Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Theme park

Here's a secret bit of Grit history. I grew up in Nottingham, and went to school opposite the Forest rec. Come the first Thursday of every October, there would be Goose Fair, one of the largest travelling fairs in Europe, right opposite the school. All the fourth and fifth formers were allowed at lunchtime to go to the fair across the road. We could be thrown about on twirling parachute rides, strapped into seats to be spun round and round while going up and down, and sucked up in the air to be plunged down one second later, leaving your stomach somewhere in the clouds. To my schooled peers, this was heaven. To me, it was agony. I used to try and wangle a day being ill so I could avoid being sick after coming off the cakewalk.

It's no better now. Last year I took Squirrel, Shark and Tiger to a kiddies theme park and the staff forced me on all the rides because the kids were under 120cm. This was misery. By the time I'd spun round in the giant tea cups with Squirrel dancing up and down thinking the whole thing is hilarious, it was about to be mother's demonstration of projectile vomit all over again.

You can probably guess we don't do theme parks. They're crowded, expensive, noisy, plastic, and I vomit. But today is different. Because today we have free tickets to a new theme park as part of its soft launch, so off we go. And in anticipation of this event, I've got Dig with me, who will have to go on all the rides instead of me. I just feel a bit sick in the car on the way.

But hey! First surprise! There are not many rides! Some strange plastic vegetables that sing, a few plastic pigs in a field, some Tesco carrots buried in woodchip and a few dinosaurs probably nicked from Norfolk.

And if this isn't enough to make me squeal with delight, what comes next? Shark, Squirrel and Tiger are measured at over 120cm! If it jiggles, spins, or bumps, I don't have to do it!

It gets better. Jol and Elibee and Mart are there and I get to do some quality chit-chat while Squirrel, Shark and Tiger are being jiggled, spun, and bumped about on the few rides that there are. They do rock-climbing, canoeing, being jiggled up and down in the jiggly up and down thing, they eat ice cream, play in the ball park, wear a puzzled expression in front of the plastic singing vegetables and go ooh and aah over some gravel.

So I'm going to count the day a success. No vomit, no jiggling, no being dragged on and off the teacups by a jumpy about Squirrel and no obligation to keep smiling or nod painfully when Squirrel, Shark and Tiger ask me if I am having fun.

Just sitting down, all day long, complaining, mostly about theme parks like this one. Bliss.

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