarding their promotional pictures) and asked her how I would go about breaking my nephews heart. She listened patiently whilst I explained the importance of the Helter Skelter and how it would now affect our decision of whether or not to attend this years festival. She remained professional and gave me the attention deserving of a Royal attendee, she invited me to bring my nephew into the craft and food tent where he would be wooed (though I can just imagine his disgust at being offered cheese and nibbles in place of a Helter Skelter) and tried to reasurre me that there was plenty of other things for chldren to do, but that I should not hesitate in approaching the organisers office if they could help me further. I don’t think so, it is one thing making demands over the telephone, it is quite another to make an exhibition of my self in public! I will however, have no qualms in sending my outraged little nephew into the directors office if he decides to make a formal complaint.
I will shortly be calling my dear sister to inform her of the bad news, which she may break to my nephew and save me from being the baddie.