I drive past a circus school each morning on my way to work. It’s just across the road from The River, which often swirls in mist on Winter’s mornings. The mist crosses the road and twirls its way around the circus school too. It has trapezes and foofie slides and swings, all with nets underneath them to catch any acrobats that might miss their grip. I watched with fascination a couple of years ago when the red-and-white-striped tent appeared. One morning I saw the huge poles, with the canvas lying curled on the ground between them, a stripy, sleeping cat.
The next morning it was up, magnificent in it’s candy stripes, a place of childhood dreams. I could smell the straw scattered on the floor as we drove past and almost see the guy outside selling candy floss. It stayed up for a couple of days and then disappeared again, leaving only the giant poles, a string from one flapping in the wind. And then it was back, and it’s stayed since.
The thing is, though, that I’ve never seen a single person there. I imagine it is a place for circus ghosts, who play at night, swinging from trapeze to trapeze, sometimes falling to the net below and giggling with glee. Then, when they are breathless from foofie-sliding and mid-air somersaulting, they sit together in that striped tent and eat candy floss and tell fabulous tales of circus people and travelling through foreign lands, the sawdust fragrant beneath their ghostly feet.