When you realise you’re too old for the Links Market

You're never too old for a walk along the market.
You're never too old for a walk along the market.

If you grew up in Kirkcaldy, then this week would always have been a special one for you.

You waited all year as a child, often repeating the mantra ‘nothing ever happens in Kirkcaldy’, while seemingly bored to tears.

And then April arrives, something changes in the air, it starts getting warmer suddenly you can go outside to play more often.

But then it gets even better, the day you spot the first market ride on the back of a lorry rolling into town.

At last, the Links Market is here, and it’s all you talk about at school, excitedly talking with your pals about what rides are coming to town this year.

By Thursday morning some of your class will already have been lucky enough to visit on opening night, and by now there’s talk of the latest daredevil ride which is only for the bravest of kids.

There’s also a good chance this fantastic new ride is named after a recent blockbuster movie, like the Ghostbuster, the Terminator, or the Spider-Man 2.

Of course, even as a bairn, you don’t want to get caught going on the bairn’s rides. Oh no! Any ride which had a poorly-drawn Mickey Mouse on it was not one you wanted to be seen on.

Now all grown up, I explained this childhood excitement to my wife, who wasn’t lucky enough to grow up in Fife, and of course she was open to paying a visit to the Links Market.

Now old enough to know better, I dived at the opportunity to go on as many rides as possible. But now it was different. It lacked the excitement it had once held.

Nowhere was this more apparent that on the waltzers. The moment I sat down in the car it just felt wrong. Previously being spun around at high speed was the greatest thing ever.

But now everything seemed smaller, lower down. when it started to move I suddenly realised my folly.

As a child I’d been siting low in the waltzer, but now taller, my head was above the edge of the car. The resulting G-force meant my body and head were now dragged in different directions. Not fun.

It wasn’t the first time my grown-up experiences of the market had failed to match my nostalgia.

Several years earlier a friend and I had gone on the ghost train and after several plastic skeletons in the dark had failed to register any kind of fright, we came close to the end of the track.

Still in darkness, the car stopped about 6 feet from the exit door. It was then a shape became apparent in the darkness. It was a man stood leaning on the railings at the side of the track. He looked about 50-years-old, with a baseball cap on and a pair of dark blue jogging bottoms, smoking a cigarette.

He seemed almost oblivious to our presence as we sat there.

When he noticed us, he turned and took the cigarrette out of his mouth just long enough to mutter “boo!”, before the car moved on and came to the end.

Am I reminded with every visit that the Links Market doesn’t mean the same to me as an adult? Yes, it’s clearly for the kids.

But do I intend to go again this year anyway? Hell yes! Let’s have a blast out there!