When Zippos Circus set up its big tent in Glasgow, reporter Fiona McKay went along to investigate...
THE big top, clowns, acrobats ... almost everyone thinks the same things when they hear the word 'circus'.
But what is life like for the performers behind the razzle dazzle?
Zippos, one of the UK's top touring circuses, has been on the road for 25 years, and so when I was asked to come and see the faces behind the make-up of the show, I jumped at the chance.
My first introduction of the day was to performing royalty, "circus princess" Yasmine Smart, the granddaughter of circus legend Billy Smart.
Growing up was like "Disneyland" she said, before introducing me to Diamond, her grey Andalusian stallion.
"I usually train the horses from nine to 11, and then I have some free time until about 4pm. But that can change because it all depends on when the show is."
The equestrian, who also boasts 'ringmistress' as a previous title, has been with Zippos for two years and shows off the circus' Palominos, as well as her own stallion.
She added: "We have one thing we do religiously with the girls and that's a 'Ladies' Night' on a Friday when we take turns at hosting an evening in each other's caravans."
One of these ladies is Romanian Andrea Mihut, 30, who makes up one half of the clown team, the Duo Delbosq. They are in their first year with Zippos.
Painting my face and making me a clown for the day is the other half of her team, fiance Emile Delbosq, 28, from France.
As he applies my red nose, he tells me he is the 11th generation of performers in his family and persuaded the trapeze artist, Andrea, to join him as a clown when they first met.
Now, 13 years later, they have a four-year-old son, Lewis, and will marry this year.
Andrea said: "People ask me, 'How you do it?' but it's not that hard.
"I gave birth and then three weeks later I was back on the road. I couldn't wait."
Will Lewis be joining them as a clown, I ask?
Emile says that will be up to him when he is older, but school will have to come first.
I get the impression that when the time is right, the clown duo will more than likely become a trio.
Circus was also in the blood for ringmaster Norman Barrett.
First making his entrance in the ring when he was 12, the 76-year-old also performs his world-renowned budgie act in Zippos.
He said he was born into the trade after his father, a farmer, had run away to the circus because he was good with animals.
Norman said: "This is not work to me, this is me being me. I'm not acting, I'm just having a good time."
But it's not just children being born into the circus who are performers now, you get lots of newcomers going to circus schools, who build their skills and come from there.
The main thing that everyone shares, he says, is that knowing the circus is not just a job, it is a way of life.
"We just don't want to do anything else," he said.
As he balances a budgie on my head, I believe him.
Zippos Circus is at Victoria Park, Glasgow, until Sunday, before performing in Falkirk from July 3-8 and Stirling from July 9-11.