Banana pianos and rolled ice cream

St Patrick’s Festival’ Dublin, Ireland: Day Three: Friday 17th March 2017

It’s always a delight to me when Fern gets involved in activities where her inner child can come to the surface. Her childlike wonder has never been lost. We went to the Big Day Out today, an event put on by the council with various stalls and initiatives including Sciencey stuff. Amongst the ‘stuff’ Fern tested the sugar content of water, apple juice, fizzy orange and coke. Fizzy orange came out on top with apple juice just behind. Who knew coke was good for you?

She had a go at some puzzles and looked like a true Scientist mucking about with test tubes and coloured liquid on another stall. Fern learnt that a liquid with high oil content would slowly float and settle above a liquid with a smaller concentration of oil. The teacher was so impressed with what Fern had created; she asked to keep hold of it as an example to others wanting a go. Fern’s clearly defined coloured layers may have had something to do with the fact that she’s not four years old as all the activities she was giving a go were meant for children.

My personal favourite though, was the ‘banana piano’. It was an electrical circuit of bananas that were linked to a tablet with a keyboard on the screen. Fern was asked to hold the earth wire to ground the circuit. She then proceeded to lift up each banana that activated a note on the screen.



As Fern played a variety of high notes she came across one banana that was a little off key. This piece of fruit was crowned the moody banana. The makey kit is something that I think many people at work would enjoy. It got me thinking of Teen Tech, Kevin Doig, Simon Stevenson and Jim Downie but also the Ten Pieces project at the BBC. This kit could definitely be used for something.


Fern and I discuss this as we walk around watching the entertainment. We’d been unsure after our lukewarm feelings towards yesterday’s events how today was going to turn out, but the Science alone has made the day. It’s dawning on Fern that now she has the sales experience, she wants to organise events and set up talent. There are loads of things from today that we’d take inspiration from for our own events. Crisps on skewers proved rather popular and I saw rolled ice cream for the first time. Fern had it in Greece and she said Time Out London have been talking about it like it’s was the next big thing.

It’s ice cream made like a pancake but instead of a hot pan the mix goes on a cold surface and then rolled to create a rose like design. I could have watched the guys on the stall for hours. It’s like watching an experienced bricklayer put mortar on a brick so fast, clean and skilled. Rolled ice cream is definitely the painting and decorating equivalent of the dessert world. They even use scrapers to make it with the same technique decorators use to remove wallpaper from walls.

Aside from the Science, Fern’s favourite part of the day was making a wish in the garden. For each carefully crafted rose you placed on the tree you could make a wish. The Big Day Out has certainly got Fern thinking about what her next career move could be. And who knows, whatever that wish was, it could come true.

As for me, it seems like any kind of bush cut into a shape, or topiary as it’s known, makes me happy. And I’ve learnt that the giant peanut I saw at the St Patrick’s Day Parade is actually a giant spud named Tayto. He’s a bit of an Irish celeb.

Evermore enlightened I leave Dublin. I now know my potatoes from my peanuts. An important lesson learnt.

Written and edited by Kris Bramwell

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