SPARCS Messtival 2019

Today was the first “proper” day of the holidays, in my opinion. After three mental days of packing in the activities, I was ready for a break. But, no rest for the wicked – we had Messtival tickets. I’d heard very good things about SPARCS, mainly around them being organised and running a good service, so I was optimistic despite crippling anxiety!

Since neither of us are good with crowds or queuing, we decided to be fashionably late, arriving around an hour after it started. An hour before the event started, and long before I left home, I checked their Facebook to get the postcode as I’ve never actually attended something with them before. That’s when I found out their car park was closed and we would have to park a little way away, in the car park for the nearby religious building. I asked if there were alternative arrangements for disabled drivers – there was nothing. Turn up the anxiety levels a little.

We made it there in one piece, though I am glad I took my stick along because OMG I needed it! In the closed car park was all the activities – DLS Falconry, Northumbria Police, two tombola stalls, Rockpool School, messy sensory tables, an inflatable slide, the Double Decker Den, a sweetie cart and a dirt biking type display. Indoors there was also climbing apparatus, a foam pool, a trampoline and crash mats, a quiet room, a few stalls, and a tuck shop. One thing that stood out to me was that everything was very spaced out. Not a problem for most people, but for me, it was a lot of walking, a lot of spaces Jack could potentially run to which might take me a while to find him… I understand why it was spread out, but personally I’d not have used the whole space.

Initially, Jack wouldn’t engage with much, not even the police which he normally loves – he just wanted to go on the Double Decker Den! He really enjoyed that, and then we got some free sweeties from the candy cart,, won an egg and a watch on the tombola, and had a go on the slide before heading indoors where he had two small cupcakes and a donut, and I drank my coffee with my friend Ruth. While I was sitting, my phone rang. My man? He never calls, not when he’s at work. And here he was asking if everything was alright? Erm….yeah….

Apparently, one of the children had been trying to play with a policeman’s radio and it appears the child pressed the emergency button – which basically would usually trigger all available police in the area to attend the location! I looked outside and could see the officer on his radio looking rather horrified, and I assume he was shutting it all down. However, since the police appeared to be a big hit, another van came…

Just chilling in a riot van…

It was my man-creature and a few of his colleagues in a riot van! So we waddled over and Jack had a go in the van, got put in the cage in the back, had a sit in the front seat, and then ran around, excited to unexpectedly see his step-dad.

We then decided to all have a look at the falconry together. Something about the male presence made Jack want to display his own masculinity, and he asked to hold the biggest owl they had brought with them!

We didn’t catch her name, but this owl was very magestic!

He also held two rather adorable smaller ones called Hercules and Megatron (both of which were tiny despite their huge names!) and I was so impressed at how gently he handled the owls. After all this excitement though, by the time 3pm came around, I practically crawled the miles and miles back to the car. It’ll be an early night for us but it’s a relief that Jack has burned off some energy and hopefully he will sleep tonight!

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