Joyce’s chat column


Well here I am back from my Jamaican travels and looking a little darker in colour than when I went out there, it was an excellent trip and a hotel to die for. Talk about being pampered, well it certainly was that, just about everything one could wish for ­– it really was a hotel that was ‘your wish was their command’ and this was a holiday that I will tuck in my memory bank forever. (Yes, thanks Joyce – we are all very jealous now – Steph)

Talking of holidays I hope that Mick Kennedy and his wife Pin are enjoying their visit to Thailand and are in a safe area after the recent flooding there. When I was chatting to Mick before they departed from the UK, both him and Pin had fingers crossed that all would be OK.  They were going to stay with Pin’s mum and apparently there was very little flooding in the area she lives in, mind you Mick says they are taking wading boots with them just in case!!  Hope you enjoy your holiday whatever Mick and that you get back in time for your Christmas party at Harry Levy’s which I’m sure Colin Mallery will be in full singing voice, as I’m informed he’s quite a good vocalist and entertainer.

Now who told me about Colin’s singing talents? Well it was our friend Tom Pugh, who says he remembers attending some of the Deith parties (those were the days) and Tom said that usually by the end of the party both him and Colin would be entertaining guests with their singing, sometimes even doing a duet.  Shame that in all my time at the Scottish shows Colin that I never heard you sing, I know you managed to find some great acts for the evening party we used to have, but it looks as if you could have looked closer to home and given us all a real treat.  Maybe Colin, Harry could use your talented singing voice on one of his machines, that would be novel for sure and who knows it could end up being a great selling machine and one thing is that customer’s couldn’t accuse Herry Levy’s of not giving a back-up service as Colin would be with them all the time.

A name from the past that was mentioned to me recently was Graham Maddox, who was well known in the Thomas Organisation.  Graham was an arcade manager and bingo caller for Jimmy Thomas’s Showboat arcade at Longton, Stoke-on-Trent. He then achieved the position of regional manager followed by area manager and finally northern regional operations director.  Graham was in this last position at the time when Jimmy Thomas sold to Rank and unfortunately they streamlined the team and Graham was made redundant.

Not one to sit back and do nothing Graham opened up an arcade in Longton and when he decided to sell it guess who bought it from him, yes Rank!!  Graham was a lover of long distance and fell walking and decided to move to Scotland, but he’s now left there and has settled his roots in the sunny climes of Cyprus, lucky you Graham, and if I’m honest I think Cyprus far outweighs both Longton and Scotland, and I’m a bit envious when I think of you getting all that sunshine.

I met ITM’s Jean Thomas recently for lunch, something we have been promising ourselves for 5 or 6 years, and eventually we made, it’s hard to believe that Jean just lives around 5 miles away from me and yet we never seem to see each other, apart from at the shows, and let’s be honest we don’t get much time to chat at these.  We had a lovely lunch in a pub – of course – and we both thoroughly enjoyed being able to catch up with each other and put the world to right.  We have decided that we should become ‘Ladies that lunch’ more often and have said we will definitely not wait 5 or 6 years again. Mind you one thing about it, it’s probably very good for the diet and figure, or so one might think, not sure on the figure part on my side!!

I’d like to say thanks to Stuart Keane for his appreciation of my previous column regarding his late son Shaun, and I hope you’ve all remembered your donations, and just keep sending them no matter how large or small every little helps. The address for donations is Mrs Irene Beard, Sheffield Institute Foundation for MND, 64 Elgin Crescent, London W11 2JJ and mark all donations In Memory of Shaun Keane.  Stuart is grateful for all the donations received, and says a big thank you from the bottom of his heart.

I hope you have all or many of you anyway have been following the programme Fairground Attractions on Channel 5, it has centred around John Carter’s travelling Steam Fair, Barron Coupland’s travelling fair and Henry Danter’s permanent fairground attractions and it has been very interesting, and has given an insight into their lives.  It has shown how hard it is for the travelling fairs in this day and age, not only the set up of these events which has always been hard work, but how things have changed over the years and how people’s trends have altered too. Whereas at one time everyone went to the fair when it came to town and the fairground people could be assured of a decent living, these days it is very much a hit and miss game, but as we all know the fairground operators are brought up in the business with most of them going back generations, so they find it hard to be able to do anything else and tradition is so important to them.  I hope that the travelling fairs are a tradition for many years to come, but I must admit I do have my doubts about this in this ever-changing world.

Well I suppose you are all getting prepared for Christmas, I am slowly getting sorted and will make it all happen for the festive season.  Anyway whatever you are doing and wherever you are I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and just enjoy it no matter what.

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