Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Center Parcs Sherwood Forest day 2

Activity: well it would have been junior fencing but on arrival informed that it's required to wear full-length trousers, presumably because a trouser leg will prevent the vicious-looking foam sword (£1 from Wilko) from severing one's leg below the knee. It being about 26 degrees none of the kids complied with the dress code and the session was duly abandoned. Health and Safety gawn mad, I tell ya.

First go in the water park sorry Subtropical Swimming Paradise. This was awesome the first time we visited this place four years ago, but the awe wears off by the 812th circuit of the rapids. Gerry however was experiencing most of it for the first time, having been too young to have fun the last time around. Such was his excitement that he completely disregarded everything I said to him, including "make sure you get out of the water by the steps at the right at the bottom of this slide", opting instead to swim under the dividing rope into the main stream of the only hazardous part of the park, where the rapids empty into a plunge pool designed to trap even the strongest swimmers in the reverse current. Fortunately a bloke already trapped in the pool fished him out, handing him to me with that disapproving look known to bad parents everywhere. There is a rule that when a dad looks after a child, nothing is more certain than that an accident will befall said child such as could never have been foreseen by the most risk-averse nervous wreck, and mocking the most intense, unblinking vigilance. Fortunately Gerry was completely oblivious, excitement overcoming self-preservation instinct.

Evening: holiday DVD. Seen it fifty times but we're on holiday... Raiders of the Lost Ark. Noticed bits for the first time! It's the film that gives and gives. Later, Emma and I enjoyed a protracted late night whispered row so that I could metabolise some vestigial work-stress and she could express her frustration at the impossibility of feeding one's soul when imprisoned in a plastic environment with three nerdy boys in tow (that's not including me BTW).

After two days, accidents: technically 1, arguments:1

Center Parcs Sherwood Forest day 1

Well it's not really "Sherwood Forest" is it? It's about as real a forest as the nearby Robin Hood festival (Edwinstowe, 4th-10th August) is a real historical commemoration. The trees are carefully planted so as to create the impression of being "in nature", by skilfully obscuring from view the fact that you're actually in the middle of a transit camp planned like a new town, population approx. 2,000 suckers, yours truly included.
Center Parcs (with curious post-modernity only ever in the plural) is of course a holiday park for middle class people who, like their Haven Holidays counterparts, want to cop out of planning or executing a holiday but don't want to get pissed in the sticky-carpeted amusement arcade whilst enduring karaoke or other evening 'entertainment'. By shrouding the place in trees they enable you to kid yourself that what you're doing is wholesome and educational, especially if you opt for one of the faux conservation tours; to be fair the apparent knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm of the 'nature rangers' or whatever they're called belie their tender lower-tier minimum wage years.
After 2 hours 45 minutes travelling, 1 hour sitting in our second home at Wetherby Services (all-day breakdiet) and 30 minutes driving around sundry Nottinghamshire A-roads wishing I'd selected the Google search "Center Parcs Sherwood Forest postcode" which is clearly there because many others have suffered the same fate, we arrived and I drove into the wrong check-in lane. It's a f***ing expensive place to come and I reserve the right to drive into the wrong check-in lane and not apologise. The woman didn't tell me off and just went to the other booth to get our key. Good start.
No water-sliding or rope-dangling today - it's arrival day and time to 'settle in'. There's plenty of time to go swimming, we're going to be here for a while. I hear such dadlike wisdom issuing from my mouth and wonder what has happened to me.
One day down - accidents:0 (getting lost in Nottinghamshire doesn't count as an accident, it's an inevitability), arguments:0.