This is a serious subject for me.

It shouldn’t be, of course.

But it is.

The Claw. 

The shadow of the threat of failure.

Has been there in any business I’ve started.

And I’ve started 9 businesses.

So I know the feeling.

The shadow of failure is there in my current businesses, too.

It is very real.

But it is no match for the pressure I feel.

When I pop £1 into those claw machines at funfairs.

As my 3 year old daughter stands next to me.

Looking up at me.

Pointing at Toy Story’s Woody.

And asking me to win it for her.

Now that – is pressure.


I have been at Chessington Adventure Park this weekend.

And whilst it delivers on The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom and more.

Those ‘Claw’ machines remain a conundrum.


I know they are a game of chance.

Because the signs on the machines tell me that.

But 3 year olds don’t care about that.

Izobel just wants me to put a ‘penny pound’ into the machine and grab a Forky.

Or a Woody.

Or a Buzz.

Dad thing. 

Is this a me thing?

Or a dad thing?

Or is this a mum thing, too?

I can’t fathom it.

I just know that the tension is real.

It makes me irrational.

And worried.

Irrational because if some guy came from behind a bush and said:

Psst. Here. I’ll sell you one. £10 ok?

I wouldn’t want one.

I want to win.



All is well.

Because I won a Ducky this weekend.

A fringe character from Toy Story 4.

Enough for Izobel.

And enough for me.

And the good news is that I won Ducky for a teeny-tiny, measly £1.

On my (about) fiftieth go.



  1. First, it is a Dad thing. Primal hunter-gatherer bollix.

    Second, you were literally minutes from our house. I could have fed and watered you at some point over the weekend.

    Next time you are that close pop in. We’re Northerners, the front door is always open for our neighbours, however far away they happen to live.

    • Ah! Yes; I’ll pop in when around again. If that’s OK thank you.

      My awareness of geography is truly awful.


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