Running away with the circus may be a flight of fancy to joke about.
But for young juggler Max Salthouse it’s a dream come true.
Mum knew that joining the circus was what I wanted to do, and has stuck by me in every way possibleMax Salthouse
The 16-year-old is back on home turf this week after a year on the road with the Charles Chipperfield Circus, as it sets up on Jubilee Gardens at Cleveleys.
Just four days after completing his GCSE exams at Cardinal Allen Catholic High School, in Fleetwood, last summer he had auditioned for and joined the circus as it entertained crowds in Devon and Cornwall.
Until Monday, the circus is back up north, with Max performing as part of the Spanish clowning family Los Remaches, who have taken him on and are training him as a clown.
Max, who goes by the stage name Phillipe, fell in love with the circus aged just three when he was taken to see the Tower Circus, and after several visits a year throughout his childhood,
“I just knew it was what I wanted to do in my life,” he said. “I worked as a juggler in my spare time when I was at school, having taught myself and having lessons at Blackpool Circus School - who helped with my confidence.
“Then I left school on the Wednesday, and was in the ring on Saturday.
“I’ve helped out in the ring with other clowns, but the first time I went out there by myself it was a little bit scary - but as soon as the music started, the nerves went out of my head and I got a rush.”
Max said he was excited to be performing so close to home and seeing family and friends in the audience.
And it’s the first time he’ll see his mym Lynn since February, after a break over Christmas.
“Mum knew that joining the circus was what I wanted to do, and has stuck by me helping me in every way possible,” Max said.
“Everyone here is like a family, though, there’s always someone you can talk to if you have got a problem.
“The year has gone pretty quickly, and it has been tough at times although any arguements or anything like that is forgotten as soon as you are in the ring.
“When I’m putting my make up on, I turn into a different person.
“Los Remaches are fantastic, they’ve really taken me under their wing. I cherish every minute I get to spend with them and in working for such a big name circus.”
Life on the road with the circus is a pretty different world to that of other teenagers.
Max won’t be 17 until August, and while he’s not old enough to drive he has bought a caravan to live in - although another member of the circus team tows it for him.
And like many a teenager, his mum’s been recruited to help tidy it up this week.