There’s something about the magic of Winterville that can conjure a festive stir within the most Grinch-like souls. Be it the glinting lights, couples and groups huddled together sipping on mulled wine, the multiple alluring aromas of hot food all do warm the soul at the approach of Christmas.
Nothing is more ominous but in the same instance inescapably alluring, like a Santa waiting to receive and deliver on all your Christmas wants, than a sight of an ice skating rink. At around 7pm in the evening the ice when skates caress its blue luminous glare the ice has a light watery glaze. Perfect for a skater who knows how to skate but needs a little time gripping the barriers that line the edges, to find their feet.
There is something captivating about how free spirited people become when they’re faced with the once familiar prospect of taking confident strides on the ice with skates firmly in place on feet. If you drop, stewards are dotted around the rink ready to help you re-establish what being vertical is like. Fellow skaters forget their own skating insecurities and try to assist on the come up. Freely words of encouragement are passed between randoms and all but soon enough the temporary ambling on skates like a baby calf resumes.
Then there’s ‘Plonk Golf’, an unusual addition to the typical Christmas fair scene. Demonstrating the fact that Hackney will and always have an unfamiliar and heterogeneous approach to, basically, everything. The hole of the night had to be the leg with halved tyres each forming a loop supposedly looking to aid and enhance one’s golfing experience with a pot.
Many tried. Several failed but joy comes from trying and succeeding.
In a group the experience has added sparkle effect when a highly strung member, which all in the will eventually become, pots a hole. Don’t be fooled. The Tiki eye candy are distractions. Stay focused and you will succeed.
What is a Christmas fair without bumper cars? To be honest, haven’t a clue what those type of fairs should be called. Bog standard bumper cars are one thing are a separate forgettable entity. Winterville deals in the elaborate penguin variety.
The only way to describe the feeling of the penguin mobiles is a little boy I saw; first sat by his mum giving her the orders on who to bump and when. After his third go, his parents motioned for him to follow them to make an exit. After all, it was 10pm. Winterville was closing. He then yanked down on his dad’s right arm with all of his might and let out long whiny, “Noooooo!” As cute as he was I felt his pain. One can never have too much penguin bumping.
With Winterville closing its gates for the year on the 23rd December, and Christmas in less than three days, it’s about time to jump in feet first into the festivities.
Photography & Words by N.O.W.