Emma Beddington tries … the Cyr wheel: ‘I’m about as supple as an ironing board’

I have always dreamed of joining the circus and thought this could be the skill for me. Do I have the guts and grace to start spinning around?

I love the circus. The first time I took my infant sons – their chubby faces bathed in multicoloured lights, tiny minds blown – we emerged to find a freak snowstorm had transformed the car park into a hushed, white wonderland, as if the circus had VIP access to the weather. At another circus in a Yorkshire field, a tame fox sat on a shetland pony as it ambled around, occasionally stopping to graze on the straw bales demarcating the ring, and two women of a certain age in flesh-coloured catsuits, gyrated slowly. They were both amazing. I devoured Josser, Nell Gifford’s account of running away to join the circus, and dream of doing the same; a life of sawdust and greasepaint, not spreadsheets and Google docs.

But the circus doesn’t need a writer, so what could I do? I’m as supple as an ironing board and recently managed to put my back out chopping apples, so acrobatics and feats of strength are out. I can’t be a clown either because I’m not funny, as readers often remind me.

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