History -  Summer Job

Having embarked upon the academically difficult prospect of an Engineering degree 'plan B' took shape as I became a lighting DJ at the resort's largest venue ('Ritzy Nightclub') and sought summer work on the Amusement Park at Clarence pier - 'Fun Acres'. Having written a job application I got in and was immediately put on Dodgems a physically demanding dullsville of a job, as much a test of my resolve as skill. Almost immediately the poor manger of the park, who resided in the dodgem box, became bombarded with "if you want to make more cash put me on that Wheel".(well it seemed a good strategy to appeal to his more predictable instincts) The Paratrooper, Ghost train, Helter skelter and Round up followed but after three weeks the battle was won. The wheel was mine and the manger's life could return to normality.

Every morning it was inspected, cleaned (How could people dare to be sick on it?) and prepared for business. I kept my word to the manager. The takings rocketed as I saw it as a battle of ego's as to how well 'my ride' could do. Wheels are generally tricky as they take time to load, so I developed methods of unloading 3 cars simultaneously and operating the ride with a mix of new and old passengers- my predecessors had always emptied the wheel fully before reloading- terrifically inefficient! (I even touted for business around the park when quiet- not really the done thing! "don't go on that, come over here and I'll give you a decent long ride").

The only conflict with the manager came one bank Holiday when he told me "No more than 3 times round" this following a queue of at least 20 minutes. I said a flat NO. There was no way I was going to rip off the punters, "think long term-think repeat business". Hard to believe it now, but the queue was 50 yards long and right around the Ghost Train. I understood the pressure he was under. These busy times really matter, the ride would typically take about 60% of its daily takings between 14.30-15.45, a small window of opportunity really. Sure they got a shorter ride but not 3 times round!

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 © Richard A. Ryan 2008. 

Richard below the wheel Clarence pier
Richard below the wheel
 at Clarence pier

Richard operating the ferris wheel Richard operating the wheel

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