Friday, 13 August 2010

And the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down

Thanks to the lovely Sun (gawd bless ‘er and all who sail in ‘er) we got to go to Alton Towers yesterday (let’s be honest, we couldn’t have afforded to go if we hadn’t had free tickets). Sorry, I’ll rant quickly and get it over with - £38 for an adult??? I suppose it’s justified if you get your money’s worth of being scared out of your wits but it seems steep if all you do is act as a glorified golf trolley. Note to theme parks – how about a subsidised ticket for non-riders? We could have neon brands on our foreheads to show we’re party-poopers and are Not To Be Allowed on Rides...

Anyhow, we picked up James’ friend Nathan at sparrow’s fart and hurtled up the motorway for four hours. Adrian argued that someone had to look after the Soul Puppy and that he would nobly pluck the short straw, eschew the joys of Nemesis and Oblivion, and take the SP to visit Thornbridge Brewery instead. Cue gnashing of teeth (why hadn’t I thought of that?). But hey, I figured that, for once, I could nail this pukka parenting lark. I could give the children a relaxed, calm, fun perfect day. Think about it - with a theme park, someone else has done the organising, no? There is endless entertainment and child-friendly food – no risk of boredom, curled sandwiches or nature raw in tooth and claw biting you on the bum. Seriously, what on earth can go wrong?

Umm, let’s try a thunderstorm. An all-afternoon monsoon with flashing lightning, growling thunder and pathways turned into log flumes. There is clearly some minor deity whose only purpose is to watch me and open the heavens every time I set foot in a theme park. I can still remember Legoland in a downpour, watching the children kicking water at one another while I swabbed mascara from my sodden cheeks.

I wouldn’t mind but I’d been a responsible adult for once, had checked the weather forecast (occasional light showers) and had even Taken Sensible Precautions and packed spare clothes, towels, umbrella. All of which became duly soaked.

Despite it all we had fun. The boys even coerced me onto the Rapids water-ride which was fab. And I dragged them into Hex which is absolutely mind-blowing (you think you’re doing a loop-the-loop while actually barely moving). I liked Alton Towers – more than most UK parks actually. It is well-designed around the park’s beautiful natural assets (lakes, trees, gardens, hills, copses). Food was good too – James and I had really good chicken fajitas while Nathan opted for the all-you-can eat pizza/pasta (£4.25 for kids). My only quibble – we had to sit through lunch twice as we wanted different things – why not go for a USA-style plaza with outlets round the edge and central seating so everyone can pick what they like and all eat together?

But in the last flurry to get onto rides we got seriously soaked. By the time Adrian arrived we were literally drenched to the skin. Luckily he’d been given a T-shirt by Thornbridge so I slipped into that while the boys put on swimming trunks and towels (the only dry bits of kit we had). With one pair of flipflops between them (and James’ bum covered in mud) they looked odd, to say the least, as they hopped (literally) into the service station. I could almost hear the thoughts. ‘Will you look at those boys? She’s got them in swimming trunks and won’t even buy them a pair of flipflops each, for pity’s sake.’



Ah well. We tried.

24 comments:

Sheena Ignatia said...

Glad you had a good time.

I just got soaked, but sometimes it's quite nice innit?

Michelloui said...

All my memories of theme parks and most day trips and many holidays in Britain have rain in them somewhere. I think there is a law somewhere that states something about it. Glad you had a good time regardless, how cool is that?! I'd probably have moaned far too much. You get lots of mum points. :)

Milla said...

classic last para! am having a geog struggle here (hey, you read my last blog, it's to be expected). Since when could Adrian pop into Alton Towers (with a bloody puppy ... OK OK, with THE bloody soul puppy) from where you live, or, durr, too little too late, is Thornbridge near AT ... (being a brewery, it's not a link I'm going to click on ..) Whatevs, great blog. Damn right about the pricing. We did one of these places, possible Drayton Manor which is vaguely civilised (what AM I saying?!?!) but only because used a shed load of Tesco vouchers. But SOME people must be paying full whack??

Exmoorjane said...

Sheena: I don't mind the odd soaking but prolonged drenching is grim. :(

Michelloui: My teeth were chattering too much to moan!

Milla: your last blog post was a cracker (go read everyone!)Yup, Thornbridge is a mere firkin's throw away from AT... Grr, we were meant to go to Drayton but missed the sell-by date on our tix. :(

Edward said...

Cracking blog. I feel sometimes that you do this just so that I don't have to.

Just to add to milla's thang about Drayton Manor - when we went it completely tipped down, and the cheap pac-a-macs we'd bought in the motorway services were heroically not up to the task.

Rob-bear said...

Alton Towers at £38. I think that's about $100.00 Cdn. Good grief! People must have money to burn!

As for the rain, living in the Monsoon capital of Canada, it's rain tomorrow, rain yesterday, more rain today. (A certain literary queen would most probably NOT be amused — that's our situation, too.) You have my sympathy, on account of the rain and Adrian's brilliant choice. (I take it that Jack was left to fend for himself. Poor Jack — or is that part of his ASBO?)

GoldenGirl said...

That last paragraph made me choke on my coffee! I am so with you on the concessions for those that don't want to ride! My two love theme parks, fortunately so does Smug Ex and his new Mrs, so they take them (using aforementioned Tesco/Nectar vouchers). I would certainly resent paying that much for chaperoning.

Don't get me started on the weather. It has been like October here today...ugh.

Exmoorjane said...

Edward: happy to endure so you can vicariously wince...anytime! Actually you've cheered me up as I was flogging myself for not buying the AT "waterproof" capes for us all.

Rob: Asbo was left behind indeed. He is a viciously bad traveller (actually I am twitching just thinking about him in the car for eight hours)...he looked happy and smug on our return.

GG: I am still snorting at what they thought. What I didn't say was that James said - 'people probably think I've pooed myself' - actually it DID look a bit suspect. So add to my crimes allowing my child to wander round with diarrhoea-draped shorts (and not being remotely bothered).

dulwich divorcee said...

Love the 'too mean to buy two pairs of flip flops' mother - did you give them one flip flop each to hop in? Excellent

Exmoorjane said...

DD@ yup - but, to be fair, they came up with that solution (I was going to leave them in the car and ferry out food!)

Sessha Batto said...

Ah, theme parks, I remember a week dragging through DisneyWorld with a broken foot, hauling the hubs 3 camera bags and an enormous duffle full of towel, extra clothes and approved (and prepaid) snacks - ACK!! That you went at all automatically makes you a GREAT mum in the eyes of the kids - and really, isn't their opinion the only one that counts?

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Brownie points galore ! They'll appreciate the magnitude of your effort when it's their turn to take their kids !
They obviously had a brilliant time and hopping about looking unsavoury in the petrol station was probably the best bit !
But I must know , as a wimp who goes green just thinking about fairground rides , if the Hex , even when still , is just as stomach-turning as the real thing ?

Fire Byrd said...

And to think you were only eight miles away from me with dry towels!

Exmoorjane said...

Sessha - but do you think they really appreciate you? I think they just think it's all part of the 'service'!! Ouch to Disney though...that sounds painful.

S&S - as above...I darn well hope he remembers! Hex is really weird - if you shut your eyes you are totally fine but if you open them, it's SERIOUSLY weird!
People swore blind that we went upside down (we didn't - my chins would have moved)

FB: Nooooooooooooo! Wails loudly. :)

elizabethm said...

You are such a good mother! I was so crap that, because I hated theme parks, I never ever took them, even when everyone else's parents were doing it and surely it was a form of child abuse to refuse.
But if I had I might have had to resort to the single flipflop. Brilliant.

Suzie Grogan said...

Oh I am so so sympathetic. I have never seen rain like that I was stuck in today. Paying over the odds for some shopping in Waitrose was a small price to pay for a cup of coffee and the chance to dry off a bit..

Frances said...

Jane, if James and his pal wanted to go to that place, you are quite a gem to have taken them. Cannot quite remember my mom ever saying yes to taking me and my little pals to such a place. Ah, but we are talking about a totally different age.

I do have to say that your writing has captured this day brilliantly. Fun for all, no matter what, and memories of the wet side will fade. The memories of the fun will linger.

Adrian's turn next time? xo

Erica said...

Too funny.

Can see you in my mind's eye now :)

Fennie said...

Because I hated theme parks the girls never got taken to one and they don't honestly seem the worst or it. They went occasionally on school trips and even went to Florida once. But there were no end of less frantic places to go - like Bristol zoo. Still everyone gets drenched once - its part of the up growing experience. And to a writer surely there's no such thing as a useless day out.

Humdrum Mum said...

Your post epitomises being British and being a mum! Fabulous! -HMx

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Alison Cross said...

*mwhahahahaha* you do make me laugh!

We've been really lucky in that both times we've gone to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, the weather has been utterly glorious.

I like the sound of Hex. Much better than the Irn Bru Revolution which actually DOES birl you through 360 degrees. I feared I might meet my breakfast again at high speed!

Nothing, but NOTHING is going to get me onto the Pepsi Max.

Totally agree about the prices for theme parks. It's ok if everyone is going on the rides all day, but for the jacket-holder person (or scardy-cat) it feels like a swizz, doesn't it?

Ali xxx

Crown Brewer Stu said...

I was there too with three teens and wife, we had a great time despite the weather. I might have joined ATJ at Thornbridge but I've been there loads anyway.

HER ON THE HILL said...

Ah yes, my neck of the woods, this. And you think you have shit weather in Exmoor??! It never ceases to rain round these parts. And be colder than the southwest, of course. And yet, I did manage Alton Towers not once but twice in glorious sunshine. This must be something of a record. Last time was Year 6 Leavers special day out in June - our five weeks of sunshine which constitutes the only summer weather the north west has enjoyed. I have a sparkly dangly thing which hangs bling-like from my puffer jacket zip boasting my bravery on Oblivion from the first time I went last October. I am most proud, even though I still can't keep my eyes open as I plunge into the abyss!

For gentler pleasures, Jane, why not drop round at mine for tea next time you are in the area...x