With the rain torentially beating down upon my bedroom window on this fine Summer’s Eve, I thought I would tell you about our family day out at Lightwater Valley Theme Park on Friday.
We don’t have many family days out due to the Other Half being terribly allergic to all things outside of Ackworth; I think it is called ‘Othertownsilitus’. He becomes hot, sweaty and jittery. His allergies worsen, bless him, when he is within 500 yards of my mum’s house – hmm weird that. It’s very strange, but it is a bonafide medical condition, or so he tells me. With this being the case, we don’t go out as a family much, but at least I am always reasurred that while the munchkins and I are out with our friends or family, he can be found laid out on the sofa watching a few rounds of UFC or a couple of episodes of Storage Wars . They ‘calm his jitters’, apparently.
We were headed towards the very north of North Yorkshire to a town called Ripon. Just as we were leaving the house, I heard the washing machine click to tell me that my load had finished. With the sun shining, it was a perfect day to hang the washing out, but the kids were in the car and it was packed up and ready to go. I didn’t dare rock the boat by insisting that I hang the washing out as I feared that I would be chasing the car all the way up the A1.
The car journey was rather serene; we played Radio Two’s Popmaster (when did I reach Radio 2 age?) listened to ‘Let it Go’ at least five times and in just over an hour, we arrived.
With everything but the kitchen sink piled onto the travel system, we entered the park gates. The first ride the girl ran towards was the chair swings. Screams filled the air as teenagers were whizzing around above us. I had visions of my three year old slipping out beneath the bars and I steered her away from the chairs to the much more child friendly carousel. The girl grabbed her own horse and climbed up and the Other Half claimed his own trusty steed to ride. From behind me, I heard the recognisable giddy screams and laughs from an approaching group of teenagers. Like us, they avoided the chair swings and headed for the carousel. The Other Half is also secondary school teacher and a Head of Year so his job often involves daily run ins with unruly teenagers. He, more than any teacher I have ever met, looks forward to his six weeks holiday so to have a group of very loud teens approaching him would be his idea of hell. The giddy kids had the pick of the ride, but they sat right next to my partner and his precious girl. Within a heartbeat, the girl had been scooped up from her horse and was now perched in front of her Dad on his. He is a little over protective of his princess. The young teens (who were in no way misbehaving) were just a tad over excited for the slow family orientated carousel and were randomly shouting the name ‘Archie’ over and over again. Either Archie was very far away or very deaf as the poor kid never made it to see his mates bouncing up and down on a load of horses with poles protruding from their bottoms. What was I doing during this ordeal? Watching, laughing and loving every second, obviously.Next up was the tractor ride around a miniature farm and it was the Ninja Flippin’ Dude’s first ever ride. He sat stony faced in the back of a tractor while the Other Half (being the ever professional educator) pointed out a sheep with a very unsightly bulge dangling between its legs, some “small horses” (so ponies then?) and a huge pig that “probably weighs as much as your mum”. Having received a thorough educational insight into all things farmy, we disembarked and headed for the next ride.
We eventually made it into some kind of Swashbuckling Land and saw some pirate ships. Like Goldilocks, we were faced with three choices; one was too big and went upside down, one was too small and filled with two year olds and one was just right. Or so we thought. The ‘midi’ rides were deemed suitable for five year olds, but always one to rebel against rules and order, the Other Half insisted on taking his three year old onto the middle sized pirate ship. Together they walked the plank onto the boat and sat right at the very back. I saw this as a perfect opportunity to start feeding the boy with some of my homemade Ella’s Kitchen pouch so I found a bench. Suddenly, I heard blood curdling screams coming from the pirate ship and I looked up. The girl was screaming to get off and was having to be held down by her Dad. The ride hadn’t even started yet, she was just freaking out at the bar coming down over her knees. Perhaps sitting at the back of the pirate ship was a bad idea, but hey, it wasn’t my problem for once. By this time, the boy was happily now chowing down on his home made Cow and Gate fruit pouch and every few seconds as the boat rose into the air once again, I could hear the terrified screams of my three year old.After a few minutes and looking a little sea sick and green, the girl climbed off the ship and wobbled over towards me.
“That made my tummy feel all funny,” she said. “What’s next?”
With that, she saw her Dad running off towards a rollercoaster and chased after him.
I eventually begged the girl to let me go on a ride with her. Reluctantly, she agreed and we were in the queue for a Ladybird Rollercoaster. The Other Half took the boy for a walk around the park to try and get him to sleep. Within seconds, he was back and the mission was aborted as he had been spotted by some students in his Year Group.
“Did you say hi?” I asked.
“No, they just nudged each other, looked at me and laughed.”
Bless him, I could see in his eyes that all he wanted was his sofa and a new episode of Deadliest Catch.
Despite being warned in the queue that the Ladybird ride would be too scary for my little lady, she rocked it and we headed for lunch.
After we had eaten, it was the water rapids. I ‘don’t do’ water rides and went to sit on the grass to watch. By this time, the blue sky had clouded over and there was a distinct chill in the air. Even though the push chair was packed with everything from cardigans, nappy bags, wipes and Sophie the Giraffe, there was no jacket, jumper or anything remotely water proof for the Other Half. He was the only person in the queue wearing just a T-Shirt and, once again, I couldn’t help but laugh to myself. As they boarded their raft, the boy woke and I saw the perfect opportunity to change his nappy on the grass in front of the ride. He flipped at least five times before I wrestled him into his nappy; I knew that I would be cursing myself later that evening when I would no doubt be pulling blades of grass out from between his bum cheeks.
After the nappy was finally placed, I was faced with another bum in my face.
“Look at my a*rse! It’s soaking.” the Other Half complained.
With that, we made our way to one of the final rides of the day. The Ferris wheel. It wasn’t a Ferris wheel that went round and round as such, it was more like a – and I quote – “a crap London Eye” in the fact that it moved really slowly and stopped at the very top in order for you to take in the breath taking views of plastic swans on a lake, the tops of trees and the old abandoned log flume. I insisted on taking a couple of family photos in case we never made it down alive due to the girl standing up and rocking the pod. Upon, pulling out his phone, the Other Half’s face lit up and for a moment his ‘Othertownsilitus’ vanished as he spoke the words:
‘I have 4G up here. I can check the cricket score.’
Ahh, family time; it’s so special.