My No. 1 child did her SATs last week, including 2 level 6 maths papers. Fingers crossed for decent results in July!
As a treat for working so hard, I arranged for 2 of her mates to come with us to Blackpool for the day on Saturday and didn’t we pick a cracking weekend for it?
I knew it was going to be a corker when we passed the fire station on the way to catch the train and saw 2 young, attractive, fireman sunbathing topless on the wall.
If that wasn’t good luck enough, there was also a dwarf waiting to catch the same train as us.
Good omens indeed.
Then just to prove the rule of the power of three – at Hebden Bridge a dozen young fit, sporty men on a stag-do boarded our carriage.
I couldn’t have asked for a more well-behaved, profanity-free, intellectual bunch of young men to sit around us. (Although I’m not sure that the one sat next to me would have been discussing his recent groin injury quite so openly , had he known that only one of my MP3 earphones was working.)
The middle-aged Hen party that had got on, all pink and bunny-eared at Halifax; fuelled up on Lambrini; soon spied the opportunity to blow the dust off their nether regions and began the age-old mating ritual of laughing louder, cackling like witches and sending the bravest/most fertile/stupidest/drunkest/the one who drew the short (probably penis-shaped) straw, down the carriage to try and inveigle their way in with the stags.
The stags, being proud young men of clear intellect, good taste and being a good 25 years younger than the hens, remained polite yet uninterested. The hens, sensing defeat, stumbled off the train at Preston, feather boas and underarm swoops akimbo, to seek older/drunker/more desperate prey.
I had forewarned my young charges that there would be worse sights to see once we got to Blackers. I was not wrong (but more on THAT later).
The sun was blazing when we arrived. Within 2 minutes we had decided to play a game of High-5ing one another whenever we saw a freak, weirdo, casualty or general oddbod.
I won’t lie… I feared skin grafts to our palms may be required by the time we got home later that evening!
“Hello is that the lunatic asylum? I think some of your inmates have escaped.”
My favourite was probably ‘sunburnt, inappropriately dressed, heavily pregnant teenager’. Or possibly (and here’s 7 words that should never be heard in the same sentence) ‘overweight, wig wearing, bra-less, wet T-shirt Nanna’ on the log flume. That one drew a collective “WOAH!!!” from the queue as we waited our turn on the RugRats River Rapids ride. Syrups to the left, Lills south.
My eyes are still burning.
I have to give massive credit to all the girls for being a total delight all day. So polite & considerate. Taking turns to be the one who had to sit on their own on a ride if there wasn’t room altogether. Or being so kind to Thing2, who suffered silently all day with blistered feet, to the point that I ended up piggy-backing her for an hour because she was struggling to walk. Even I managed to not voice aloud the words, “Should have worn different shoes… like I suggested… but you didn’t listen to.” (I definitely said them in my head though.)
The day was everything I wanted it to be for them:- Fun, relaxing and a treat. They ate nothing of any nutritional value all day. Just because a Tango Ice Blast claims to be raspberry, does not, my friend, count as one of your 5 a day. The same applies to strawberry candy floss or the artificial lemon juice you had on your pancakes. I’m also pretty sure that anything this shade of blue is doing nothing for your vitamin intake.
I ended up being a glorified coat stand for most of the day, festooned with handbags and hoodies. Stood around like a tin of paint while they went on rides and pretended like they were out on their own for the day. That’s OK. The grin on my girl’s face when she came off the Big One was worth the cost of the whole thing.
(It was at this point that I wished I had never ever seen Final Destination 3.)
Of course they made it back down unscathed and lived to ride many more hair-raising rides, though not as many as we’d have liked. The day just ran away with us, as it is wont to do when you are having fun.
No. 1 child obviously gets her fearlessness from her dad. I didn’t go on a big wheel until I was 16 because I was too scared. No. 2 child (despite being the gobbiest of the pair) must take after her mum, as she wouldn’t go on nearly as much as the others. While they were riding the Avalanche, her and I were on the teacups.
(BTW. How big does my hooter look in this pic?!)
Soon it was time for the park to close. Though I think they were missing a trick shutting at 6pm on a glorious sunny Saturday when nobody was anywhere near ready to go home. Promises were made to revisit later in the year and off we went to catch the train home. Emergency sugar rations were purchased in the form of fresh donuts, followed by a pancake tea in lieu of anything remotely savoury because they couldn’t all decide what they wanted or settle on anything they all liked! I stuck with a cappuccino to fortify me for the inevitably testing train journey home, which lived up to every distasteful apprehensive expectation.
It was now almost 8pm and the casualties were out in full force down the North Pier end of town. The High 5s were coming hard and fast as the inebriated; the scantily attired; the costumed and the desperate, shambled like the walking dead from cheap bar to nastier bar to “seriously? we’re going in here for real???”
We eventually boarded our train home with the cast of ‘Shameless’, ‘Benefit Street’ and ‘Skint’, rejoicing in the fact that despite not having had time to visit ‘Ripleys Believe it or Not’ museum of oddities, we could simply sit back on the train and let the freaks and horrors come to us.
No. 2 child said; “But Mum there was a 2-headed cow in that museum I would have liked to have seen.” to which my response was; “Aw honey I’m pretty sure that there’s one on this train somewhere and she’s probably on her hen do.”
It stunk of faeces and sick and I came to understand why Bman calls the last train from Blackers on a weekend ‘The Vomit Comet’ and why no conductor in their right mind would consider venturing down the train to check tickets.
We’ve all been a drunken shambles in our time, let’s not try to deny it, but how people think they can actually negotiate public transport in such a state or carry on the way they do while children are on the train is just disgusting. I hasten to add that I’m not talking about young people here. These were people in their late 40s and beyond. The older they looked, the more badly behaved they seemed to become.
Educational times for my little troop. If that journey doesn’t put them off alcohol over-indulgence then I really don’t know what will!
Fortunately I don’t think they were too traumatised by it and it may yet serve as a lesson learned. All in all a fabulous day out and I’m so pleased they all enjoyed it and that it was a glorious sunny day to boot.