Monday, 15 June 2009

Remember The Elephant

In the early 1970's my parents arranged a family camping holiday for us to Exmouth in Devon.Nearby to our campsite was the Sandy Bay Holiday Park. It's still there, although one would hope in a much more modernised form. The amusement area had many exciting attractions for a young boy. A walk along a wooded footpath, lit at night with many colours, Smuggler's Walk, they called it. Little coin operated cars, with real working headlights, that could be driven around a small oval circuit. However, the wonder of all wonders was a very large, mechanical elephant.

The creator of this magnificent beast would sit in a seat just behind the head, at the controls. For a price one could sit in seats arranged, pannier style on it's back the elephant would then "walk" around the amusement area.

I don't recall ever having a ride on it. Perhaps I was too small, although I can't believe that at that time the lunacy of health and safety would have been an issue. Perhaps it was too expensive. Who knows the reasons, what I am sure is that had I been lucky enough, I would remember.

The following year, we returned to Sandy Bay. I can remember the disappointment to find that the elephant was standing forlorn, unused and somewhat the worse for wear in the same place that I had last seen it.

Enquiries were made. It transpired that the man who had made the elephant had sadly passed away during the year that we had been absent. I also turned out that he was the only person who knew how to operate the machine. I should imagine that it's fate was pretty much sealed at that time and it would have been consigned to the scrap heap.

It is human nature to try to accumulate knowledge. To some, knowledge is power. However, it would seem that knowledge that isn't shared is wasted.