Wednesday, 22 April 2009

A Grand Day Out

On Monday the boys had an Inset day and so had an extra day off school. The weather had been uncharacteristically good and so it seemed a pity to waste it hanging around at home doing nothing in particular. Polly and I decided on a grand day out. We piled the boys into the van and set off.

“Where are we going?” asked Sam.

“Somewhere where you have to behave very well, keep very quiet and you absolutely must not smile,” I told him.

“Not smile? Why not?”

“Because they don't like it.” Sam looked doubtful.

“Is it a museum?” chipped in Matty untangling himself from his ipod headphones.

“We're going to the Shed and Fence Panelling Museum,” explained Polly. “ But remember, you mustn't touch the exhibits, however tempting they are.” Matty and Sam exchanged glances.

“Why are we going there?” asked Matt not unreasonably.

“There's nothing like the smell of creosote,” I assured him. At this point we turned into a huge car park and started trawling the lanes for a parking space less than an hours trek from the entrance where a surprisingly large number of fence panel enthusiasts queued for admittance.

It took only a few more moments before the boys faces broke into excited grins. “Chessington World of Adventure!” shrieked Matty. “Can we go to Beano Land?”

I won't write a review of our day at the theme park, there are plenty out on the web if you want to know which rides are worth queuing for. Since I am unable to transfer from my wheelchair to the rides my enjoyment is vicarious. It is Polly who gets to accompany the boys on various thrilling experiences. This wasn't so bad when all they wanted to do was go on rides inspired by the Teletubbies or Postman Pat but nowadays Matty, in particular, wants to go on rides with names like Transylvania and Ramases Revenge. Polly, who gets travel sick on merry-go-rounds, spends a lot of time looking faintly green and in need of regular cups of tea. While she and Matthew hurtle round some flimsy looking scaffolding poles experiencing 4 g inverted turns at 60 miles per hour I get to take Sam to the petting zoo. We both look enviously at each other.

We did all get to enjoy the Sea Life Centre equally together. Oh, and a peculiar 3d haunted house type experience. I loved watching the boys enjoy themselves, dashing from queue to queue, and being remarkably agreeable with each others choice of ride or experience. I did find the uneven pathways and occasional steep hill exhausting and have to admit to being grateful for the odd chance to sit in the sun, reading my book, while my family were catapulted up, down and around.

Towards the end of of our day we found some rides the boys could both queue for and go on on by themselves while their mother and I enjoyed tea and coffee and tried to blot out the infuriatingly incessant jolly music that blasted from hidden speakers all around. Chessington is a fun place to visit but I would go demented if I was there too often. We both agreed that the next time we go to a place like this we will take a teenager with us to do the queuing and the scary rides with the boys. I doubt there will be a shortage of volunteers.

Eventually, as I carried an exhausted Samuel, cuddled up on my lap, out of the park and back to the van he asked sleepily when we were going to see the sheds and fence panels.